Harlem Hawk Walk (with inevitable coyote update)

(New York City coyote and raccoon news (see earlier posts) has been developing with such rapidity that I have been delaying other stories, including the one below. But the news just keeps on coming: The coyote visited Chelsea at around 3:30 AM on March 3rd, prompting a call to 911 and a response by police. The animal narrowly eluded capture, and ran north along the West Side Highway where the last report placed it around 57th Street. Did it head east from the river to return to Central Park’s Hallett Nature Sanctuary at 59th Street? We don’t know. I hung out at Hallett yesterday evening, but saw no coyote.)

Harlem Hawk Walk

On February 14th, I headed north to join James, Harlem hawk watcher par excellence, for his annual Harlem Hawk Walk. We had many red-tailed hawk sightings in many different locations, watched a peregrine attack a red-tail, admired a lovely male Canvasback in the Hudson and saw turkey vultures gliding low near upper Broadway.

James and the youngest member of our group head towards the Hudson

Another member of the group, an experienced hawk watcher and photographer, has written a fine description of our day, complete with lovely hawk photos. Read it at Bloomingdale Village.

I’m sorry to report that I was one of the group who did not return to James’s roof at the end of the day, and so missed the Cooper’s Hawk circling overhead. On the other hand, I’m quite sure I saw two turkey vultures cruising Hamilton Heights.

To those of you reading this from outside Manhattan: hard as it may be to believe, turkey vultures are actually rare here in the city. In Texas, I saw them everywhere, although usually circling high above. But here it’s wonderfully strange to see a vulture over city streets.

James's ice floe- unlike mine - has EAGLES! Go see his photos.

Be sure to visit James at The Origin of Species and take a look at his photos of bald eagles fishing off ice floes in the Hudson River. He has hawk photos as well, and will eventually post wonderful pictures of our hawk walk.

Looking north over Hawk Island (aka Manhattan) from 123rd Street rooftop

Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, Birds, coyotes, February, In the City, March, Wildlife/Natural History

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8 Comments on “Harlem Hawk Walk (with inevitable coyote update)”

  1. […] last year’s Harlem Hawk Walk with James of The Origin of Species, I learned to pay attention to unusual bumps on water towers, […]

  2. pat hoey Says:

    Is (what seems to be) increased activity due to first signs of Spring? Is it possible that there are two coyotes zipping around Manhattan rather than one? Another question–why would a peregrine falcon (on the small side)
    attack a much larger hawk if no nests around yet?

    • Melissa Says:

      Great questions.
      1. Yes, nest building & mating activities were well underway at the time of the hawk walk.
      2. As of now, some red-tails are already brooding, according to observers.
      3. Yes, it is certainly possible that there are multiple coyotes. However, it is equally possible that the Central Park coyote made its way to Chelsea. Happy to report that, if it did indeed go out into the streets, it has returned safely to Hallett Sanctuary, where I spotted it two nights ago.
      4. My best guess is that the falcon didn’t want to share its hunting zone with the red-tail. It was buzzing it in the air, the way much smaller birds often harass raptors or crows. But maybe there’s a more specific reason. I’ll send an e-mail query to James. He knows these things.

  3. Mark Says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I’m subscribing to your blog by e-mail now and have just caught up with all your recent posts on raccoons, coyotes and hawks. Thanks for sharing these posts. Its fascinating to follow the story of the wildlife in NYC. I’m routing for the Central Park coyote all the way from England!

    Best wishes


  4. mthew Says:

    Turkey vultures are rare overhead in the city, but not so much as soon as you get out of it to upstate, NJ, or CT. We also have black vultures, but rather less frequently, although sightings are growing as they expand from the south.

    • Melissa Says:

      I don’t think I’ve seen black vultures. I’ll keep my eye out for them. I like turkey vultures, the way they circle, looking like from below like little hang-gliding men.

  5. Charlotte Says:

    Ice flows, turkey vultures, Hawk island — this describes a whole new NY.

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