(Another) Tangle in the Nest

Hawk Cam 2012

Chronicling the red-tailed hawks of Washington Square Park.

There has been a bit of drama on the red-tailed hawks’ nest overlooking Washington Square Park: the handle of a plastic bag appears to be wrapped around the ankle of one of the 3-week-old eyases. Hawk Cam fans, who have been vigilantly monitoring the activities of the raptor family, first reported the incident on Wednesday morning.

Inspecting screengrabs and live images on Thursday afternoon, several experts agreed that the baby hawk’s foot did not appear swollen. They were also optimistic that the hawk would eventually free itself.

“It may be that the hawks will deal with this themselves when they get a bit bigger,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bunting, a wildlife veterinarian at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, who monitored the Hawk Cam family last year.

The hawk’s entanglement sent a wave of déjà-vu panic through an audience that watched last year’s mother hawk, Violet, struggle with a series of leg injuries that ultimately led to her death in December.

Dr. Bunting said there was no case to be made for humans to try to intervene. “Nest access is extremely difficult,” she wrote — the nest is on a 12th-floor ledge outside a window that does not open at New York University’s Bobst Library building — “and I am not sure that there is any safe approach to the nest to do anything right now, particularly with the second hatchling moving around.”

We’ll continue to monitor the events as they unfold, and, we hope, as the twist of white plastic unravels.

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