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Three red-tailed hawk eggs on ledge of Bobst Library, photo c/o Gina Guadagnino

Washington Square Park Nature News July 2021 edition: Public parks are our local nature

Red-tailed hawk breeding season

This year’s red-tailed hawk breeding season in Washington Square Park was unsuccessful. The female did lay three eggs and sat on them well beyond the typically incubation period. She eventually abandoned the nest. The pair is a new couple and new to parenting, too. We are hopeful for a more successful breeding season in 2022, and that NYU will repair the hawk camera in time for us to better monitor the nesting pair.

Thank you to Gina Guadagnino, Special Assistant and Director of Special Projects Office at NYU, who shared updates including photographs of the nest.

Tracking seasonal changes in several trees

One of our ecology projects is tracking seasonal changes in several trees (aka phenology) in the park. While the Japanese pagoda tree is not on the monitoring list, we show it here because it will bloom soon. Japanese pagoda tree is a summer flowering species. And, look at the shade this large tree provides. A 1994 study by Greg McPherson of the US Forest Service showed “a large tree with a trunk diameter 10 times larger than a small tree produces 60-70 times the ecological services.” (via DeepRoot) Tree preservation must go hand in hand with tree planting.

Your Bird Story

We wrapped up Season One of the Your Bird Story podcast in June with Episode 10, “Bird Girls.” Have you listened to it yet? Also, Georgia spoke about the podcast with Nate Swick of American Birding Podcast. Listen here. Season Two of Your Bird Story will begin in September and is made possible by a grant from The Puffin Foundation.

Call 4 bird stories

Do you have a bird story? We would love to hear it! Email us and we will set up a call to record your story for a future episode!

Public access to public parks

Finally, we believe in the right of the public to access public parks. We disagree with the position of the City and the NYC Parks Department to eliminate access to the northwest corner of the park. In addition, the ever-expanding 24-7 police “station” under the Arch is also infringing on the right to access all of this public park.

Georgia wrote an opinion piece about public access and use rights in Washington Square Park.