How To Build an Urban Hawk Nest

As I walked on Morningside Avenue this morning, a red-tailed hawk swooped in and landed high on the back of the Cathedral of St John the Divine. (Its tail is toward the viewer.)

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I missed the moments before it landed, but saw that it was carrying something. It appeared to wrestle with its prey, as if attempting to subdue it.

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Oh, I see. Its ‘prey’ was a piece of a cardboard box or, perhaps, a paper bag. Nesting material.

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Soon the bird flew off, clutching the prize in its beak rather than its talons. (Look at those outstretched legs and talons, and that red tail.)

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It landed on its nearby nest, spent a little time tucking the cardboard into place, and then flew off, heading in a northwesterly direction.

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From deep inside the nest, unseen from my vantage point far below, a second hawk, probably the female, known as Isolde, now adjusted the cardboard which is easily visible to the left of Saint Andrew’s head.

(Note also the long strands of some kind of string hanging off the right side of the nest. This is new in the past few days, and it worries me, since birds can easily become entangled in string, and suffer injury.)

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The cardboard was pulled deeper into the interior until it could no longer be seen.

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And all was quiet on the broad shoulders of good Saint Andrew.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2013, Birds, In the City, Seasons, Spring, Wildlife/Natural History

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7 Comments on “How To Build an Urban Hawk Nest”


  1. […] How To Build an Urban Hawk Nest (outwalkingthedog.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Charlotte Says:

    Love this, esp the outstretched talons, the red tail, whoa, great shot!

  3. Andrew Cooper Says:

    St. Andrew’s broad shoulders: I feel a part of this. A

  4. p hoey Says:

    Lovely sequence! They do keep busy…


    • They are busy. Although the poor females now spend much of all day every day just sitting on the eggs. The male will spell her, so she can get out and stretch her wings, maybe do a little hunting. But mostly she just sits. Her mate brings her food (when he’s not bringing her cardboard for her decorating activities).


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