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Nesting Red-Tails in Nassau County

GSBAS member Steve D'Amato discovered some red-tailed hawks in Ellsworth W. Allen park in the Town of Oyster Bay.  On this page you'll find photos chronicling his observations, not only in the park, but in a Farmingdale parking lot as well.  We hope you enjoy the photos.

April 7, 2010

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These were taken on April 7, 2010.  I originally discovered the nest a week or so earlier but did not photograph it until April 7th.  I originally discovered the nesting red-tails when I heard the call of a Red-tailed Hawk right above my house, in which I was able to get out the front door, look up, and see an adult hawk flying over us and toward the southeast carrying a large branch in its talons.  So I ran down to the end of the road I live on, Tudor Road, which was about two houses in length, made a left on Garfield Road heading east to its end on Heisser Lane, about a single house property in width, and looked at where the red-tail was landing on a tall spotlight pole next to one of the ball fields at the Ellsworth W. Allen Memorial Town of Oyster Bay Park.  That is when I discovered there was almost a complete nest built in the grating platform between the two levels on this, what I keep calling (just for convenience) "double spotlights."

Now there was something that was a bit of an annoyance regarding these birds nesting here.  When I discovered that the nest had nestlings and would be somewhat stable, I thought that maybe it would be a great place for something like the GSBAS Tuesday group to come and see.  Now there are multiple signs around saying that the park is for Town of Oyster Bay residence only, so I thought if I was to contact the Town and ask for some kind of permission, perhaps they would send GSBAS a day permit so we could get a trip to come in.  The person I spoke with, without any discussion, immediately said NO!  I was very surprised.  This was for educational purposes for a not-for-profit organization, but that person immediately rejected it.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato

More photos from Ellsworth W. Allen Park

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This is an adult at another one of the "double-spotlight" lamp posts.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato

Parking Field of Target on Route 110

June 4, 2010

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This next group was one of the adult red-tails I discovered at the parking field of Target on Route 110 a good number of miles away from the nest.

As you will see, it was being harassed by a Northern Mockingbird. That is how I found the hawk, I saw this mockingbird bouncing up and down above this one lamp post, and when I was able to get a good look at it, I discovered there was a red-tail sitting on it.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato

Ellsworth W. Allen Park

June 7, 2010

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This was at the Ellsworth W. Allen Park. The adult red-tail was not near the nest but at the far end of the baseball field, where this mockingbird was harassing it.

I haven't yet described where this nest is within the park. As shown in the final picture in this group, it is in the "double spotlight" that is next to backstop near home plate on the first base side of one of the two baseball fields in the park.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato

More photos from Ellsworth W. Allen Park

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This is the red-tail coming in for a landing with the pigeon then the young responding to the adult having returned. It was here that you could see it was the remains of a pigeon that the red-tail was carrying. After this, the red-tail was mostly out of view in the nest, feeding the young. In the second image, the adult is barely visible on the left side through the spotlights.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato

Ellsworth W. Allen Park

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Below are some more photos from Ellsworth W. Allen Park.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato

Ellsworth W. Allen Park

June 28, 2010

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The 4 images below were taken the last time I photographed the hawks: June 28th. These are the surviving immature and adult birds. I first saw the immature bird on that fence near the backstop. Then it flew straight down to the ground and was picking up what must have been insects from the ground and puddle. It kept looking like it was grabbing things from the ground, but even with my spotting scope, I couldn't see anything. I then spotted the adult perched on one of the more distant spotlights.

Photos Courtesy of Steve D'Amato


UPDATE: July 2, 2010: Well, I just spoke with some of the grounds workers at the Ellsworth W. Allen Memorial Town of Oyster Bay Park to ask them if they found a dead or injured hawk on the grounds recently.  I was asking because I have only been seeing just a single young bird around being fed by an adult in the past few days, so I was wondering if the second young bird might have become injured or perished and the grounds workers collected it to either bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator or one of the town museums for skin collection.  The grounds workers directed me to the office.The answer I got was a bit upsetting. The office said the day after the heavy storm we had, which unfortunately I do not remember the date of (though it has to be after June 24th, which was when I last photographed both adults together - see attached photo), they found one of the adults dead on the park's grounds. Now it was about that time when I started only seeing one young bird as well, so I don't know if the second fledgling perished in that storm. All I can say with any certainty is that I am seeing at least one adult and one young.

UPDATE: July 17, 2010: I haven't seen the second adult now for over a week BUT I've seen the surviving immature bird in the park a number of times since July 2nd. In fact, I saw the immature bird both yesterday, Friday, July 16th, and today, Saturday, July 17th. In fact today, when I was walking past the park, I saw the hawk was perched on the fence next to one of the baseball fields. Now a jogger approached the bird, so it took off, and after a few wing beats over the field, all of a sudden, a Killdeer came up off the field and started chasing the hawk. That was a first for me.