Friday, March 14, 2008

Park Ave. Peregrines Are Back: 14-Mar-2008

Today I spent a half hour during lunch hour plus a little less than a hour after work watching raptors over Park Ave. from a convenient seat near 52nd St.

From 12:20p to 1:10p there were 4 raptor sightings. The 1st was a local Peregrine Falcon circling west of the Met Life Building. The 2nd was a high flying Peregrine heading due northwest but I wasn't sure if it was a migrant or a local. Shortly after this I viewed a vulture heading due north but didn't have a long enough look to confirm it as Turkey Vulture.

After this unexpected flurry of raptors I went to pick up lunch and on the way I spotted a low flying Peregrine Falcon over 48th St. and 2nd Ave. heading due west. Not bad for a half hour's effort!

In the evening, at 5:30p, I headed for the same spot on 52nd St. After a few minutes there was a fast flying Peregrine Falcon high up heading due north at 5:38p.

Then I saw what I had been hoping to see all year. The following activity took place between 5:45p & 6:20p.

First, a Peregrine was seen flying in from the west. It landed on the NW corner of the UBS Building at 299 Park Ave. It was joined seconds later by another falcon! The first to land was the first to leave heading W and landing on the western tower of 280 Park Ave.

This falcon, which turned out to be the male of the pair, was carrying prey back to 280 Park Ave. Minutes later the female flew at the perched male. The tiercel then flew towards the west eventually returning to the same rooftop.

The male was feeding on the prey all along with the female taking her turn for a brief period before she eventually left the food on the roof with the male. I didn't see the female after losing her just north of 280 Park Ave. as she was making lazy clock-wise circles on stiff wings.

After close to a half hour feeding on the roof the male Peregrine finally headed east for the near tower on the Waldorf-Astoria landing on its south face out of view.

Seeing the pair was a pleasant surprise. I've been looking for Peregrines in the area for many months. This is the 1st time seeing the pair together this year.

It would be interesting to find out whether this pair is using the Met Life Building's nest box or if they are establishing their own territory as I suspected last year.

If there are 2 pairs then these falcons may have been displaced from the General Motors Building when construction was going on around their nest site when the Apple Building was under construction.

Only coordinated efforts will determine whether there are 1 or 2 pairs of Peregrines in the neighborhood.

6 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Ben, keep up the great work. I'll keep looking as long as you keep blogging.

Donna

Jim said...

Looking forward to reading more of your observations Ben.

Yojimbot said...

will check this out more often when im up in midtown. i was down at 55 water today...no sign of peregrines, although no pigeons were up, so it could be that they are in the area. i'll keep looking.

Yojimbot said...

yes...4 eggs on the 55 water nest. falcon cam is back in action!

Adam said...

Dear Ben

I'm a South African enviro journalist/raptor researcher who would like to interview you re urban hawk watching in NYC - but I can't find an email address on this website.

Could you contact me on the email address that should come thru with this comment? If possible, don't post my email on yr blog as I have enough grief w spam as it is!

Regards

Adam Welz

Ben C. said...

yojimbot, thanks for the comments and for the update on the 55 Water St. falcons. I'll have to check out the webcam.

Adam, this must be one of the reasons I don't get much email from the site.

My email address has always been on the page. Check out the left sidebar under Email/Miscellaneous.

Your email address doesn't appear on the blog or in the email sent to my address when comments are posted.