Monday, January 19, 2009

On the hunt

I had a good idea that hawk viewing would be good, because I heard blue jay screams before I even set one foot in the park and sure enough, there in the tree watching potential prey was one of the immature west side hawks. I ran after that hawk from Tavern on the Green to 72th street, never saw it catch anything.

After three hours in the park I started back home. At about 71st street a little kid came over and asked, "Want to see a hawk? There's one over on that path on a low branch." (He figured correctly that I was a birder because of my big lens.) I knew that the chances were good that the hawk would move off before I got there and sure enough, that's what happened. But it's easy to track a hawk in flight and this one flew to the lamp post at 72nd street and the west drive. I'd never seen that before. From up there it could eyeball all sorts of potential food. Still nothing got caught, and I lost sight of the hawk. Time to head home again. As I got to the 69th street path I saw pigeons and sparrows on the ground eating bread crumbs. My brain thought- oh, oh, that's hawk target- and no sooner had my brain registered that then the hawk was back, zoomed down, caught nothing, chased the pigeons, veered down 68th street, back up Central Park West, under a canape, back into the park. The young hawks have to perfect their hunting skills. These days Central Park is the training field.

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