I am happy to report that for a third straight year, a pair of Red-tailed Hawks has chosen to nest at The New York Botanical Garden. A brood of three scrappy, inquisitive raptors was born in 2019, and each is now exploring the Garden.
For Garden staff, this was an opportunity to observe an exciting natural event.
Like many of my colleagues, I like to walk the grounds during my break. Quite a few of our employees venture out with binoculars, in hopes that they might spot a fluffy little head peering out into the world, or perhaps one of the adults feeding their young. This proved a challenge, as the parents reinforced their nest to the point where it now stands much taller and wider than it was when they first constructed it in 2017, making it difficult to see what was going on.
For weeks, all many of us could spot was the backside of the parents as they leaned forward into the nest bowl. Eventually, their three offspring made themselves known.
I encourage everyone to take the time to explore the 250 acres of The New York Botanical Garden. Hawks aren’t the only residents. This time of year, frogs, turtles, butterflies, and other birds call this place home.
Speaking of birds, if you prefer a group setting, join the Bird Walk that takes place every Saturday at 11 a.m. The group meets at the reflecting pool, and it is always a good time.
On Sunday, April 7, the Garden enjoyed sunny skies and 65-degree temperatures. The crowds of visitors weren’t the only ones out on that glorious day. During my lunch break, I headed out in the hopes that our reptile friends would make an appearance—and they did not disappoint. There were literally piles of red-eared sliders and painted turtles getting their tan on. I’m not sure how many, as I stopped counting after 40. And they say it’s not easy being green!
I’m happy to report that for the second year in a row, a pair of red-tailed hawks have nested here at The New York Botanical Garden. This year there are three hatchlings! Here are some entries from my journal about this amazing family of raptors.
Grackles are noisy and rambunctious birds, but have you ever really stopped to appreciate them? In the springtime sunlight, their iridescent feathers capture blacks, blues, purples, and everything in between.
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez
On Wednesday, February 21st, it seemed as if mother nature forgot that summer doesn’t officially begin until June. The temperature peaked at 78° F. Nearly 2,000 visitors decided to enjoy the glorious weather that day, and I was curious as to how the warmth would affect the Garden’s wildlife. I decided to try my luck and see if any animals we don’t normally see in winter might come out for a bit. I was not disappointed.
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In addition to the usual suspects (a pair of wood ducks and two pairs of mallards), I spotted a sizable red-eared slider having a look-see in the wetlands.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the green frog in the Native Plant Garden. Yes, a green frog. In February.
Some of my more interesting wildlife encounters happen in the mornings before my shift starts. I was recently walking the pathway between the top of Wamsler Rock and the fencing of the Native Plant Garden, when I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk perched on a rock further down. I couldn’t help but notice that it looked like it was waiting for a cab! I just had enough time to get one shot before it flew off.
A Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) in the Garden – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez