Monday, August 3, 2009

The Franklin Hawks are on the move

Apologies for the lack of blog entries this week. I got myself a bit backed up with summer activities, but the production line is rolling again!!

The Franklin Hawks are extending their territory up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art which is renowned for its steps up which Rocky ran in the movie of the same name.

More importantly for the hawks, the Art Museum and its surroundings provide an almost perfect habitat for perching and hunting as it is set up high above the city, and on its river side has well spaced trees, bushes and open grassy areas.
The buildings below the Museum are the Philadelphia Waterworks which have been converted to a restaurant.

Over the past ten days, we have observed all three eyasses and at least one haggard perching, flying and hunting all around this area. On the topmost parts of the Museum roof are several large gargoyle-like metal carvings, and the hawks love to perch up there.

This has to provide them with THE BEST possible view out over the city! It can be quite hard to spot them up there amongst the ornate decorations along the roof line.

Down behind the Museum is a row of trees overlooking a grassy area. We have a grandstand view of the action from the parking area at the back of the Museum and frequently find ourselves at eye level with the hawks flying by -- quite an extraordinary experience.

The hawks perch in the trees that are also at eye level. In the picture below, can you spot the haggard through the gap in the bushes? We're pretty certain this was the formel (Mom).

Watching the eyasses polish their hunting skills has provided some memorable moments. This eyass flew in and perched right opposite me.

I noticed a groundhog whiffling along in the grass below. The eyass appeared to be calculating whether it was catchable.

The groundhog was absolutely unconcerned about the possibility of being breakfast, and seemed to know that its size kept it safe.

Suddenly, a second eyass landed on a rock only a few feet away from the groundhog. This was getting a bit intense!

Now that the groundhog realized he was being double-teamed, he looked a little more concerned about his situation, and warily watched the eyass as he continued to eat grass.

This ended in a stalemate with the eyasses ignoring the groundhog, and eventually flying away to new perches.

Right next to this grassy area is Spring Garden Street, and the wall that edges the road is another favorite perching spot.

The lamp poles that line this street are also popular hawk hang-outs.

It is a worry to see our hawks so close to busy traffic, but they have safely made it to August, and each day they are becoming more self-sufficient and savvy about their environment. It's good to see them expanding their world.


  1. Great report Della. Thanks for taking the time to put all of this information togather in such an interesting way. cardi

  2. I've been here since the beginning and I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading about their progress..and the photos are just breath taking...thank you so much to all of you who keep watch over "our babies".

  3. Hi Della, Well, you've done it again! I've been waiting patiently for your latest post, as well as Kay's new pictures (so glad she's back!) Just in case you think no one is watching and we've given up on our hawkadees, I want to let you know I am still here as I am sure many others are- we just aren't into Facebook and Twittering, etc.

    Love your exciting posts and pictures. I'll meet you some day if I ever get my butt out of bed early enough!.

    Thanks again to you and Cardi and Kay.


  4. There's another hawk family in the Park too. I've spotted at least two juveniles and a parent - from a nest on MLK Drive so I dont think it is the same group. Has anyone else seen them?