Fledgling surprise - August 22nd, 2012

I came upon a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk in Washington Square Park minutes after arriving at the park. It was a delightful surprise because I didn't really have high hopes of seeing one of the resident Hawks, never mind a fledgling!

It was eating a pigeon on one of Rosie's favorite branches:

I can't say if this fledgling was one of Bobby and Rosie's kids or simply a fledgling who was passing through the park. The WSP fledglings' markings are so similar, it is very difficult for me to tell them apart (aside from a 'dimple' effect the feathers make on one of the fledgling's chests). 

If this fledgling was a WSP fledgling, then it has remarkable staying power in this territory.. and Bobby and Rosie are highly tolerant of its presence. The WSP babies fledged on May 28th. That was nearly three whole months ago. According to articles I've read from "experts" online, fledglings usually stay in their host parks/areas for 18-25 days before moving on. 

The WSP fledglings already proved that notion wrong and were definitively seen in the park and in nearby areas several more weeks after fledging. City Hawks are always 'breaking the rules'. I regard 'expert' statements as sound foundations although the city Hawk sitting directly in front of me may be doing something completely new and different. City Hawks are a different breed as it were and the majority of the science out there is based on observing country Hawks so I take the current science with a grain of salt and hope what I observe and share help broaden peoples' perspectives on these fascinating birds.

The light of the setting sun appeared through a break in the trees and building skyline:

The fledgling watched a squirrel for a little while:

But the squirrel was completely safe. The fledgling was full from its pigeon meal.

I turned to see a rare sight; mounted police a block away:

Sunlight spotlight:

So full:

I looked away from the fledgling for an instant. When I looked for it again, it was gone! I was so upset with myself for missing seeing it fly off; especially since I was waiting for that special moment for an hour and a half.

A kind man standing nearby saw me looking around for the fledgling and pointed it out to me. He had seen where it had flown. Thank you!

The fledgling had landed on a structure, a familiar perch, in the fenced-off area of the park. That section of the park is still undergoing renovation. 

The fence is now covered with a dark tarp to obscure the construction from view from the outside. It was impossible to photograph the Hawk except through a slit in the covering. 

By the the time I was able to take a snap, the fledgling was already well on its way to finding a new perch:

It landed on the lower roof of Judson Memorial Church:

The fledgling landed on NYU's Law Building:

I had to be somewhere at a specific time and was already almost late but was dying to see where the fledgling went next.

As soon as I saw the fledgling kick its leg out to stretch it and relax, I knew I had my chance to leave.