Violet and Bobby - December 23, 2011

Violet was the prominent red-tailed hawk in Washington Square Park today. She flew from tree to tree and tried to hunt (unsuccessfully) in low brush from time to time. Bobby arrived at the park about an hour before roosting. He did not hunt or eat food. They both eventually went to bed in their regular evening roost. 

Because the hawks are most active and visible in the couple of hours before roosting time, I made sure to be at the park by at least 2:00PM. I saw Violet perched and in hunting mode immediately as I approached the park:


After perching from tree to tree, she flew around the park arch and to one of her favorite building terraces:

Nervous pigeons atop the arch for safety in numbers and to look out for a diving hawk:

Violet about to land on her terrace perch:

Curiously, she jumped down to the floor and stayed out of sight for a few minutes. Perhaps she or Bobby are storing food there? I couldn't see if she was eating on the floor. She was too low to see from my vantage point. I hope if there is a stash of mice that the apartment owners won't get wise to it any time soon.

Violet back on the railing:

Back to the trees:

A couple of crows rushed to her tree cawing away and flying around her, trying to disturb her and force her away. 

She raised a wing in defense when the more aggressive crow flew near her and perched above her. I guess she liked that balanced position because she didn't put her wing back down for a couple of minutes:

The crows' tactic didn't work so they left.

If they had waited long enough, they would have seen her leave on her own:

Violet flew to another area of the park. I saw Bobby fly over some buildings overlooking the park and land on one of them. He settled in to relax for at least half an hour.

Bobby then flew directly to a building top overlooking the night roost.

He flew across the street and onto an air conditioner:

Violet obviously saw him because she flew to an air conditioner a couple of floors below his. 


Pigeon spikes are good for deterring hawks as well. Bobby was navigating around them:

He then flew to one of their favorite park trees nearby. Violet flew to the same tree shortly after, crying out to him. Perhaps she was begging for food. I hadn't heard her crying that hard and long before so she must have been particularly hungry. Bobby didn't have any food though from what I could tell. 




Violet in flight again, her dead leg dangling:

She landed on an air conditioner of a different building facing Bobby and the park:

She flew toward Bobby again:

Violet rammed her body against Bobby's for a split second. I've seen her do this a couple of times before but when Bobby had food to pass to her. This time, she gained nothing from the crash. Please forgive the poor lighting and photo quality of the next two pictures:

The hawks went their separate ways for a couple of minutes:

Violet further in the park:

Bobby flew to the roost:

Violet soon joined him there:

Violet with her back to us:

Violet made her way to Bobby's perch. 

When I left them, they were both sitting side by side and looked like one unit. I was not able  to photograph that moment but I will treasure it in my mind and I hope you can envision it.