Birding Action at Green-Wood: Red Tailed Hawks, Parrots, and Anti-Starling Propaganda

As you likely know, Green-Wood Cemetery is my first choice for birding in Brooklyn. It’s the best place to see our remarkable wild parrots in action, and it’s also a place where one is likely to be surprised by experiences bordering on the mystical.

Case in point: this red-tailed hawk, which, this past Wednesday, implacably perched on the impressive memorial obelisk of Emmett and Catharine Pell for more than a half hour in the early afternoon.

I’ve done my share of hawk-watching and have never gotten so close to one.

A mockingbird was clearly disturbed by the presence of the hawk.

Mockingbirds are tough and won’t let the hawk’s size advantage intimidate them. The hawk ignored the harassment and would not be moved.

Feather-maintenance was undertaken.

Note the carving on the obelisk: a pair of soaring wings. Coincidence?

With no prompting from any discernible cause, the hawk flew off to the north, in the general direction of pigeon flocks operating in the vicinity of Park Slope.

I can’t at this point say whether the hawk will return to this same location, especially given the unwelcome reception he was given by the mockingbird.

But it’s worth a try and is only a 3-minute walk from the main gate.

To get to the Emmett and Catharine Pell memorial, walk up Sycamore Avenue until it meets Arbor and Bay Road Avenues – that’s just to the west of the Dewitt Clinton monument, which is visible from this location. Remember, you’ll be on an active road frequented by the Trolley and by motorized visitors, so stick to the road edges.

With the hawk gone, the parrots at the main gate resume their continual chatter and daytime activities.

The parrots seem to respect the hawks’ domain. They generally avoid the higher ground in the interior of the cemetery and are rarely seen in the interior (although they will travel through the NE corner near Battle Hill from time to time, a place also frequented by hawks).

The parrots’ main theater of activity is along the western edge of the cemetery, especially around the entrance gate, where they enjoy proximity to a wide range of food sources: grass (their natural staple), various flowering trees, and a particular clover that grows around the stone of many horizontal grave markers.

On my way home, I noticed some anti-Starling propaganda taped to a lamp post across the street from the Cemetery.

Not sure what to make of this — is this a stunt or are these people serious?