Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Riverside Park Hawk Nestlings Dead

In the comments on a previous post, a reader linked an article about the apparent death of three red-tailed hawk fledglings in Riverside Park (NY).

The body of only one young hawk — or eyas — has been recovered so far. The city’s avid bird-watchers have confirmed that the other two babies are not in their West Side nest and are feared dead as well.

“It’s so devastating,” said Dr. Leslie Day, who recovered the body of one of the chicks on Sunday and kept it refrigerated to preserve it.

On Monday morning, Dr. Day, a naturalist who teaches at the Elisabeth Morrow School and the Bank Street College of Education, gave the body to a friend, the photographer Lincoln Karim. Mr. Karim planned to drive to Delmar, N.Y., near Albany, and turn the corpse over to Ward B. Stone, who runs the Wildlife Pathology Unit of the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Stone was expected to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
Over the past few days, there has been a running discussion on the fate of the Riverside Park hawks at the Pale Male Irregulars blog. The latest post reports that the necropsy indicated that the recovered chick died from acute lung hemorrhage. That suggests the hawks ingested rat poison, but the chick still needs to be tested for toxins to confirm this suspicion. The Urban Hawks blog, which first mentioned the potential nest failure at Riverside, has photos of the three Riverside eyasses while they were still alive. I expect that both blogs will post about the tests as results become available. Readers who are interested in following the story should check there for updates.

Update: The Riverside Park hawk nest fell down, and birders recovered the remaining two dead nestlings and sent them to Audubon for testing.