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Single Hawk Mom Successfully Raising Two Babies

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — Riverside Park's fatherless young hawks are poised to spread their wings and fly for the first time.

The hawk-watching blog Urban Hawks reported that the two baby hawks, known as eyasses, will likely take their maiden airborne voyages within the next few days.

The thriving red-tailed hawks faced an uncertain future after their father was found dead in April.

His death, which experts believe was a result of eating rat poison, sparked outrage some hawk watchers, some of whom believe the male hawk died from eating rat poison left out by the Parks Department.

It's not known whether that's the case; the hawk could have died after eating poison at a nearby apartment building.

The loss of the father left the mama hawk on her own to hunt for food for her recently hatched babies and keep them warm and safe in the nest — duties usually split between two parents.

Some worried the single mother wouldn't be able to do play both parental roles herself. But with a little help from humans, the raptor mother has managed to successfully raise her young ones.

Parks department employees have been leaving out food for the mother so she's not forced to abandon the family nest in search of prey.

The feeding plan wasn't guaranteed to work, wildlife experts said, but the hawk mama adapted to it.

Next hawk lovers will get to watch the young raptors as they practice swooping, soaring and hunting near their nest just north of the West 79th Street Boat Basin.

"Their tails look a little too short and some feathers haven't grown in on their heads, but otherwise they look pretty close to being ready for their first flights," wrote Urban Hawks editor Bruce Yolton on Tuesday.