Thursday, July 28, 2005

Q & A about the fledglings

I forwarded the following letter to Blakeman and received a promt reply.

Now that the little Juniors are in the park, I was wondering what would happen if they start
heading North-East in the park and get into Grandpa's territory? Is there any danger for the little Jr's if that happens? I am assuming that young hawks would be oblivious to territorial issues.
John Blakeman answers:

The young birds, as they begin to learn to fly with alacrity, will begin to explore Central Park. At the first, they will remain in the south, near their natal region. As they grow stronger and begin to start hunting themselves, they will drift further afield. But if they are perceived by resident adults, Pale Male Sr., and Lola, as intruders, the adults will fly out and challenge the youngsters. They aren't likely to make any physical contact. They will just fly out with an attitude of superiority. The young birds will fly out of the area, with their tails figuratively between their legs. These birds instinctively understand the signaling intents of the parents. They are safe. They will just have to move back home when challenged.
That will work as long as their own parents allow them to stay. But in August or September (late, for this late pair), Jr. and Charlotte are likely to drive the young birds out of the south end of the park. The birds may then just get up in the air and join a stream of fall migrants heading south. They may never be seen again as they disperse in migration. Only two to four migrants out of 10 ever return the following spring. Their greatest danger is not from territorial challenges of nearby adults. It's their ability to find food during the fall and winter.
John A. Blakeman