Red-tail at Work

I’m not sure what to make of the collection of twigs amassed by the Cathedral Red-tailed hawks atop Saint Peter’s canopy.


I posed the question on Twitter, and love the response I received from Robert of Morningside Hawks: “If they were predictable, they wouldn’t be wild. And sometimes they do weird stuff because they know you’re watching.”

For now, at least, the hawks seem to be focused on refurbishing the old nest on Saint Andrew’s mossy shoulders.


When I arrived at the nest this morning, it appeared empty. But as I crossed Morningside Drive to enter the park, I looked back toward the Cathedral in time to see a hawk swooping in from the north to disappear from view behind the saint’s head.  Although I could no longer see the bird, I could see twigs moving as the hawk rearranged nesting materials.

Then the hawk hopped onto the old man’s head and looked out over the park and nearby streets.


What a view.


Somehow, the poor saint looked especially sorrowful this morning, and the hawk, well, hawkish.


After a few minutes, the big bird spread its wings and soared off to the southeast.

Explore posts in the same categories: Birds, Hawks, In the City, Morningside Park, NYC Parks, Seasons, Spring, Wildlife/Natural History, Winter

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5 Comments on “Red-tail at Work”

  1. Barbara Says:

    How lucky you are to see a hawk building it’s nest. They are magnificent birds. I love that this one is well settled into the cathedral. Great photos Melissa. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mr. Mantooth Says:

    I wonder what Robert means by they do weird stuff because they know you’re watching.

  3. I’ve noticed before that some raptors can be a little particular about the branches they use in their nests. I wonder if this is a staging area where they hold candidate sticks until they are ready to use them. Or maybe it is a trash heap where they discard twigs that didn’t pass muster!

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