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East Village Hawks Adopt Orphaned Brooklyn Fledgling That Fell From Nest

 Christo (right) bringing food for fledgling Flatbush (left) after adopting the baby.
Christo (right) bringing food for fledgling Flatbush (left) after adopting the baby.
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Steven Sonnenblick

EAST VILLAGE — A baby hawk who took a tumble from his Fort Greene nest weeks ago has a new lease on life after being taken in by an East Village hawk couple, officials said.

Tompkins Square Park hawk husband and wife Christo and Dora, named for the nearby Christodora building, were quick to take orphaned fledgling Flatbush under their wings after wildlife experts released him in the branches of a tree in the park last week, said a Parks Department ranger who oversaw the adoption.

The morning after Flatbush was dropped off at his new home last Wednesday, Christo heard him crying for food and swooped in to feed him, taking on the role of dad, said Urban Park Ranger Sgt. Rob Mastrianni of the city's Parks Department. The papa hawk has been bringing him rats and pigeons to fest on ever since.

"It's their instinct to want to feed the young baby hawks, so he took it in," Mastrianni explaned. "He perched next to it that morning and then he has been feeding it every day along with his mate and his other fledgling."

Flatbush, named for his birthplace at a Long Island University sports field on Flatbush Avenue, fell from his nest at 5 weeks old and was taken in by wildlife rescuer Bobby Horvath, who runs Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR), Mastrianni noted. 

On June 14, the Parks Department's Urban Wildlife Unit took the fledgling to the East Village parks in hopes that Christo and Dora, who are currently raising a daughter of their own, would take him in, EV Grieve first reported.

"This family only had one [baby] this year. They usually have three, and they welcomed him," Mastrianni said. "He's part of the family."

Flatbush was released into Tompkins Square Park last Wednesday. (Courtesy of the Parks Department)

Hawks mate for life and are very dedicated to their families, the park ranger said. Like other hawk couples, Christo and Dora take turns building their nests and feeding their young so each of them can take breaks from their grueling parenting schedules, he explained.

Since the adoption, Christo and Flatbush have been partaking in some father-son bonding, Mastrianni added. The dad has been teaching his new son how to fly by enticing him with dead rats in an adjacent tree.

On Saturday, Flatbush took flight for the first time, though he's still a little clumsy as he learns to use his wings, the park ranger said.

But he's well on his way to soaring with his adoptive parents.

"He's getting really good — made big progress in a week, that's for sure," Mastrianni said.