Pale Male's recovered fledglings released in Central Park - October 13th, 2012

My morning started in Washington Square Park where I and a couple of other Hawk-watchers searched all over for Bobby and/or Rosie Hawk. The Hawk-watcher who arrived before the rest of us saw one of the Hawks getting chased by a Peregrine Falcon from north to far southwest of the park. But that was the only sighting for an hour and a half. 

But I did see this snacking little cutie:

We then traveled to Central Park to watch as Pale Male's fledglings who had fallen ill due to eating poisoned rats this summer were returned to the 'wild' after a long convalescence. They had been cared for by WINORR (Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation) and today was the big day to return them home.

There was time to spend enjoying the park before Bobby and Cathy Horvath from WINORR arrived with one of the Urban Park Rangers for the bird release so I took in some of the sights.

Pale Male was on one of his favorite perches along 5th Avenue:

He was soon aloft, a twig either carried or stuck to his feathers:

He disappeared near the Turtle Pond

The Horvaths and Urban Park Ranger Rob Mastrianni arrived to release the fledglings.

Cathy and Bobby Horvath:

Bobby first took the male fledgling out of his carrier:

He handed him over to Ranger Rob:

The fledgling's left talons were painted with nail polish so that anyone who tracked the birds in the near future would be able to tell him apart from his sister.

His sister's right-hand talons were painted since, as Bobby Horvath said, "Girls are always right".

It was time to release the fledglings! Rob was given the female to release since he had personally rescued her from the park when she had fallen ill.

Her flight, although a little shaky since she hadn't had much flying time recently, went off without a hitch:

She landed safely in a nearby tree:

Her brother's turn was next:

He landed in a tree next to his sister's but a little lower:


She was set upon by dive-bombing Blue Jays almost immediately after landing in her tree. 

It made her cry:

The male:

Both fledglings took their time gaining their bearings and taking in the new environment.

The Blue Jays remained aggressive for a few more minutes:

The female found a new branch to perch on:

The male eventually did the same:

He explored much more than she:


Pale Male flew straight to their tree. He circled their tree several times. It was obvious that he saw them and was tolerating their presence:

He looked down at them:

The female looked right up at him:

He soared away after a few minutes:

The fledglings relaxed more and preened:

I noticed the male stir and start to fly:

He flew across a park road and landed in a tree (still in sight of his sibling):

He went from branch to branch:

Since all the other Hawk-watchers rushed to follow him and left the female in her tree, I returned to her so I could keep tabs on her whereabouts. She was pretty relaxed and hadn't left her tree and disappeared thank goodness:

The male had flown from his new tree to others before winding up in a tree to roost. It turns out he went to a tree he had roosted in before he became ill so it's pretty clear he knows exactly where he is.

Some of the other Hawk-watchers returned to me and the female:

Moving into a good stretch:

The sun set.

She eventually moved about to a more secluded branch in her tree to roost for the evening: