Female Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawk - December 11, 2011

On Sunday I walked to Tompkins Square Park in the hopes of seeing its resident red-tailed hawk Tommy before visiting the Washington Square Park red-tailed hawks. I did not see Tommy but I did see his assumed  mate. I'll refer to her as Evie Hawk from now on in honor of her being an East Village resident.

Tommy has been seen in Tompkins Square Park for at least a year and much has been covered about him on the blog EVGrieve. I've seen him and his mate a couple of times in TSP (and much of their soaring over the Lower East Side) but with all the goings on with the Washington Square Park hawks, I had focused more on covering WSP rather than on TSP. But I will start to cover the TSP hawks a bit more.. especially when spring begins. It will be exciting to see if Tommy and Evie begin to start their own brood early next year. I do not know if they've had a brood before or where they may have a nest or night-time roost but hope to make these discoveries over the next several months. 

I could easily see the Consolidated Edison tower (ConEd tower) while in Tompkins Square Park (pictured below). The ConEd tower is one of Bobby's and Violet's perches overlooking Union Square Park. What is fascinating is that the ConEd tower is so tall in relation to other buildings in the area, it's highly probable that Bobby could see any hawk flying over and entering Tompkins Square Park and its immediate area. That being said, it's not far-fetched to assume that Bobby and Tommy 'know' who each other are from a distance. I have never seen either hawk in each others' territory so perhaps they have an understanding of whose territory (park) is whose.

Several hawks have passed through Union Square Park to hunt and eat. I have witnessed Bobby, Violet, and Pip in USP on several occasions. Although several hawks have been seen in USP as well, I don't know if any hawks have claimed USP as their own. If one had, I wouldn't think Bobby would have such easy access to it all this time. Instead, he would have been met with strong territorial opposition from its resident hawk. I have never seen him get that kind of reception in USP. I haven't gone a-hawking in USP since the summer so it may be claimed by now. 

I write all this because I'd seen Bobby hunt in USP as regularly as he did in WSP so perhaps he has quasi-claimed USP as another of his hunting grounds. If this is the case and he does have this grand territory (two parks and the several city blocks in the surrounding area), it could well mean he is the most dominant male red-tailed hawk in Manhattan south of Central Park. If he is lucky, he could start a dynasty as strong and long-lasting as Pale Male's.

A bit of trivia: Central Park is 843 acres, Union Square Park is 3.6 acres, Washington Square Park is 9.75 acres, and Tompkins Square Park is 10.5 acres in size.

ConEd tower as seen from Tompkins Square Park:


Evie seen perched in the distance:




She lost her footing for some unknown reason for a few seconds before settling down again:








A local approached me and informed me that the hawk I was photographing must be the female since it is so much bigger than Tommy. I agreed. It was so nice to chat with the fellow hawk lover who obviously knew the hawks in this park so well!





It was obvious Evie wasn't going to go anywhere so I left her in order to visit Bobby and Violet in Washington Square Park (an eighteen minute walk further west).


My hawking friend returned to TSP around sunset and noted that Evie was still in the same tree. She eventually roused herself and flew to a leafier tree at the other end of the park (most likely to roost for the night in a more secluded spot).