Pip, Young Red-Tailed Hawk, Getting Ready to Leave the Nest above Washington Square!

It could be any day now. Pip, child of neighborhood hawks Violet and Bobby, has been doing flying motions, flapping his wings, and is almost ready to leave the nest (outside NYU President John Sexton’s office – again, what are the chances?). Young birds – from sparrows to pigeons – sometimes get down on the ground and out of the nest a wee bit early and then it’s always interesting, as a human who encounters them, figuring out how, when, and if, we intervene. (Probably a bit different with a hawk.)

Violet and Pip around June 5th

Pip Flapping His Wings, Sunday

Precious Pip, June 18th, 2011

New York Times City Room reports 6/19:

Sometime very soon — perhaps in a few days, maybe a week — Pip the red-tailed hawk will take a few more practice flapping hops, face the great wide world and, on untested wings, soar off the ledge where she has spent the first six weeks of life.

There is a good chance that she will never return.

Pip, as you may know, is the child reality-Web-TV star of City Room’s Hawk Cam, whose fast-forward metamorphosis from cottony puff pile to gawky adolescent outside a 12th-floor window at New York University has unfolded before a global audience. (Pip’s sex remains unknown, but by falconers’ convention, unsexed raptors are referred to as female).

He’s gotten so big! (I’ve always thought of Pip as a boy.) Tho’ the Times states: “Most fledglings starve to death during their first summer — Bobby and Pip’s mother, Violet, will leave dead rats in tree crotches for her for a few weeks, in part to keep her alive, and in part to keep her from boomeranging back to the nest. But by August or so, if Pip cannot find her own prey, she’s out of luck. Such are the ways of the wild.”

I think Pip will make it.

When Pip does fly, any day now, it’s going to be quite the occasion as he may land in a Washington Square Park tree. Look out, squirrels!

(I hadn’t written about Violet, Bobby and Pip since May 27th. So much else going on, with the Eastern side of the Park at last opening and all!)

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Photos #1 & 3: Bruce D. Yolton, Urban Hawks Blog

Photo #2: Heather Alonzo/Roger_Paw blog