December 21, 2010

Juvenile Hawk Release at Kissena Park 12-18-10

I was contacted this past Saturday Morning by Cathy Horvath about the possibility of releasing some juvenile Hawks somewhere in Queens. 4 juvenile Hawks (3 Red-tails and 1 Broad-winged) that had completed their rehabilitation needed to be released back into the wilds of New York City. We decided to give the Queens Botanical Garden a try, but the staff their was not keen on the idea, so we decided to try nearby Kissena Park instead. The Kissena Park Corridor is over 100 acres in size and connects with Flushing Meadow Park to the west and Cunningham Park to the east. The combination of these three parks spans nearly 5 miles, so it seems to be an ideal place to release Raptors. Upon arrival birder James O'Brien spotted 2 juvenile Kestrels (1 male,1 female), possibly birds that Bobby and Cathy released earlier this summer in Flushing Meadow Park. The grounds of the park area were littered with small holes that probably contained colonies of mice, so it provides a nice feeding ground for the Kestrels.

The first bird to be released was the Broad-winged Hawk. Broad-wings look very similar to Red-tails, but are a bit smaller. Bobby and Cathy's son Christopher had the honor of releasing this feisty little guy:

Cathy had the honor of releasing the next bird, a female Red-tailed Hawk.

The third bird is another female Red-tailed Hawk that was rescued from Stuyvesant Town on the east side of Manhattan. Heather Holland, who lives in Stuyvesant Town and writes for the local paper there attended the release and got to pose with the Hawk.

Here is a video of James O"Brien releasing the third bird, another Red-tailed Hawk.

The fourth bird is another female Red-tailed Hawk, and she was released by Queens resident and new bird enthusiast Alan Lewandowski.

Two of the recently released Red-tailed Hawks landed in a tree near one another, and were soon joined by a local Red-tailed Hawk (yes, another juvenile) that had probably staked the area out as its winter hunting grounds. This new Hawk was not banded, and I thought it might be one of the Unisphere fledglings from this past summer, but upon further photographic inspection it seems unlikely.

The other two releases flew North upon release and disappeared from our sight soon after. Here are a few more pics from that day:

 Can't wait to be free!
 Horvath Family Photo
 The Interloper
Can Hawks and plastic Owls co-exist?

Bobby showing Alan how it's done

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