Sunday, January 21, 2007

An uncommon visitor


Tompkins Square in the East Village of Manhattan evidently has a resident hawk.
This majestic bird was perched in a tree Sunday afternoon and drew a crowd that raptly watched its every move. It flew from tree to tree and perched several times on wrought iron fences just feet from transfixed human observers.
After surveying the grounds, it swooped down on a rat it spotted hiding under a bush about 50 feet away.
Talk about a hawkeye.
In one smooth movement, it caught the rat in its talons (you can just make it out in the bottom photo) and flew to a distant tree to enjoy his meal high above prying eyes.

9 comments:

Zen said...

Very Cool.

Even in the man made world, nature way still lives

Matt Kohai said...

That's some impressive urban wildlife photography. Very cool indeed. It'd be even better if this was a more rare sight - I've heard that hawks are becoming more frequent residents of urban areas, largely due to loss of some of their wild habitat. "Predator" birds like this, if I recall correctly, require a lot of territory for their hunting, and there's fewer and fewer vast open spaces left that remain undeveloped.

Kozy said...

What a nice shot!
The hawk has really beautiful shape.
You are great photographer, I think.

Pierre Turlur said...

The hawk jumps from the concrete.

I feel great, Buddha-photographer-dreamer.

Love

Kuma

Michael said...

Zen, Matt, Kozy-san, Pierre,

Thanks for your comments! Yes, I suppose this hawk is more of an uncommon visitor than a rare one. I spent about a half-hour staring at this bird. What surprised me was how fearless it was in the presence of all those spectators. (I make it sound like a crowd, but there were maybe a dozen people gawking at it. But then, you had the sound of barking dogs from the nearby dog run, and other assorted urban sounds, in the face of which this bird remained unflappable, pardon the pun.)

Thanks for your kind words. I have a couple other hawk photos that I'll try to post soon.

Jeanne said...

Since these birds are territorial perhaps you'll be able to watch for a while . . . I had one that thought the bird feeder on my deck was a fast food restaurant. I was lucky enough to observe it a few times . . .

One of life's sweet and fleeting moments. Thanks for sharing with us.
Jeanne

Michael said...

Hi Jeanne,

Good to hear from you. Yes, several hawks and peregrine falcons have become celebrities in Manhattan, their various activities being covered fairly frequently in the media.

Evelyn said...

These are really nice. In the top one, it looks like you managed to get the full wingspan--a great feat in itself. In the bottom one, we can feel him frantically flapping!

Michael said...

Hey there, Evelyn,

I'm really partial to the top photo because it captures the markings on the hawk's underside. If I had this shot to take over, I would use shutter priority to blur the background slightly -- but then, I would risk freezing the hawk in flight.
At any rate, thaks for your comments, as always!!