Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3rd Hawk Action!!!!

Carditoo (Carolyn Sutton) was out on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway early this morning (Friday), and sends us this exciting account of all the hawk activity she witnessed. Clearly, our hawk family continues to do well.

"I arrived on the Parkway earlier than usual – 5:10 AM – because I wanted to determine when our hawks actually start their daily routine. On previous visits, generally starting somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00 AM, at least one or two of the hawks were already perched on their favorite roof/monument tops. Today, in just the faintest of dawning light, not a single hawk was in sight.

I sat listening for the telltale signs, either an escalation of the twittering and squawking of smaller birds, or our hawk family calling to one another as they approach. Nothing alerted me as eyass #1 flew from the trees right above me to the roof of the Franklin Institute (5:30 AM). I really believe that this was Portico, because shortly after he left for a hunting trip to the southwest, two more eyasses flew through the trees from further up the Parkway, this time calling back and forth (5:45 AM). Watching them both on the Free Library roof, they seemed to be the same size (hence my assumption that the first hawk I saw was our male eyass). They left the Library quickly, headed north up 20th Street, and all was quiet again.

I decided to explore the meadow-like construction site behind the Parkway trees; for some time now I’ve thought that perhaps the hawks hunt there. At last my hunch paid off.

One eyass flew above me from the Library roof to the Parkway trees while another jumped down from a nearby tree disappearing from view in the long grasses below. I don’t know if s/he caught anything, but s/he stayed hidden in the grass for quite some time before popping up and perching on some vinyl construction webbing along the edge of the meadow.

I was already excited when a sib arrived and they flew, one to each end of the meadow, to perch in the lowest branches of the trees. They then spent the next 15 minutes flying low over the “meadow” – back and forth – changing ends five or six times. No catches, but serious surveillance going on.

At 6:15 AM, two more hawks arrived noisily. One must have had food, because the two eyasses I had been watching exploded out of the trees. I watched breathlessly, wishing Della and Kay were with me, as three hawks trailed the fourth, eventually landing high up in the trees west of 21st Street. I sure could have used three sets of eyes and ears to follow all the action. Finally, I got a great look at a parent’s red tail as the sun was rising higher behind me.

As quiet reigned once more, I decided to call it a day and returned to my truck. Voila! The parent, red tail impossible to miss, flew out of the trees, soaring high into the air and off to the northeast above the Library (6:30 AM).

What the heck, I figured, one last drive around the area couldn’t hurt. I circled via 22nd Street back to 21st Street, headed toward the Franklin Institute and caught sight of an eyass just as I approached our familiar parking lot on Winter Street. Two more followed and all settled onto the roof of 2100 Parkway, two on the antenna, one on a ledge. That’s where I left them at 7:00 AM. What a morning! Can’t wait ‘til tomorrow!


  1. gee Della, how do you manage to get up so early to watch our hawks in action? I'm really impressed- sounds like great fun, but a bit early for me- only time I've been down there that early was for the Race for the Cure each Mothers' Day. Sure do appreciate your blogs though- great to know they are doing so well. Wish Kay were with you taking her wonderful pictures!. Happy 4th of July.

  2. sorry- just realized it's Carolyn that's watching and Della that's posting- well you are all terrific- thanks for the wonderful updates.

  3. Glad you're enjoying Carolyn's early morning obervations.