New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, June 13, 2011

Close Encounter of the New York Kind

New Yorkers take things seriously. The populace is large enough to support subcultures of every interest imaginable. Interests become obsessions. What better obsession than the things we have so little of - wildlife. Wildlife in a city like New York is limited and dominated by pigeons, rats, mice, squirrels and common birds. So when real wildlife of a different kind appears, it's BIG news.

Perhaps one of the biggest wildlife stories in recent years was the nesting of red tail hawks at 927 Fifth Avenue. The first to make home there was Pale Male in 1991. The nearby boat pond in Central Park was an ideal viewing spot and became a birder's paradise. See my story here. The lineage continues to this day. The interest has spawned international press coverage, films, websites. To this day, 10 years later, birders are still found regularly on location with the requisite telescopes.

On February 7, 2007, I photographed a red-tailed hawk feeding on the remnants of a pigeon on my air conditioner overlooking Washington Square Park. At this rare opportune moment, I was able to capture a photo through my window from only inches away. The photo received tremendous traffic as would be expected. See the photo and story Hawk Fest here.

Since that time a number of red-tailed hawks have been sighted around the park. The coup de grâce, however, was the recent nesting of a hawk on the windowsill of the Bobst Library building. The window chosen was none other than that of the president of New York University himself, John Sexton. Many speculate the roost was chosen for the same reason it is the location of the president's office - the 12th floor perch affords sweeping views of the entire park, perfect for a bird of prey.

The real story here however, is the nesting and mating of Violet and Bobby (violet is the official NYU color and Bobby after the Bobst library) and the birth of offspring. Yesterday, during a Be Fit NYC event, the parks department had set up a telescope for viewing of the hawks. I was able to capture a photo with a camera up against the scope.

The New York Times set up a webcam to keep an eye on the family. The cam provides a live stream, free and 24/7. Check it out here for a Close Encounter of the New York Kind :)

Related Posts: That Should Cover It, Peregrine Falcons, Light on Bobst


chris young said...

Marvelous too read and see this beautiful bird in a city area.In the U.K. there are many instances of established wild life adapting to town/city life. Kestrals, Ravens, Carrion crows,Magpies, various owls etc. Strange to add there is a decline in normal town birds. Chris Young

Barcelona m'enamora said...

In barcelona two years ago we had a family of wild boars! :)

Brian Dubé said...

Chris - I was taken to see an owl once by a birder in Central Park. I had no idea they existed there.

Barcelona m'enamora - That's insane.

PPusa said...

Thanks for the links to the web cam and to your terrific photo of the hawk a few years ago!

In Helsinki we are following how our two (was three) eagle owl chicks are doing. Their parents couldn't have chosen a more central location for the nest.

time traveler said...

Love the photo of the hawk right out your window..Although they are a relatively common sight in my neck of the woods, I never had the chance to see one that close up..Elegant-majestic creature bringing a taste of the wild to city dwellers (who seem to enjoy the flavor)..Another nice post..

Marti said...

Pip! She's getting so big. (I watch the webcam nigh on daily as well.) It's awesome to see her from this angle. Thanks!

Lily Hydrangea said...

Such a great story.
& I love your capture of the hawk outside your window - how exciting and wonderful at the same time.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

We have falcons nesting in the Financial District of SF and on the Oakland-SF Bay bridge. Same level of interest and excitement as in NYC. Shows you how much we hunger for a connection to the natural world.

fz6sirius said...

On April we have been in NYC, and one day, after a lot of walking we rest a few minuts on Washintong Square. When I was seeing the triumphal arc I could see one hawk in the sky, in this moment I can't be sure that I saw it, bu now I can belive.