Thanks to having a vacation day today, I was incredibly lucky to be able to spend four hours with one of the Washington Square Park fledglings. I say it was lucky because sightings of them have been fewer and far between and I was starting to believe they might have left the area already.
Seeing one of the fledglings yesterday after nine days of no other sighting changed all that.
I followed my feet and found one of the babies high in a tree at the western side of the park:
It would shut one of its eyes from time to time which was a cause of concern for me and a friend who was Hawking with me.
Some tell-tale signs of a Red-tailed Hawk who is sick (either from ingesting poisoned rats or other illnesses) is shut eyes and lethargy.
The fledgling stayed in the same tree and only moved from branch to branch a few times in three hours. During some movements, the fledgling lost some balance briefly. It did preen and seem lively at times so it didn't seem too sick or acting too much differently than usual.
As a precaution, my friend and I contacted people who could come to the park and help the Hawk if its condition worsened. My contact person was Bobby Horvath from WINORR. We gave these friends the heads-up that the fledgling may be ill but that we would keep watching it and checking on its condition during our stay.
Eye looking relatively normal:
Stretching a blood-stained foot (blood from prey presumably):
Moving from branch to branch:
Losing its balance when retracting its foot:
The Hawk roused itself again and flew a good distance to another cluster of trees, flying strong and with clear eyes:
The fledgling flew out of the park and out of sight. After a long while of searching I saw it again as it descended to the trees:
It relaxed and preened:
The fledgling flew out of sight again.
By this time I was pretty hungry and tired due to being in the steamy weather for so long so I left the park and went home.