Washington Square Park fledglings cavorting together around the park - July 12th, 2014

The Washington Square Park fledglings found their way back to the park and neighboring blocks after having spent the last week on buildings north and east of the park.

A fellow Hawk-watcher found one of the fledglings perching around the buildings lining the eastern side of the park. It then went into the southeast cluster of park trees.

I arrived in the park half an hour later and got to see some great action over the next 3 ½ hours.

The fledgling gave us the slip northeast of the park. We searched for it but had no luck so I went to the park square to see if I could find the other Hawks around.

I spotted a fledgling atop NYU's Catholic Center (a building along the southern border of the park):

It dropped down and out of sight. It might have been the other fledgling even though at the time we had only seen one at a time and didn't know if both fledglings were in the area.

A Great Cormorant flew overhead:

I later spotted one of the juveniles chasing pigeons outside the Catholic Center building and neighboring Judson Memorial Church. 

Little Hawk in the distance among the scaffolding:

All of a sudden the other fledgling swooped past the perched one in a playful flyby:

I was pretty excited to see that they were both there and having fun.

Back on the Catholic Center building:

He landed on the Judson Memorial Church tower:

The fledgling circled around and then flew into the church tower:

The only way I could definitively tell the two juveniles apart was to remember that one of them had a feather gap in the middle of his right wing and a feather extending lower than the others in the middle of his left wing (whereas the other had a full and even set of feathers). 

I'll refer to the gap-winged one as "Gappy" in today's post whenever I can tell the two birds apart. It was the gapped one that I had seen first (and who was circling above the park trees in an earlier photo above).

He flew across the street to NYU's Kimmel Center:

His sibling made his way to the church cross:

He flew behind Gappy's building and out of sight.


He made his way to the back of Kimmel and looked over West 3rd Street (which is a block south of the park):

He then descended to the NYU housing complex's courtyard trees:

That apartment complex is called Washington Square Village (WSV). My friend and I ventured over there to see if we could find him hunting the pigeons that live there. We've seen Bobby and Rosie perched atop the WSV buildings watching those pigeons many times in the past.

I spotted "Gappy" just as he was leaving:

He returned to Kimmel:

My friend then saw one of the adult Red-tails on the smaller of the Judson Church crosses:

It was hard to tell but it looked like Rosie:

"Gappy" flew to the church tower roof and had a bit of a hard time getting traction on the sloped tiles:

His perch at the base of the cross reminded me of when Pip sat in the same spot (almost exactly three years to the day).

His sibling in the meantime was preening atop Kimmel:

He joined "Gappy" after several minutes:

He then flew south, in the direction of 3rd Street. Gappy followed him after a few minutes.

My friend found them both sitting on an apartment terrace railing (the back of Kimmel on the right):

My friend thought they spotted one of the adult Hawks and pointed to a big bird circling overheard. I was surprised to see that in fact it was an Osprey! It circled above at one point before tucking into a dive and heading southwest of our birds:

Ospreys eat fish 99% of the time so I wasn't too worried for the fledglings. It had been a couple of years since I last saw an Osprey around the park.

One of the fledglings eventually jumped off the railing and to the WSV courtyard. Another Hawk-watcher caught up with us to enjoy the Hawkery.

I sorted out later that it was "Gappy" who remained on the railing. Having a stretch:

I wanted to be there to observe the fledgling hunting if I could so I walked to the courtyard.

A noisy, angry Robin calling out and hopping around a particular branch helped me pinpoint his location.

My friends and I had the pleasure of watching the bird in the rather secluded and very quiet and peaceful courtyard for half an hour.

He spotted prey and dove right into heavy brush to get it:

He caught a small rodent next to a pathway:

Scrunched down to spring to the curb:

I was keeping my distance and standing stock-still in order to not to disturb him.

He took the rodent out of the courtyard after a minute.

We looked for him in some trees but a friend discovered that he was on one of the low buildings surrounding the courtyard instead:

The hunting in the courtyard made me wonder if Bobby taught the kids how to hunt for prey in this new and quiet, private area rather than in WSP now that the fenced-off "hunting grounds" is now open to the public. This is only speculation of course!

The fledgling made his way to a tree then went back to the courtyard.

It was good timing for us to go our separate ways for the day. I made a brief pass through the courtyard on my way out to see if I could spot it again and got to see it briefly as it circled above the courtyard's western border.

From what I understand, WSV uses rodenticide in their courtyard bait traps so I will look into that and see if they could switch out the poison with something less harmful to the Hawks.