Pip, Young Red-Tailed Hawk, Getting Ready to Leave the Nest above Washington Square!

by cathryn on June 21, 2011

It could be any day now. Pip, child of neighborhood hawks Violet and Bobby, has been doing flying motions, flapping his wings, and is almost ready to leave the nest (outside NYU President John Sexton’s office – again, what are the chances?). Young birds – from sparrows to pigeons – sometimes get down on the ground and out of the nest a wee bit early and then it’s always interesting, as a human who encounters them, figuring out how, when, and if, we intervene. (Probably a bit different with a hawk.)

Violet and Pip around June 5th

Pip Flapping His Wings, Sunday

Precious Pip, June 18th, 2011

New York Times City Room reports 6/19:

Sometime very soon — perhaps in a few days, maybe a week — Pip the red-tailed hawk will take a few more practice flapping hops, face the great wide world and, on untested wings, soar off the ledge where she has spent the first six weeks of life.

There is a good chance that she will never return.

Pip, as you may know, is the child reality-Web-TV star of City Room’s Hawk Cam, whose fast-forward metamorphosis from cottony puff pile to gawky adolescent outside a 12th-floor window at New York University has unfolded before a global audience. (Pip’s sex remains unknown, but by falconers’ convention, unsexed raptors are referred to as female).

He’s gotten so big! (I’ve always thought of Pip as a boy.) Tho’ the Times states: “Most fledglings starve to death during their first summer — Bobby and Pip’s mother, Violet, will leave dead rats in tree crotches for her for a few weeks, in part to keep her alive, and in part to keep her from boomeranging back to the nest. But by August or so, if Pip cannot find her own prey, she’s out of luck. Such are the ways of the wild.”

I think Pip will make it.

When Pip does fly, any day now, it’s going to be quite the occasion as he may land in a Washington Square Park tree. Look out, squirrels!

(I hadn’t written about Violet, Bobby and Pip since May 27th. So much else going on, with the Eastern side of the Park at last opening and all!)

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Photos #1 & 3: Bruce D. Yolton, Urban Hawks Blog

Photo #2: Heather Alonzo/Roger_Paw blog

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

nygrump June 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Fear not, Mayor Bloomberg is going to have these birds gassed or beheaded (the human solution) to prevent any possible harm to our airplanes. SAFETY FIRST!!!!!

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drewo July 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Hello

I found your WSP blog on the internets. As a long-time visitor to the park, I am concerned the squirrel population will be annihilated by the hawks that now reside around the park. Much attention has been paid by the media (particularly the NY Times) to the nesting hawks – I guess the fate of the squirrels does not require as much attention.

I was in the park on Wednesday (7/6) and found a hawk perched directly atop a squirrel house – with one terrorized squirrel crouching inside the house. The hawk was just waiting for it’s food. No hunting required – easy pickings in a squirrel house.

I took pictures and posted this note to the latest NY Times City Room article about the NYU hawks:

I may have partially answered my own question (#6 above). I entered WSP again today shortly after 2pm and immediately came upon one of the hawks, just west of the arch. The hawk was sitting directly on top of one of the squirrel houses. Just inside the squirrel house was one terrified occupant. The hawk sat there for quite some time, at least 20 minutes, before finally flying off.

It seems like the squirrels are easy pickings for the hawks. Perhaps the Parks Department might consider a modification of the squirrel houses (to make the tops less like attractive as a perch) and/or a relocation of some of the houses.

The hawks are a sight to behold – but it would be a shame to lose the playful squirrels that have been a fixture of the park for, well, ever.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/hawk-cam-bobby-returns-briefly/?scp=2&sq=hawk&st=cse

Reply

cathryn July 12, 2011 at 6:35 pm

nygrump, some of us have wondered about that! tho’ partly in jest.

Drewo, I addressed your concerns and idea in today’s post here:
http://washingtonsquareparkblog.com/2011/07/12/a-readers-query-with-3-hawks-in-the-hood-can-we-give-the-washington-square-park-squirrels-a-helping-hand/

Thanks for writing!

best,
Cathryn
WSP Blog

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