East Village hawk Dominatrix tries to build home in Tompkins Square Park

The big and bold red-tailed hawk that has owns the Tompkins Square Park territory is building a nest on the center lawn. Or at least she’s trying to. Brave squirrels come and harass her constantly, even pulling out the twigs she brings in.

The hawk, who park nature photographer Dennis Edge calls “Dominatrix,” has been dominating the park for years and is known to swoop low and not be troubled by nearby humans. In previous years she and a mate have made a few half-hearted attempts to nests in the park–sometimes several at once. But nothing ever came of them.

Red tails start reproducing around age 3 and lay their eggs in early April, the Lake Milton Raptor Education Center says. Cornell Ornithology Lab says nest construction only takes four to seven days and Dominatrix has been dabbling on her nest project for at least a couple weeks now. Right now this nest is too small–probably only about 12-16 inches across and just as high. They’re usually huge–three feet across. I’ve only seen the single hawk participate in nest construction–though I’m not there all day. About a decade ago I was part of a project to put up a nesting platform for red-tails on trees near this one. That didn’t take, either.

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