Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Beresford Hawks Mystery: Donna's Field Notes provide a solution

For the last few weeks Pale Male and Lola have been frequently sighted on one of their long-time favorite roosts-- the TV antenna on the roof of the "Oreo Building" -- that's the hawkwatchers' name for a building at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street.

At the same time a pair of hawks has been frequently seen perching on an ornament atop the Beresford, a tall apartment house on Central Park West and 81st Street. The Beresford is almost due west of the Oreo Building, just across the park.

Who are the Beresford hawks? Several persistent hawkwatchers have solved the mystery. They have observed the Beresford pair leave their Central Park West roost and head directly for the Oreo building. It is now absolutely clear that the Beresford pair are, in reality, Pale Male and Lola. [See Donna's Field Notes below]

This wouldn't be particularly significant except for one additional fact: recently the Beresford pair has been seen bringing twigs to a ledge on the C.P.W building. Could it be that Pale Male and Lola have finally done a slow burn about the disrespectful behavior of the 927 Fifth management last December? Like so many New Yorkers, is it possible that the historic Fifth Avenue Hawks are thinking of moving???

Stay tuned.

Field Notes 6-16-05

Sunset 8:30PM (NYT),
Temp. Hi 75F,
Humidity 79%,
Mostly cloudy,
Wind variable,
UV High,
Prey Tally-None identified.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.

Pale Male and Lola News-
Elizabeth had suspected that the nest building Hawks
at the Beresford Towers at W 81st were Pale Male and
Lola. Elizabeth took Stella over today to see them
and indeed THEY ARE PALE MALE AND LOLA. Besides visual
ID, at 3:22 Elizabeth and Stella were able to follow
their flight from the Beresford Towers to the Oreo

Junior and Charlotte, Trump Parc-
Today's hawkwatchers, Stella, JoAnn, John, Elizabeth,
Donna, and Sam
5:28 Charlotte in center of nest, head to wall Eyass
immediately in front of her, and one near wall, she
feeds them by dangling meat for them to take.
5:34 Charlotte scratches her head causing some
feathers to remain standing straight up.
5:45 Watches eyasses.
5:51 Tremendous rolling thunder, very dark, then heavy
rain. We shelter under the Dipway(?) Arch along with
a dozen or so others, including a very loud very crazy
man who talked endlessly. We ate cookies and when the
crazy man left, boredom instigated a rendition of
Singing In the Rain with Sam doing a mini-version of
the classic with Stella's the rain.
6:22 Rain radically decreases.
6:24 Charlotte standing in huge mantle over eyasses,
with large air space between her wings and the nest.
6:26 Essex sign checked for Pale Male Jr., no luck.
6:34 Charlotte very low in nest.
6:46 Charlotte stands high and mantles.
6:48 Charlotte works nest lining with feet, settles
back down into concave, disappears.
6:50 Rain begins again.
7:00 Exit.

Submitted-Donna Browne

West Coast Redtails

Another example of nature triumphant, this one from Los Angeles, with some fascinating parallels to the Pale Male and Lola story. The parallels bode well for success next year at the 927 Fifth Ave nest:

Mina & Willie [Mom & Dad] on nest
photo by Steve -- website below

Mina and 2 new chicks
Photo by Steve - website below


I wanted you to know that we have a situation similar to Central Park here in suburban Los Angeles. At the Kaiser Hospital where I work we have a male and female Red-tail Hawk who have lived on the grounds for at least 3 years.

Their first nest was in a tree outside of a lounge area in the main hospital and in 2003 they enthralled staff and public alike by hatching and raising 3 hawklets (one of which fell out of the nest and died). The tree along with the nest was later destroyed to make way for construction, but Mom and Dad merely moved the nesting site to a ledge on the corner of a nearby building.

Their first try last year at a successful hatching in the new site was unsuccessful possibly because the new nest was built on top of pigeon spikes and didn't have enough material, thus piercing the eggs. This year, however, everything went perfectly and 3 babies broke into this world between April 10 and 12. I was able to gain access to the building roof across from the nest so I set up my super-zoom digital camera and proceeded to pictorially chronicle events as they unfolded.

It's now about 3 weeks after fledging and the 3 hawklets are pretty much doing everything but hunting for themselves. I've taken about 3000 pics so far and put 400 of them up on my website for people to view; I provide some background info on Red-tails and quote from sources such as your book (I hope you don't mind) and Charles Preston's "Wild Bird Guide: Red-tailed Hawk". I've received much positive feedback from hospital staff and customers; we even had a spot on a Los Angeles TV station when one of the hawklets was having some difficulties during "first flight". So, being a fellow Hawkwatcher I just wanted to inform you of our unique situation out here.

. . . The bottom line is the Red-tails are here to stay; hospital adminstration has promised not to touch the nest (the building is new so I guess they can't tear it down for awhile) so the Red-tails will delight us for years to come, and I plan to follow them with my camera for as long as I can. I wish to thank you and your Central Park friends --- and Pale Male and his mates, of course --- for providing the inspiration to tell this amazing story.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Lovey-dovey behavior: Blakeman comments

Photo by Lincoln Karim
June 14, 2005

Below a note from Donna Browne to John Blakeman, referring to her Field Notes of June 15, and his response.

Hi John,

This evening, interesting nest behavior I'd not seen
at 927.

7:45 Junior from the W, circles, then to nest.
Charlotte lowers herself as he comes in. She stares
at his feet/prey. He continues to stand on spot, she
goes over very low between his feet and takes prey
with her beak and goes center of nest. Junior waits,
Charlotte leans over prey, rips off very small piece
and gives it to him beak to beak, he immediately flies
off nest.

I hate to be anthropomorphic but if I were, I'd say it
was pretty close to affectionate.

Donna Browne


To be a bit anthropomorphic, I'd too say that this
pair is "affectionate." It's not a lubby-dubby
smooching sort of thing, but I've seen this in other
wild pairs. It approaches, at least on the nest, the
pair bonding behaviors of mammals. It's so unlike the
natural, unmated psychological state of red-tails that
it's really noticed. You've got it right.


John A. Blakeman

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Any way you "slice" it: Blakeman on nest hygiene

The inconvenience of the white droppings on the canopy of 927 Fifth Ave. during the weeks between hatching and fledging seems to have been a major complaint that precipitated the nest removal last December. As hawkwatchers know, these were not Pale Male and Lola's "doing." Below, John Blakeman gives a scientist's viewpoint on this lowly behavior, and also warns us to be prepared for possible heartbreak. [Forewarned is forearmed.]


One other thing to watch for at the Trump Parc nest. Sooner or later, each of the eyasses will feel the urge to give proper attention to defecation, to "slice" as it were, over the edge of the nest instead of to just drop the droppings anywhere. As they begin to assume the hygienic civility of mature red-tails, the eyasses back their tails in the direction of the nest edge, lift their rumps (as well as they can), and try to send the fecal stream over the edge. Often, this concerted effort exhausts the little bird, and it simply flops over, often precariously near the nest edge, and it takes a nap.

As I may have mentioned previously, from time to time an eyass backs up one centimeter too close to the edge of the nest and it simply falls out. In most cases, that's the end of the bird. So, should this happen (not likely, but possible), just understand that this, too, is a part of red-tailed hawk biology. We should lament for a moment, then go back to watching the remaining eyass grow and prosper.


John A. Blakeman

Field Notes - June 15, 2005

Before reading, note the temperature.  The noble hawks and hawkwatchers have been sweltering in a late spring New York City heat wave.   Relief at last.

Field Notes 6-15-05

Sunset 8:30PM,
Temp. 80F,
Partly sunny,
Humidity 53%,
Prey Tally-Rat, Pigeon.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
Trump Parc Pair
6:25 Charlotte on extreme west edge of nest, beak
tucked in.
6:35 Charlotte goes to mid point of nest edge, leans
down, ripping prey motions, eats several bites.
6:44 Charlotte up and flies toward Columbus Circle.
6:47 Junior to nest, Charlotte into sight above
Hampshire House and Essex.
6:48 Charlotte to nest.
6:49 Jr. up, circles above Trump disappears over HH.
6:50 Jr. reappears still circling HH, patroling area.
6:52 Jr. disappears behind Essex, Kentaurian and Jean
go to track his perch down.
6:53 Charlotte feeds holding bites in her beak while
the eyass takes them from the beak herself.
7:03 Charlotte eats also.
7:12 Charlotte very alert, then up and behind
Hampshire house.
7:14 Charlotte back to nest.
7:18 Peregrine appears high above HH. Charlotte very
7:20 Charlotte works beak,(calls).
7:22 Jr. over Park W of nest circling, then circles
or=ver the Athletic Club, then circling further into
Park. Charlotte tensed and alert.
7:24 Jr. goes behind Essex sign. I take off for 58th.
7:30 Jr. sighted coming off of Essex sign.
7:45 Junior from the W, circles, then to nest.
Charlotte lowers herself as he comes in. She stares
at his feet/prey. He continues to stand on prey, she
goes over very low between his feet and takes prey
with her beak and goes center of nest. Junior waits,
Charlotte leans over prey, rips off small piece and
gives it to him beak to beak, he immediately flies off
nest. (Behavior not seen at 927 Nest.)
7:48 Junior to W towards Columbus Circle, Veronica at
CC, sees him circling there.
8:06 Jr back to nest, Charlotte low as he lands.
Charlotte stares at eyasses, Jr. scans territory.
8:08 Charlotte and Jr. both watch eyasses with focus.
8:12 Junior off and to Essex House sign.
8:17 Charlotte settles into nest.
8:25 Exit.
Submitted-Donna Browne

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Trump Parc kids are growing fast - Blakeman comments

Photo by Lincoln Karim
[from construction site just west of the Trump Parc]
June 14, 2005


Lincoln on his website recently made a very cogent notation. He asked viewers to compare the size of the two Trump Parc eyasses with the remaining unhatched egg. He pointed out that the two (formerly) little ones had to fit inside an egg when they hatched. At the 927 nest the rapid growth of the eyasses has not been directly seen, at least before they got big enough to be seen above the nest edge. This time, we all get to watch how rapidly, even explosively, the young eyasses grow.

When I was conducting my captive breeding trials of red-tails, along with watching this spectacle in wild nests, I was stunned as how fast the birds grew. Look at Lincoln's photo again and note that the birds are two to three times their hatch weight or volume.

I don't believe any other vertebrate animal of equivalent size grows at such a remarkable rate. So far, the eyasses have maintained their relative shapes and proportions, so they don't appear to have grown much. But as Lincoln suggested, compare them to the size of the egg. Already, the little ones are whoppers, and they've just started their growth spurt.

This rapid growth is possible because of their food: massive amounts of proteins, sufficient lipids (fats), along with lots of calcium and other bone constituents. These birds aren't messing around with lean carbohydrates. They are eating their body weight or so each day in raw flesh. They are just beginning a rapid spurt that in 10 days or so will allow them to start standing.

Within a week new dark flight and contour feathers will start to appear, first as just dark spots. The hawks will begin to lose their down feathers, to be replaced by the emerging dark flight feathers. Right now, the little tykes are rather engaging, in the manner of soft fluffy toy bears. Soon however, they will start to look a bit ragged and rough-edged as the flight feathers of their first year begin to emerge.


John A. Blakeman

Another redtail question: Blakeman answers

A reader of this website sent in the following letter, dated June 13, 2005.


I live in NW NJ near the Delaware Water Gap and over the past two springs have had a pair of mating red-tails in my backyard (although I’m not sure if this year’s pair is the same as last year’s, only a guess). However, after being away (not seen in other words), they have been seen & heard for the last 8 days darting between the trees in my backyard. They make loud screechy whistles and also short high pitched sounds as they fly around from branch to branch. I have also seen one of them catch prey (I think squirrel judging from the size).

My question is, is it possible that they have a nest around my yard? In late April I saw two hawks mating (again, I am assuming they are the same two that I see now) so I don’t think this is any mating ritual; wouldn’t it be too late in the season for mating? Thank you,

Peter Squire

John Blakeman replies:


Marie Winn forwarded your inquiry to me. Here's my take on what you've described.

The nest is not necessarily in your backyard. It could be as far away as a half mile (but probably less). What you've described is almost surely the activities of a mated pair of red-tailed hawks, and some of the squawking may even be young red-tails just out on their own. Early nesters are just now getting young of the year on the wing.

But in wooded areas such as yours probably is, seeing the hawks is rather difficult. At this time of year they spend a lot of time perched, even hidden, in the foliage of trees. They are only well seen when perched on open hunting spots, or when soaring.

<>The birds you see this year are almost surely the same ones you saw last year. Red-tails, just like the birds in Central Park, are very faithful and consistent nesters in defined territories. They don't much wander around from year to year. Therefore, you can expect to see these birds again next year, too.

But yes, it's too late now for any serious breeding activities.

My best.

John A. Blakeman

Field Notes: Pale Male Sr. and Jr.

Field Notes 6-14-05

Sunset 8:29PM (NYT),
Temp. 94F,
Heat Index over 100F,
Humidity 64%,
Mostly sunny,
Slight breeze,
Prey Tally-pigeon.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.

[Elizabeth reports two RTs perched on the sourthern
most Beresford Tower, 81st St., one presenting a twig
to the other.]

927 Nest:
[Mark reports that around 2PM Lola was seen sitting the
Fifth Ave. nest. Yesterday, Pale Male ate a Mourning Dove(?) above the
Hawk Bench.]

3:54 Pale Male lands on Oreo Antenna, alert, hunting
mode, actively looking.
4:01 Pale Male dives down, lost in tree line.
4:02 PM appears in front of Ship Shape, then Octogon,
flushes pigeons from roof. Herds pigeons in front of
Woody, circles in front of Woody, pigeons bank and
wheel to W side of M.B. Pond.
4:04 Pale Male flies behind The Crows, immediately
flies back into view with small bird chasing him.
Kestrel dives at him repeatedly as he flies up Fifth
until Pale Male gets to the Octagon Building.
4:09 Pale Male lands on Stove Pipe railing.
5:01 Lola on Oreo Antenna, Pale Male up and off Stove
5:26 Lola on back corner of Oreo grate, Pale Male
lands back on Stove Pipe railing.
5:36 Lola leans over in copulation position. Then
looks back at PM on railing.
5:50 Lola up and flies towards Ramble.
5:51 Pale Male up flies same direction.
5:52 Pale Male appears above Oreo circling, continues
to do so, higher and higher until out of sight.
5:54 Exit, walk to Little Hill.

Trump Parc Nest:

6:21 Charlotte on the nest, panting, on right S end.
6:26 Charlotte mantling, Eyass head pops into view,
beak open slightly, then down.
6:31 Charlotte standing nest center mantling, eyass
heads periodically pop into view.
6:55 Charlotte rips pieces off prey, chews. Eyass pops
us beak open. Charlotte holds prey pieces in her beak,
eyass takes them from her and swallows. The bigger
eyass may be off to the next developmental stage of
rising periodically from her haunches as she seems to
be suddenly taller now and again and walking with a
different bobble. Charlotte mantles for awhile.
6:59 Charlotte feeds more bits.
7:00 Eyass head and partial body comes into view, she
toddles past Charlotte who is mantling large and
7:01 Charlotte works beak, alert to sky.
7:03 Charlotte stares along 59th toward west. Breeze
7:31 Eyass stands sheltering under Charlottes mantled
7:36 Jr from W, circles in front of nest once, then
lands on nest w/ prey(?).
7:37 Jr. and Charlotte stare at eyasses.
7:38 Jr off.
7:44 Charlotte rips prey for eyass, perfect complete
view of feeding. Eyass eats a pigeon foot handily.
7:52 Charlotte off the nest with pigeon portion
towards Columbus Circle.
As luck would have it, Trump Parc Hawkwatcher Veronica
happens to be in Columbus Circle and environs walking
Molly and Emma her Bassett Hounds therefore could see
what the hawks were doing when we at Little Hill
RT appears (probably Jr.) and perches on old Biography
sign, then scaffolding.
Sometime around 7:45 (it's tough to take picky notes
and walk two big Bassetts) a second hawk appears,
Charlotte, as she left the nest at 7:52, and attempts
to perch on apartment building on CPW (Charlotte
attempting to eat in peace?) Charlotte is dive bombed
by small birds (possibly the Kestrels that have been
disputing with the pair.). Both RTs now circle above
Columbus Circle together.
8:00 Little Hill watchers see RT fly behind the Essex.

Veronica sees an RT on the other side of the Essex
land on the Essex sign.
(Earlier Veronica saw an RT, described by her to be
attempting to perch repeatedly on the all glass Trump
International. That may well have been what was
happening but it occurred to me, having seen Pale Male
rush windows in which he was reflected, that Jr. may
have been after a reflection of himself.)
8:04 Charlotte returns to the nest, picks up pigeon
carcass moves it to the concave of the nest. The
smaller Eyass bobbles partially into view. Charlotte
beak down in concave, feeds.
8:07 Charlotte pulls bits off carcass, both eyass
heads pop up to left of her, N. She feeds.
8:40 Exit.

Submitted-Donna Browne

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

[But what about us humans?] Blakeman reassures about the hawks and the heatwave

Photo by Lincoln Karim
June 12, 2005

Many hawkwatchers and readers of this and Lincoln's website have been worrying about New York City's heatwave and how it might affect the Trump Parc hawk family. John Blakeman sends a reassuring letter:


With temps in the mid 90s,the Central Park red-tails are going to get as uncomfortable today as the humans there. But this isn't the first time red-tailed hawks have had to endure such extremes. If this weather were truly destructive, red-tails would have died out a long time ago. How many days in the last hundred years or so have reached 95 degrees?

Our hawks will pant, with their beaks open, and appear to be downright uncomfortable. They don't like this weather any more than we do. Red-tails much prefer the coldest weather in winter over summer heat. In winter, they just eat some more food and turn up the physiological body furnace. But in summer, the hawks still have all their winter clothes (feathers) on, and they can heat up pretty quickly. We falconers know that a hawk kept in a heated car or building can quickly die. Don't misunderstand. Normal summer heat is difficult for the birds. But it won't kill them. The species has been through this hundreds of thousands of times before.

With their dark, sun-absorbing thick feathers, the adults heat up quickly. They will compress their layers of feathers tight against the body, to facilitate outward body heat transfer. Red-tails in the summer heat will appear markedly thinner than in the winter, when they fluff up their feathers to create microscopic airpockets that insulate and reduce body heat loss.

If an adult's internal body temperature elevates to over 105 degrees F for a period of time, the bird is in trouble. But it won't just sit there and die of hyperthermia. On hot days such as these, the bird can set its wings and in just a few minutes be soaring at several thousand, even 10,000 feet. Up there, it can be only 50 or 60 degrees F, and the bird can reduce its internal body temperature down to a very cool (relatively speaking) 95 degrees.

Of course, it won't take but a few hours or less to warm back up again, so the bird will be fighting the heat all day. It also will perch in among tree leaves, out of the direct heating blaze of the sun. I've never encountered a free-flying adult red-tail that has been killed by any summer heat. Remember, this species lives very nicely in the Sonoran Desert of the southwest where temperatures commonly elevate into the low hundreds.

<>And for those wondering why the birds don't just drop in for a cooling bath in any of the several Central Park lakes or ponds, such water resources simply don't exist in large regions occupied by the red-tail in the West. Taking a bath has its own problems. Doubtless, the wet feathers provide delightful cooling, but this doesn't last long as the water quickly evaporates. Secondly, the water in the feathers adds significant weight, that for flight must be compensated by strenuous flying -- which creates more internal heat. Taking a bath isn't a real solution to the problems of late afternoon heat for our red-tails. Mostly, it's just a matter of endurance, just as it was for other New Yorkers before air conditioning. (As readers may have noticed, I tend to compare the immigrant Central Park red-tails with the many human immigrants that, for three centuries, have made New York such a great city. Please excuse my extrapolation of human experiences upon those of the hawks, as romantic as that might be. But at least in the case of summer heat, the parallel fits.)Worry not. The adults will survive.

What about the two eyasses? Well, Pale Male, Jr. and Charlotte have been very good parents. They have been mantling, spreading their wings over the little ones, keeping them, for the most part, out of the direct sun. But worry even less for the eyasses than the adults. So far, the little birds haven't been much able to maintain a very consistent body temperature. We know that when hatched, and for the first 7 to 10 days, the eyasses are "cold-blooded," meaning that they can't really regulate body temperatures around a desired, normal central point. That's why the parents are very diligent in sitting over them when first hatched. The little eyasses get warm only by crawling up under a sitting parent.

But just about now, in the late second week or so, the birds start to keep warm by themselves, generating sufficient heat. Therefore, the hot sun is not much of a problem at all. They can rather easily handle the elevated afternoon temperatures. They just won't be generating so much physiological heat from their food. Instead, biochemical energy will be used to synthesize new feathers, not to stay warm.

The heat is to move on out on Wednesday or Thursday, and things will become more "normal." In all likelihood, all four of the Trump Parc hawks will come through famously.
Everyone else, keep cool, keep calm. There's nothing out there red-tails haven't dealt with before.


John A. Blakeman

Monday, June 13, 2005

Great recent pictures of Central Park wildlife

Baltimore Oriole feeding young in nest

Photo by Cal Vornberger
June 8, 2005

Baltimore Oriole feeding newly fledged young

Photo by Cal Vornberger
June 11, 2005

Nesting Wren singing

Photo by Cal Vornberger
June 1, 2005

House Wren at nesting hole

Photo by Cal Vornberger
June 1, 2005

And now for something different. . .

Orange Bluet Damselfly

Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik
June 11, 2005

Pale Male Jr. Field Notes

Note from Marie: Donna includes the following description of the best viewing spot for the Trump-Parc nest, where she watches most afternoons with the Swarovski scope, and others join her:

Little Hill [where the PM Jr. hawkwatchers gather] is just inside Central Park's wall at Central Park South [59th St.] across from the Essex House, between the Sixth and Seventh Avenue entrances. No bench. Bring a towel, or even better because of the angle, a reclining beach chair. Nest Neck, though less intense than its cousin Warbler Neck, has been mentioned.

Field Notes --Trump Parc nest-- 6-12-05

Sunset 8:28PM (NYT),
Temp. 88F,
Humidity 98%,
Wind variable,
Prey Tally-Pigeon.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.

5:45 Charlotte on nest panting slightly.
5:47 Head in concave.
5:50 Head up looking into concave, watching.
5:56 Charlotte alert to Park.
6:01 Charlotte stares at Little Hill.
6:03 She stands in concave, tail to point of corbel,
pants with tongue and mantles.
6:08 Eyass head pops into full view of Little Hill,
half under her mother's tail as Charlotte seems to be
watching something else, the other eyass (?), fixedly.
6:13 Charlotte has moved further to the parkside of
the nest, looks at eyass near point of corbel, leans
down and places her beak near her. (A ploy of
Charlottes to get the eyass to come toward the beak,
dispenser of food and away from the edge? If so it
does not work.)
6:14 Charlotte resituates to sit on point of corbel,
hence sitting on eyass, intentionally or not keeping
the eyass from the edge.
6:15 Charlotte does full extent mantle, head toward
6:16 Eyass wing flips up and down, very quickly in the
space below Charlotte's head. She looks at it. The
wing seems to ever so slightly continue flopping
toward the wall and away from Charlotte.
6:22 Charlotte very alert to sky above park.
6:27 Charlotte stands, preens from base of tail.
6:39 Mantles, wide pant.
6:44 Hawkwatcher calls from CPW sidewalk, she's
attempted to enter the park at Sixth Ave. and though
the parade is long over, a policeman won't let her
enter as he says they are clearing the park. He seems
to be misinformed because a number of others have just
entered using the Seventh Ave. entrance. To save the
walk someone takes her binocular bag and she traverses
the wall. All are happy.
6:54 Charlotte changes position, more perpendicular to
wall, wing stretch.
7:00 Breeze springs up and ruffles Charlottes
feathers. She looks staight down and then looks
straight up at sky.
7:02 Focus to concave.
7:04 Shifts head to S, then down, head up with beakful
of grey pigeon feathers. She eats them. Head in
concave, leaning down.
7:10 Feeding motions.
7:19 Charlotte off the nest and immediately down, 58th
street side.
7:26 Charlotte returns from 58th, lands on S side of
7:27 Junior circles in front of nest, gains altitude
circles over scaffolding.
7:28 Junior lands on N side of nest, stares into
concave at eyasses. Charlotte preens.
7:29 Junior off nest to behind Hampshire House/Green
7:31 Charlotte, N side of nest, perpendicular to wall,
preens back and under mantling wing. White fluff
feather stuck to her forehead, wafting.
7:34 Panting.
7:44 Leans into concave, head disappears.
7:46 Head back up, scans.
7:48 Head back into concave, pulling bits off prey,
fleas shoulder.
7:53 ?
7:56 Junior suddenly appears and onto the nest, N end.
Charlotte head scrunches down as he comes in. He then
bows his head lower than her head level and she then
stares at his feet/prey. His weight shifts from one
foot to the other, several times. She continues to
look fixedly.
7:57 Junior walks across nest to S side. Charlotte
moves to his previous N spot but tail to observers.
7:58 Junior up and soars over Little Hill, looks down.
8:08 Charlotte stands in center of nest looking into
concave, then preens tail.
8:12 Exit
Submitted-Donna Browne.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Welcome to another Central Park baby

Yes, this is still Central Park Nature News!

Nathaniel Gow Lam, born on June 5, 2005 is the first child of Anne O'Connor and Ed Lam. Ed, an artist, is also one of Central Park's most accomplished naturalists. He did the artwork on the C.P. Conservancy's much-loved nature guides--The Birds of Central Park and The Butterflies of Central Park. He is the author of the unique Damselflies of the Northeast published last year by Biodiversity Books and available through his website listed on the Links page of this website. This is a book that E.O.Wilson called "a little masterpiece". And indeed it is.

He is one of the regular Central Park [non-maternal] Mothers. For those unfamiliar with this slightly stale joke, in that last sentence Mothers rhymes with Authors. We looks at moths.

Hawk eye contact?

photo by D. Bruce Yolton

Donna Browne writes:


If you look closely at Bruce's photo, Junior and
Charlotte have eye contact. It's one of those
examples I've talked about. It's communicative
in some way, and I'd be fascinated to have enough
examples of that moment, one leaving the nest,
the other on, the eye contact position, and then where
the departing bird goes to figure this out a bit.

It tends to happen when one is on its way and they
aren't physically standing on the nest together. In
fact it's almost like eye contact on the nest is
avoided, at least in Pale Male and Lola's case. I
haven't observed Junior and Charlotte enough to know.

It's also interesting, (okay, at least to me) that
Junior and Charlotte are much more likely to do beak
carrying as opposed to talon carrying which is the
preference of Pale Male and company.


PS from Marie: I've looked closely at the photo [reprinted above yet again for convenience] and I think I see what Donna's talking about...

And talking about communication, yesterday Donna and another hawkwatcher were able to see the nest from a window just above the nest at the Trump Parc. Donna climbed on the window sill and partly hung out the open window thirty-five floors above the ground while someone kept a tight hold on her legs. She reports that she could hear the two chicks emitting little cheep-cheep sounds.

How many corbels?

D. Bruce Yolton, one of Central Park's nature photographers, sent in the picture above and wrote:

You're off by a bit in your description of which Trump Parc "corbel" the hawks' nest is on, as well as the number of corbels. Depending on if you count the corbel on the corner, it's either one or two back from the southern most one.

P.S. from Marie: Based on my view of the nest from the 65th floor of a building to the southwest of the Trump Parc Hotel, I'm not sure that thing sticking out at the corner of Bruce's photo is a corbel. But I'm in love with that word. I spent so many hours hunting through architectural reference books looking for it. And since no one has written in with a contradiction, I'd say I hit on the right name. Corbel.

So here's the corrected description:
There are 8 corbels on the west-facing facade of the 36th floor of the Trump Parc, and 5 on the 35th. The nest is on the 4th corbel of the 35th floor row, going from north to south.

Arrival or Departure: the final proof

Just in case anyone had any lingering doubt about whether PM Junior is coming and going in the picture I posted day before yesterday, Bruce Yolton, the man who took the photograph, sends the above series of shots. He writes: "This is the sequence of the departure, one second apart from left to right. "

Bruce has also taken some wonderful shots of the common and uncommon birds of Central Park. Here is a link to his website, where he explains how he came to be photographing the birds of Central Park.