Fledgling Red-tailed Hawks in NYC (video)


Fox and dog: the iron animal gate at St John the Divine

Oh my readers, I have so much to tell you, so much to show you. All through the spring, Esau the dog and I have been walking, looking and listening. I’ll try to catch you up on some of the curious, intriguing, and amusing things we’ve seen. But where to begin? Let’s start with the hawks that nest on the back of the Cathedral of St John the Divine.

Here is a fledgling hawk on the move this morning.

A fledgling hawk on the move in NYC.

A fledgling hawk on the move in NYC.

But let’s back the story up a little. In April, three eyasses (baby hawks) hatched.

About two weeks ago, one youngster could be seen practicing its flapping skills on the fingers of good Saint Andrew.

Almost fledged.

Almost fledged.

A second fledgling had left the nest too soon, landing on a ledge far below the nest. There it stayed for a few days, not ready to fly, calling to its parents.

Calling for food and attention.

Calling for food and attention.

 It called and called in its high voice, but appeared active and healthy. It’s not unusual for baby birds to fall out of a nest before they can fly.  Most of the time, the parents will continue to feed and care for their young, as they did with this fellow. (Morningside Hawks has documented visits by the parents, including the delivery of a dead pigeon to the hungry baby.)  On the day of these photos, the hawk stayed for a while in one spot, on the ledge.


Nice pantaloons.

Then it started to move around. It studied the stained glass window.

Studying the art work


It climbed the walls.


It worked its way along the narrow window ledge to a difficult spot.

IMG_2205There it seemed to lose its footing, which led to some serious flapping.


And then, after returning to a better perch, more yelling.

IMG_2174And yet more yelling.


Here is a short video of the young hawk, listening to a siren from St Luke’s Hospital, looking around, preening, and calling.

More on the young hawks soon.

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

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13 Comments on “Fledgling Red-tailed Hawks in NYC (video)”

  1. […] Fledgling Red-tailed Hawks in NYC (video) […]

  2. theresagreen Says:

    Lovely birds and good to know they have successfully raised a family. I’m sure your youngster’s independent spirit will help him on his way to adulthood. Video worked OK when I tried it.

  3. Brian Says:

    We lost our resident red-tailed hawk in Madison Square Park (Flatiron District of NYC for those not from the area) at the beginning of 2013, allegedly to secondary rat poisoning, but there have JUST started to be sightings of a new red tailed hawk last week! I don’t know the age- can you tell from this photo? http://www.madparknews.com/news/new-hawk-spotted-in-madison-square-park/

    • Brian, I’m so sorry to be only now seeing and responding to your comment. And even sorrier to learn of the Madison Square hawk’s death. Secondary poisoning is a serious issue in our parks. I lived not too far from Madison Square Park back in the late 70s-80s. It was, of course, quite different from its current incarnation – and there were certainly no hawks about then. As for the hawk’s age, I’m no expert, but I do know that eye color changes from yellow in young hawks to dark brown. The hawk in the photo appears to have brown eyes, indicating it is an adult. However, photos can be tricky, depending on the light. I’m sure other hawk watchers can easily answer your question.

      And do let us know whether the new hawk has stayed around – I hope so!

  4. Barbara Says:

    Love the photos of the baby – great catches each one… and loved the video as well. Will be watching to learn more of what you’ve been doing this spring…

  5. Charlotte Says:

    The video was great! Three tasks of a baby hawk, all well delineated, as you said: listening, preening, and chirping. Loved it!

  6. Sorry about the video, all. It’s fixed now. At least, it appears to be fixed. Do let me know, if you can’t access it.

  7. Rose Says:

    And whoever said that cities don’t have wildlife!! This was amazing and magnificent! (I had no luck with the video either, but it’s more likely to be my lousy connection)
    Thank you so much for sharing this, it was wonderful.

  8. Mr. Mantooth Says:

    (but the video didn’t play when I tried it)

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