Rats Under Control?

Rats Under Control?
For the second time this year I went poking around after dark looking for rats in Tompkins Square Park. I found a few but compared to what it was like three years ago, I would call the population under control.

Videos I shot in August 2011.

Back then the rats were running rampant in daylight. Today they keep themselves well hidden until after dark. I’ve not seen a rat in daylight at all this year, except for the few I’ve seen in the talons of the hawks. And the Parks Department is not using poison bait in the park because of our protected, nesting Red-tailed Hawks. I can only conclude that the hawks seem to be doing an excellent job of rat control.

Rats Under Control?
I used the flash on my camera and a flashlight to poke into spaces all along the perimeter of the park and near the garbage cans around the park office and I saw a total of 7 rats, between the hours of 9 and 10:30. The most rats I saw were along Avenue A at the Avenue A playground.
Paderewski Red Oak
I also saw a couple near the Paderewski Red Oak tree at the southwest corner of the park. I can’t really correlate these rat holes around its base to it, but this tree is doing poorly this year.

Rats Under Control?
I have about a hundred flash shots trying to catch the rats unaware, but I was just not seeing any in 95% of the shots. These are all very ugly Blair Witch looking shots so I’m not showing any of them, but I think this is a fairly good way to take a census.

Hawk's Dinner

Ready, Set, Stay

The youngest hawk is still in the nest, about a week past when it was expected to fledge. Dad and one of the fledglings pays a visit. We hope it is OK in the summer heat.

Christo and the Youngest
Christo visits the nest to eat dinner with the unfledged young hawk.

Siblings Reunited
One of the fledglings visits the unfledged sibling in the nest. This is supposedly rare, though these East Village hawks don’t seem willing to follow any of the rules.

Never Can Say Goodbye

bumble bee echinacea (3)
Bumblebee Among the Echinacea.
Never Can Say Goodbye
This is the youngest hawk chick. It hatched two days later than the chicks who left the nest about a week ago. To me it looks uncertain about this whole flying thing. It mostly slept through the three hours of this hot sunny Summer afternoon on Avenue B, while I stood at attention videoing. I have video but it is really not worth the effort to edit and post. As this all-encompassing hawk nest drama reaches some conclusion I’ll be switching to covering as much of the park’s different ecology as I can. All the creatures deserve some attention. Don’t you think?
bumble bee echinacea (6)
My extensive tree photography and video and mapping continues, but it is too time consuming to post frequent updates and still be able to record as much of the seasonal changes as I can. Immediately in the works is a video about the park’s giant Elm Trees.

Young Hawks at Large

Shaft in a Tree
The first young hawk to leave Christo and Dora’s nest was rescued from an air shaft and brought into the park. Here it is in Tompkins Square Park hoping that dad brings back something to eat. The birders have given it the nickname Shaft. Young hawks are just about impossible to sex without a DNA test, but I can’t help but think of it as male.

Lonely Perch
The second young hawk to leave the Christo and Dora’s nest perches on the roof of the former Public School 64 on East 9th street. I saw it fly and it seems strong. I’ll try to get better photos soon. As of late this afternoon the third and youngest chick was still in the nest.