Saturday, March 26, 2005

3/26/05 -- New postings today:

3/26/05 -- New postings today:
Field Notes
More about Moon color
Pasadena GHO


Field Notes Friday, 3/25/2005

Temp. 43F,
Partly Cloudy,
Wind Variable 3MPH,
Full Moon,

AM Pale Male spent much time on the Carlyle.
Stella reports today's nest exchange (Pale Male sits
the nest) occurred from 1:35 to 2:05PM.

3:55PM Pale Male perched on NW corner of Oreo railing
4:15PM Lola sitting nest, facing N, head up, very
4:19PM Pale Male off Oreo into tree line, then west,
Lola watches him, down into nest but alert.
4:55PM Lola's head up, alert, then down, eye visible.
5:37PM Lola stands, stretches wings, bends over beak
down, turning eggs?
5:38PM Lola down.
5:45PM Fifth Avenue bathed in Golden Light.
5:54PM Lola stands, small digging action, settles back
5:59PM Lola's head appears, very alert.
6:02PM Lola down.
6:20PM Roost Hunt-Marie, Sam, Donna, Lincoln, All known roosts checked. No Pale Male.
6:42PM 7 ducks fly N from Model Boat Pond
7:20PM Exit.

Yesterday I asked about the color of the full moon. If you click on the link below, sent in by Karen Anne Kolling, you'll find some more information.

Moon color info
In answer to my question about the moon's color Rebekah Creshkoff writes:

Also, bear in mind that you actually didn't see the moon until it had been up for, say, and hour and 45 minutes -- so it wasn't JUST after rising, and would be nearly 30 degrees above the horizon.

(I also saw my first Phoebe on Thursday, the day of the snow -- had been in the slush on the pavement of the Mall, then flew up & perched on the back of a bench, flipping its tail, as I approached.)

Photo by Steve Watson

I know I know. This is a Central Park site, so what is this Great Horned Owl and owlet nesting on the side of a Pasadena laboratory doing here? Well, let's say it's the exception that proves the rule. Who can resist this beautiful photograph, and the sight of that owl baby growing by leaps and bounds?

Photo by Lincoln Karim
approx. 7:15 pm 3/24/05

The moon rose at 5:09 p.m, [according to the NY Times] but became apparent to the Hawkwatchers remaining at the hawkbench -- Ben Cacace, Donna Browne and me, a little before 7:pm, First visible a little south of the Carlyle, it began as a diffused glow behind a heavy cloudbank, and then, as the clouds moved away, a spectacular, bright, whitish globe.

Question: Why is the moon sometimes reddish-orange just after rising, and sometimes, as tonight, pure white?

Donna Browne's Field Notes
Thursday, 3/24/2005

Sunset 6:12PM,
Temp. 41F,
W. Chill 38F,
Wind WSW 5-10MPH,
Prey Tally-Pigeon

Ric reports around Noon, Pale Male took over the nest
from Lola. She went over to the water tower on the
ugly white condo and ate a stashed pigeon. Her break
lasted about 45 minutes. Conrad reports Pale Male
spent a good bit of time perching on the Carlyle in
the AM.

3:29PM Pale Male is perched on the railing of the
Stove Pipe.
3:31PM Pale Male up and flies west.
3:38PM Pale Male flies in from west and perches on
railing of Stove Pipe.
3:41PM Lola stands and makes larger than her previous
digging motions with her feet, then beak down possibly
turning eggs. She then settles back down.
3:42PM Pale Male flies to nest, stands on the north
side, looks at Lola who is turned to the south,
briefly surveys nest.
3:43PM Pale Male up, circles Woody, flies
north,circles Oreo, flies north low.
3:55PM Greater part of bench pigeon flock flies east
to roost.
4:08PM Lola stands, digging motions, then beak down.
4:09PM Lola settles in and preens breast.
4:12PM Lola very alert, looking hard west.
4:15PM 1 pigeon, pied, left at the Bench.
4:19PM Pale Male discovered on light 5 on Carlyle.
4:21PM Pale Male moves to lamp 3.
5:17PM Pale Male still on lamp 3, Carlyle, Lola down.
5:25PM Bench Cardinal sings for peanut. He then takes
it and feeds his mate in the Cheery trees.
5:30PM Pale Male discovered on the antenna of The
Crows. Lola is difficult to see with binoculars.
5:34PM 33 Mallards on the pond.
5:38PM Starlings flocked en masse on roof and water
tower of Linda.
5:45PM Starlings up and circle to north.
5:47PM Pale Male still on Crows antenna, preens back
and breast.
6:07PM Pale Male gone.
6:30PM Active Roost Hunt begins. Lincoln remains at
the bench to watch Pilgrim Hill Pin Oak. Ben, Marie,
and Donna check known roosts from present and past
6:40PM Mallard pair flies west, observed from walk by
East Drive.
6:45PM Approx. 8 Mallards fly west, observed from same
as previous.
7:00PM Ben, Marie, and Donna having not found Pale
Male at roost return to the bench. Pale Male is not
roosting in Pilgrim Hill Pin Oak either. The nearly
full Moon appears from behind the clouds.
7:40PM Pale Male not found. Exit.

Thursday, March 24, 2005



3/24/05--Bob Brooks sends the following report:

Hi Marie,
I saw at least 5 phoebes today. 3 up near the feeders ( in that patch of woods directly east), 1 in the oven and 1 near the lake. Since I only saw the 3 at one time I can only assume that the other 2 were different birds. I was wandering around at 8 AM.

Bob Brooks

Bob Levy sent the following report to ebirdsnyc. It was followed by another note from Carla Davis, adding that there have been many sightings of Osprey at nesting sites in the East End of Long Island this week, along with one of an Eastern Phoebe.

DATE: Thursday, 24 March 2005
LOCATION: Central Park

In the late afternoon I thought I saw a gull approaching Turtle Pond but quickly realized I
was watching a rare visitor to this pond. It was an Osprey. It flew low over the water for a
few minutes and then took off toward the Lake. I was going in that direction anyway and
hoped I might get another look at the Osprey later. I got two. The first was when it
conveniently perched for more than fifteen minutes about three-quarters up a tree close
to the shore of the Lake near Bank Rock Bridge. Later, after it had gone south, I saw it
again flying back north over the middle of the Lake toward Bank Rock Bridge once again.


3/24/05--Pale Male perching on rooftop antenna on 72 St. and Fifth, just prior to roosting for the night

photo by Viv Ramos

3/24/05 --- photo taken on same day Viv saw an Eastern Phoebe at the Castle. Jack Meyer, separately, also saw a Phoebe today.

Caloo Callay!


This subject certainly stimulated a lot of thought and comment! I've collected a bunch of ideas from various people here. John Blakeman has said he'd answer as soon as he can. I'm printing the first letter in its entirety, not just the theory about sexual dimorphism, since it made me feel so great.

Dear Marie,

It is such a complete pleasure every evening to visit your site. I'm certain that there must be thousands of us who are absolutely addicted to the wealth of information found there and, I've had hawkists here in Virginia tell me that they have read dozens of books about raptors and yet have learned really cool things on your site that apparently are unavailable elsewhere! You and John Blakeman write so clearly and compellingly. And Lincoln's photographs are nothing short of superb - he's a natural with light and composition. So, since I'm a loyal admirer, I thought I might toss out another theory so that John can take aim?

Isn't size a determining factor in the ability of creatures to maintain consistent body temperature? And wouldn't the larger size of the Red-tail hen be a benefit considering (if I understand correctly) that the female assumes markedly greater duties of incubation initially and then later provides warmth and cover for longer periods of time for newly hatched eyasses during early Spring's fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions?
Even with his smaller size the tiercel is clearly up to the task of providing food for his family. Perhaps there's an advantage in needing slightly less for himself and his neater size may give him an edge and make him a more agile and efficient hunter?

It's a generalization, but in nature the small variations which provide specialized advantages seem to make all the difference in ultimate survival and success in passing on genes... 'just a thought...

In an often stressful world, thanks much for reminding us of the intricate and exquisite all around us,

Anne Olgeirsson

Here's another:

Hi John,

Another thought, as Red-tails breed all the way down
to Central America, plus the West Indies, might there
not be an advantage for the bigger hen on the nest
with that geographical set of predators? Species in
which some members at least, are a more even match for
the hawks than Raccoons or Great Horned Owls and
therefore the hen's extra grams could be the deciding
factor. Nest robbing snakes or lizards might be a
possibility as Red-tails have been known to eat, so
are capable of killing, some species in their southern
geographical range.

Donna Browne

And another:

Dear Marie,

As to John Blakeman’s unresolved question of why females are larger, I’ve been told that one of the theories is because this gives them a larger brooding patch for their nesting duties. As the female is the one who mostly incubates and continues to keep the babies warm after they’ve hatched, the theory goes that she does better being the larger of the pair. Who knows?! But maybe.

watching faithfully from Cambridge, MA

Wednesday, March 23, 2005




A harbinger of spring: the opening day of Jack Meyer's great Central Park walks has been set, for March 31.

These walks are enjoyable for all, beginners or advanced birders, young or old. Here is the schedule:

Walks will be Thursday through Sunday, from March 31 to May 29

Walks leave at 7:30 AM from 72 Street & Central Park West. (NE corner.)

The cost is $6. No reservations are needed.

If there are any questions, you can reach me at:
212-563-0038 (Not after 8 PM please)

Looking forward to seeing all my birding friends again.
Jack Meyer


Starr Saphir's walks are legendary. And the reality surpasses the legend. Here is Starr's schedule for walks in Central Park:

[Please note -- for reasons complicated to go into, Starr's Sat. and Tues North End walks are at 9:00 a.m., not at the usual time of 7:30 a.m.]

******** Sat. and Tues. Morning North End walks*****

Sat. Apr. 2 - Tues., June 6

9:00 am (sharp) to approx. noon

103 rd St. and Central Park West, the Park side

*********Mon. and Wed. morning Ramble walks*****

Mon., Apr. 4 - --Wed. June 8

7:30 am (sharp) to approx. 10:30 am

81st St. and Central Park West, the SE corner

All walks non-smoking. Fee for each walk is $6 per person; no registration necessary. For further information, please call Starr Saphir (leader) at (212) 304-3808.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

WHILE LOLA IS QUIETLY SITTING --- News from other nests:

3/22/05 -- WHILE LOLA IS QUIETLY SITTING --- News from other nests:

One of the babies of the Great Horned Owl nesting in an a former crow's nest outside of a Pasadena lab. Stephen Watson writes that the nest's former owners. crows just as John Blakeman supposed, harrassed the owl for several weeks after she began sitting on eggs. Obviously she persevered, for the photo shows evidence of success.

This photo by LINCOLN KARIM taken on 3/20/05 shows the facade of the Trump Park Hotel on Fifty Ninth Street where a redtail pair have made a nest on the 36th floor. Since the male of this pair is a light-phased red-tailed hawk, people are calling him Pale Male Jr. These hawks are definitely incubating at the moment, but the prognosis is not good. This is the 4th nesting attempt on the Trump Park. None of the previous ones have succeeded. Why? I would attribute it to an absence of spikes. A high wind can damage or destroy a nest here. Could somebody write the Donald and suggest that spikes be installed here?

PASADENA Great Horned Owl report:
Stephen Watson writes on 3/20/05:

At least one chick has been observed in the nest! I'll try and get some photos tomorrow...


Field Notes Monday, 3/21/2005

Sunset 6:08PM,
Wind WNW 5-10MPH,
Temp. Hi 45F,
W. Chill 38F,
Ric's AM report- The mallards in the boat pond have
commenced copulation. When Pale Male perched on the antenna or the corner of "The Crows", white building one over from The Lion, three or four crows would mob him. At one point, Lola took a break and Pale Male sat on the nest.

3:46PM Pale Male on the railing of Stove
Pipe. Lola deep in nest.
3:48PM Pale Male up and west.
4:08PM Lola very alert on nest.
4:14PM Pale Male back on the railing of Stove Pipe.
4:32PM Pale Male up and west. Lola deep in nest.
4:55PM Pale Male back to railing on Stove Pipe.
5:03PM Mallard Count-35, Pigeon Count-4.
5:14PM Pale Male up and chasing gull south, gull
circles to chase him, Pale Male circles and herds gull
5:16PM Pale Male flies north and perches on the
railing of Stove Pipe.
5:27PM Pale Male up and west.
5:36PM Lola sits nest and preens. Her feathers appear
5:46PM Pale Male crosses in front of 927 5th Ave
four times, laids on nest, Lola stands tail to bench
and eats ?. Pale Male stands right nest, face front,
alert, watching territory while she eats.
5:48PM Pale Male flies north and then west. Lola back
on nest.
5:58PM Pale Male appears over The Lion flies west over
park, Pilgrim Roost, and towards lake.
6:23PM A pair of geese fly south to north.
6:28PM Formation of 24 geese fly south.
6:50PM Pale Male is not found in any known roosts.
Submitted: Donna Browne

Monday, March 21, 2005


Dear Marie,

My husband and I have greatly enjoyed reading your web site daily, and following the saga of Pale Male
and Lola. However, I must take issue with your statement below:

“Though Pasadena is about as far from Central Park
as you can get in the U.S.”

We reside in Hawaii, which is indeed part of the U.S.
and much further from Central Park than Pasadena!
It’s a long haul to New York but we try to make the trip most years in May, if we can,
and a visit to the hawk bench is a highlight of our visit.

Thanks for all the interesting information on your site.


Marilyn Trankle

From Marie: So sorry. Should have said "Continental United States.
[My mistake was written in the text accompanying the Great Horned Owl picture]

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Vernal Equinox, marking the first day of spring, occurred today at 7:33 a.m.

3/20/05--The Vernal Equinox, marking the first day of spring, occurred today at 7:33 a.m.

Stephen Watson, who works at a scientific research center in Pasadena California, sent me this picture of a Great Horned Owl that chose to build a nest right up against his laboratory building. He has been following our hawk story faithfully since last December. Though Pasadena is about as far from Central Park as you can get in the U.S., , this nesting event still falls in the category of "urban wildlife". Anyhow, I loved the photo and couldn't resist posting it, as a greeting from the Central Park hawkwatchers to the Pasadena Owlwatchers.

Donna' Field Notes

Field Notes Friday, 3/18/2005
Temp. 49 F
Wind gusting 5-10 MPH
Movie, LADY LUCK being shot north end and sides of
Boat Pond
Prey Tally: ?

Rik reports that in the AM Pale Male made two trips to
the nest with construction materials. One trip
carrying twigs and the other with a large amount of
dried grass/vegetation.

Also from Rik, RT combat between Pale Male and an
intruding Red-tail over the Boat Pond in front of the
nest around 2:15PM. Dives culminating in Pale Male
plucking feathers from the intruder, who then was
chased towards the west.

2:34PM LolA deep in nest, face front, alert, looking
through nest twigs
2:40PM Pale Male discovered on left railing of Stove
Pipe building. Lola standing doing somthing with her
beak within the nest concave.
2:48PM Pale Male ?
3:01PM 43 Mallards in the Boat Pond, many people in
the park today
3:08PM Lola stands, tail to bench, head down doing
3:16PM Pale Male arrives at nest with twig
3:17PM Pale Male up and north
3:22PM Lola stands facing north. I couldn't see it
with binoculars or the smaller scope but with Rik's
scope I could see Lola making those very small digging
motions with her feet
3:25PM Lola settles back in
3:29PM Lola's head appears,face forward, very alert
3:35PM Lola settles into nest, still peering through
twigs alert
3:37PM Lola's head reappears, alert
3:49PM Pale Male to nest, holding twigs in talons and
conifer greenery in beak.
3:51PM Pale Male off nest travels to Stove Pipe and
perches on front left railing
4:34PM Pale Male up from railing and Uptown, traveling
north and then west
4:40PM Lola shifts position, tail to bench
4:47PM Lola shifts position, head to north
5:30PM pair of Canada Geese fly south to north over
Boat Pond
5:55PM I must leave, no sign of Pale Male
Submitted:Donna Browne