Tuesday, February 01, 2005



taken on 2/1/05

Though Pale Male and Lola get most of the attention these days as they rebuild their Fifth Avenue nest, Central Park Regulars are well aware of a number of other Red-tailed Hawks regularly seen in the park. Pictured at the right is one of these, an immature redtail often seen in the vicinioty of the Azalea Pond and the Evodia Field bird-feeding station. How do we know it's immature? Not by size, obviously, since fledglings are the same size as their parents by the time they take their first flight. This bird reveals its immaturity by having yellow eyes rather than black eyes, and by the absence of a red tail. [Immature redtails are often referred to as browntails.]

This particular young bird has another odd feature. He has been seen eating suet at the feeding station. When Lloyd set up his tripod and took this picture, the hawk was on a nearby branch inching his way closer to the suet feeder . But since it was feeder-filling day, there were about twenty people gatherered at the feeders, watching the bird's activities. This may be why he never gave Lloyd the satisfaction of getting a shot of the hawk with his beak right in the suet. Instead, the hawk hopped onto the branch right next to the feeder for several minutes, perhaps hoping we would all go away. Finally he flew off.

Photo by LLOYD SPITALNIKAdvice for non-hot-shot birders:
[Lloyd, read no further!]

It's always a good idea to take a long, hard, second look at a sparrow you assume to be a Song Sparrow. It may turn out to be a Savannah Sparrow. This has happened to me on several occasions, and God knows how many times I simply called a Savannah Sparrow a Song Sparrow.

Here Lloyd has captured on film a magnificent Savannah Sparrow in the snow, near Willow Rock. Note the notched tail --one of the ways to distinguish this sparrow from a Song. The photo was taken on 1/29/05.

[It's clear that Sibley is mainly intended for hot-shots. He doesn't even mention the possibility of mistaking a Savannah for a Song. Peterson emphasizes this possibility.]