A visual journal exploring the birds of Inwood and Northern Manhattan

by Teri Tynes – amateur naturalist, photographer, and illustrator

An Early Morning Photo Session with a Red-tailed Hawk

A few days ago, as I started my morning walk to the park, a guy practicing his tennis strokes on the courts next to the 207th Street entrance to Inwood Hill Park noticed my camera and then pointed to a large hawk perched on a low branch nearby. The next day, I saw the same bird in roughly the same place. Others noticed, too. A runner beginning his practice stopped to look at the hawk, telling me he frequently sees it on his morning runs.

Red-tailed Hawk. March 6, 2023

Several types of hawks frequent Northern Manhattan, but the Red-tailed Hawk is the most prevalent. In recent years, one hawk often perched on the flag pole on top of the school at the corner of Cooper and Isham Streets. I later learned from the Urban Park Rangers that the hawk had passed away from something called Frounce, a known disease in bird of prey often caused by consuming infected pigeons.

Red-tailed Hawk. March 6, 2023

Following a noticeable absence, more Red-tailed Hawks claimed territory in the park. These birds of prey may now be found flying all over the park, especially the forested areas and over the Salt Marsh. They are looking for prey. 

On this morning, I raised my camera to capture the Hawk of the Week. I use a discontinued Nikon Cool Pix that is able to zoom in on birds far away, but this hawk was close enough for detailed pictures. It did things hawks do – stare at whatever moved on the ground and in the sky, and it spent time grooming, preening its ample feathers. 

I left for a time to observe other birds in the park. When I returned, it had hopped on another branch and switched positions. While the first images show the hawk in its feathery reddish light, this second position reveal its bright white breast feathers.  

Red-tailed Hawk. March 6, 2023

A Gallery of Red-tailed Hawks

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