Sunday, September 20, 2009

As The Nest Turns.......

The last ten days or so have yielded increasingly fewer hawk sightings, and no sign of the eyasses. Carolyn has done her best to stay upbeat with her reports, but when she had not seen a single hawk in three days, I was starting to resign myself to the reality that The Summer of The Red-Tail Hawks was just about over.

So it was a glorious surprise to read the following post on the Franklin Hawkaholic's Facebook page from Gene Mancini of the Franklin Institute who, from the beginning of the nest building, had advocated for the hawks by creating the wooden structure to hold their nest secure, facilitating the UStream camera feed, and securing Rick Schubert's support from the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehabilitation Center once the eyasses were close to their first flights in late May.

From Gene Mancini on September 16:
"Carolyn, I believe you have not seen Mom and Dad because they are back at the Institute. I have reports from the executive staff that they have been actively rebuilding the nest for the past four days. When I went out to take a look around 11:00 AM, one of the haggards was perched on the NE corner of our building looking towards the soon to be closed Free Library..."
[The Library crisis was averted by a whisker last Thursday when state funding to keep Philadelphia's city services functioning during the state budget crisis was approved in Harrisburg, PA.]

It is exciting to know that the haggards still seem extremely interested in maintaining their nest site on the window ledge at the Franklin Institute, so this morning I decided to meet up with Kay and Carolyn and check out the nest-building activities. What I did not factor in was the Philadelphia Distance Run early this morning with thousands upon thousands of runners converging on the start line in front of the Art Museum. Streets were closed all over the city, and it was difficult to wend my way to the Franklin Institute area because of the huge crowds.

Maybe all the unusual noise and excitement and sheer hordes of people everywhere scared the hawks away as we did not see a single one. The nest definitely looks to be remodeled and renovated with lots of new twigs and sticks, and clearly there is activity there.

This was the first time I have ever been "shut out" on a hawk watch, and it was ironic that the last time there had been this level of crowds and excitement on the streets surrounding the nest was for the Philadelphia Bike Race back in early June, when Miss Piggy had to be rescued from the street by Rick Schubert - the event which led me to start this blog.

Here are Carolyn's reports in chronological order, with her pictures and captions:

Tuesday, September 15
Again, no hawks! I guess I'll have to go investigate the Museum's new sculpture garden.

Wednesday, September 16
Three days in a row with no hawks to greet me. I think Mom and Dad stuck around just long enough to make sure their brood has "moved on" successfully and now are thinking about their own plans for winter. Of course, they simply may have figured out how to avoid my routine checks.

Thursday, September 17
Just got back from watching the haggards rebuilding their nest. Thanks to Gene Mancini's tip. I decided to make my loop a little later than usual. There was a hawk waiting for me at the Art Museum, but s/he took off in the direction of the Franklin Institute before I could make an ID.

When I arrived at the Franklin Institute at around 7:15 AM, there were TWO birds on the nest. I managed to get several pictures of each bird (mom and dad) as they flew back and forth to the nest with twigs from the trees on 21st Street and a good picture of dad, back at home on top the Civil War Monument where the eyasses used to hang out. Mom seemed to stay in the nest longer, with dad flying in and out more frequently. I left when mom, then dad, took off in the direction of Whole Foods at about 7:45 AM.

Here's a haggard flying in with some twigs.

Saturday, September 19
Saw no hawks on Friday morning, but dad must have known that Saturday means football at the 24th Street recreation center. He was waiting for the game in his favorite dead tree when I arrived at 7 AM. I didn't see mom; she was probably hard at work on the nest.

Dad watching PECO's new LED-lit message board from his perch on 24th Street. I guess the Franklin Institutes's advertising worked!


  1. Hi Carolyn and Della- I've been following you all along on Facebook but as you know I do not post there so I was glad to see your new blog so I can write once again and tell you how much I appreciate your keeping us all up to date- I do worry about the eyasses and hope they are well and have gone their own ways- how exciting to see Mom and Dad "feathering their nest (with twigs)" so to speak- hope FI is taking pictures from above and that we will have another wonderful surprise come next Spring. Meanwhile, each posting is much enjoyed.


  2. Hi girls and everyone! I am excited about the nest activity too. Thanks for the updates! I was at Cape May last weekend, Sunday was a great morning for watching birds...after the fog lifted. I can't help but hear myself say softly, and wistfully, "come back soon". Maureen in Phila