Pale Male Irregulars Blog reports that two Washington Square Park hawks – who I’ve never seen – are attempting to build a new nest in the neighborhood. Last year two hawks, perhaps the same ones, attempted to do the same but were not successful. Apparently, it is difficult for hawks’ nests to survive on most city building ledges. Blogger Donegal Browne contacted photographer and hawkwatcher Francois Portmann (who took the photo above) to check out this potential nest location on a building surrounding the park.
Portmann reported back:
If this pair tries nesting there, my bet is: the nest may get blown off in high winds. These window sills have no anchor options. It’s the same kind of set up as last year on One 5th ave! Time for the Blakeman “Nest Nooks”!!
The Blakeman “Nest Nooks” for people, like me, who were not previously aware of their existence, were designed by John Blakeman to assist the birds in keeping their nests secure by providing a structure which could be attached to a tree or building from which they could work off of. There was a Red-tail pair in the neighborhood last year (at One Fifth Avenue) whose nest “disintegrated” because of the challenges of maintaining the nest on buildings.
Browne further writes of some of the troubles with urban nests. For some fledglings [young birds] who left the nest early, “they were not flighted enough to gain elevation for flight once grounded, were found standing on the sidewalk” or if they did not have adequate space for “pre-flight exercises,” they would be found injured upon hitting the ground or sidewalk.
Well, that’s not good! While people love to watch the hawks, is this a sign that this may not be the best environment for them? Urban environments are home to mostly pigeons and other birds, and, in some of the parks and city neighborhoods, squirrels.
The blog then suggests that a structure be placed on a tree within Washington Square Park to help the hawks build their nest. This, I have to say, is a really bad idea. The park’s resident squirrels and pigeons would have way too hard a time surviving that.
While I want the hawks to survive, they can keep a little distance.
This brings up other questions: Should the hawks be encouraged to live in a highly populated city where, whatever issues there are with their existence here, it’s hard for them to survive? Should they be encouraged to live near a 10 acre park (Washington Square) vs. an 843 acre park?
Previous WSP Blog post with picture of hawk-meeting-squirrel (alive) on a tree at Washington Square.