Saturday, July 09, 2005

Out in the wide world and not sure I'm liking it

Photo by Cal Vornberger
July 4, 2005

A few days ago you saw this wren [or a close relation] pictured here. It was still in the nest and its mouth was agape, ready to gobble a green bug offered by its parent. Now you see it out in the world, with a few bits of fluff to reveal its fledgling stage.

An appeal to readers: Help prevent other hawk nests from being wantonly destroyed like Pale Male and Lola's was in December 2004

Brent Plater of The Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco is trying to get evidence that will help revoke or change the ill-fated 2003 memorandum -- MBPM-2 of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service -- that allowed the management of 927 Fifth Ave to legally take down Pale Male & Lola's nest last December. If you know of any other cases where raptor nests and other birds' nests were destroyed on the strength of this memorandum, this would help strengthen the case he is preparing. Please contact him.

Brent Plater
Staff Attorney
Center for Biological Diversity
San Francisco Bay Area Office
1095 Market St., Suite 511
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415-436-9682 x 301
Fax: 415-436-9683

Friday, July 08, 2005

Trump Baby I.D. tips: Blakeman --7/7/05

Photo by Lincoln Karim
July 5, 2005


I mentioned in a recent post that it would be really good to be able to confidently separate and identify the eyasses. I looked at Lincoln's photo today of the two eyasses staring right at the camera and I noticed that the bird sitting on the right appeared to have a slightly light-colored patch on the lower edge of the upper bill, on the eyass's right side just under the nasal opening (the narr). This should be watched for, to see if the patch persists. If so, we have something to separate the birds early on.

Those on the ground there can be looking for similar distinctions. The bird facing the camera is starting to exhibit the rather uncommon (from my Ohio experiences) saturated yellow-beige (or whatever color it is) chest feathers. Ohio birds tend to be much whiter. I think this is a genetic trait passed down from Pale Male Sr. It appears in eyasses in previous years at the 927 nest. I don't think it's typical in any Eastern red-tail population. We will want to watch the chest coloration closely, as this might vary nicely between the two birds, allowing a good ID mark.

Right now, from what I can see, both birds appear to be equally sized. I have no idea if they are males or females. Even if I had both of them in hand, it's virtually impossible to sex them at this stage without comparisons of size differences. We'll just have to watch them closely. They will be exploding in growth in the next two weeks. Their behaviors, also, will change dramatically. Soon, the eyasses will begin to tear off bits of meat. The parents will soon terminate the bit-by-bit feeding that worked so successfully in the downy stage. The little blighters will soon enter a nestling adolescence and start to grab at food, squawk a lot at parents, even grab each other's food from time to time. Their feeding habits will be ever more crude and indelicate as they try to harden neuromuscular circuits involved in foot, leg, and mouth coordination patterns involved in eating. Even adults never become particularly adept at careful flesh-ripping. Their small brains don't devote much neuron space for fine delicate feeding habits. Feeding is rather crude for hawks of all ages, but especially so for inexperienced eyasses trying to feed themselves for the first times.


John A. Blakeman

P.S. from Donna 7/7/05:
On the matter of telling the eyasses apart, at least
currently, the gape line of one is darker than that of the other.

Donna's Field Notes - 7/6/05

ield Notes 7-6-05

Trump Parc nest-Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte.

Sunset 8:31PM,
Temp. 78F,
Humidity 91%,
Wind variable,
Clouds and rain.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
5:48 Large drops of rain begin. Charlotte low nest
right,S, she pants. Eyass left nest, N, triangulates
to 59th, preens back, small hops, big flaps, stretches
6:05 Second eyass stands, wings stretch, hops foot to
foot while flapping.
6:06 All look at sky, rain increases. Charlotte leans
down, Hate Rain eyass goes with her.
6:09 Rain's Okay Eyass looks at sky straight up, beak
6:10 Charlotte at back wall.
6:11 Eyasses feed in center of nest. Rain Eyass
stands, walks to nest left, N, with wad of white
feathers in her beak. She swallows them.
6:15 Rain and wind increase, no hawks visible.
6:21 Rain moderates, Charlottes head appears eating,
then down.
6:23 Charlotte watches CPW, preens chest.
6:24 Charlotte works beak, looks at Park, preens
6:25 Charlotte focuses on eyasses, stares.
6:27 Rain heavy, all hunkered down.
6:30 Charlotte stands center, Rain eyass stands flaps,
all disappear into nest.
6:40 Extremely heavy rain, thunder, lightening.
Charmain appears and helps pack up the scope, we
retreat to under the arch.
7:30 Rain mostly abated, John has arrived, Charmain
leaves, we set up again on Little Hill. Charlotte and
the kids eat.
7:38 More rain.
7:40 Charlotte preens head of eyass under her.
7:47 Charlotte focuses on eyasses, rain to light
drizzle. Recent wet weather not favorable to juvenile
pigeons, several are ill in the Little Hill flock.
7:53 Charlotte stands alert, rain lessoned again.
8:03 Charlotte back to LH, head turned to 58th.
8:05 Eyass stands center, head down, eats, wing
8:09 Eyass scratches chin with foot, slight loss of
8:10 Eyass to Mom, triangulates to street, very alert.
Eyass begins to flap, Charlotte ducks but still gets
whacked in the top of the head with a wing, she works
beak, eyass away several feet, keeps flapping the
whole time. Charlotte attempts to move a twig but it
won't dislodge from it's current position.
8:12 Charlotte head down, feeds other eyass. First
eyass preens, then both preen.
8:21 Eyasses out of sight, Charlotte nest right,
scratches head.
8:24 Both eyasses center, Charlotte S side of nest.
8:25 None visible.
8:26 Eyass stands and slices off side, scratches head
with shoulder, preens base of tail. Robin begins to
sing in small tree a few feet from scope.
8:27 Lights up on Trump Parc crown, fireflies begin
their show. Second eyass gets head preen and then
8:30 Eyass stands up and flaps vigorously, Charlotte
stands and stares at her. Eyass stops and lays down.
8:34 Both eyasses stand, Charlotte stares at them,
they disappear.
8:39 Charlotte settles on nest right.
8:40 Exit.
Submitted-Donna Browne

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Pre-fledging speculation about the Trump Parc nestlings: Blakeman on sexual dimorphism

Photo by Lincoln Karim
July 5, 2005

Boy or Girl? Blakeman asks

It's time now to start speculating on the sexes of the two Trump Parc eyasses. Of course, for a while, it will be only speculation, until the birds are ready to leave the nest, to fledge. But an interesting developmental observation has been made by biologists and falconers who closely watch eyasses on nests.

As many here know, there is a marked sexual dimorphism between the sexes in virtually all raptors. When fledged, females are larger than males. When the birds are about to fledge, it should be easy to "sex" the individuals (to determine the sex, in biological parlance). If there is a noted size difference, the larger bird will be a female and the smaller a male. If both birds are the same size, they will have to be sexed in comparison to the size of the parents.

But even that is not always so successful. Red-tails in their first-year plumage are actually dimensionally larger than adults. They look bigger because they are. Their flight muscles aren't fully developed when they leave the nest, so they require slightly longer wing and tail feathers to easily hold them in the sky. Consequently, first-year red-tails appear larger than adults. By weight, they are not as large, but their tails can be an inch or more longer than adults, also with longer wing feathers. A female fledgling can appear to be a giant, larger than either parent. But under her feathers, she's a relative weakling.

Our eyasses in the nest, however, can present a curious contrast. Although females in the end are markedly larger than tiercels (males), it's been observed that tiercels in the middle third of nest occupation can be actually larger than a sister hen eyass. Consequently, if a size dimorphism can be observed in the next week or two, it's not likely to hold till fledging. At this stage, tiercel eyasses tend to spurt ahead in size, causing the unaware to label them as hens. But the females soon catch up and overtake the size of the eventually smaller tiercels.

Therefore, watchers of the Trump Parc eyasses should try to keep some track of the differential growth patterns of the birds, should they be of different sexes. Soon, with emerging flight feathers, astute observers should be able to discover minute feather patterns that identify each bird. This will be helpful for dentification. Mention was made, I believe, of a patch of white feathers on the back of the heads of the eyasses. This is a well known eyass feather pattern. Later, dark feathers will be seen emerging here. This curious feather pattern seems to be deeply ingrained in the genetics of red-tails and other related hawks and eagles. I once trapped and studied an adult female who was "leucistic" or albinistic, a nearly all white partial albino red-tail. Most of her body feathers were pure white, but she retained dark pigmentation in this back-of-the-head patch.

Lastly, I wouldn't be surprised if fledging actually deviates from the published, understood common time ranges for such. Remember, this is New York City, Central Park in particular, and everything here related to red-tails is different from the events, forces, and processes acting on typical rural and wild red-tails. So don't be alarmed if the birds fledge earlier or later. We are dealing with brand new red-tailed hawk biology that so far, is academically undescribed. All of this is leading edge, unknown raptor biology. Others, appropriately, have been excited by the discovery of remnant ivory-billed woodpeckers, a species formerly thought extinct. That story is about an old species being rediscovered. But in the heart of Manhattan we have an old species doing utterly new and unexpected biological things -- a story that for me prompts exactly the same ornithological excitement that the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker did for others.


John A. Blakeman

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Another hungry mouth to feed

Photo by Cal Vornberger
July 3, 2005

House wren at Maintenance Meadow feeding young.

[This is the house wren nest the Early Birders have been watching for the past month. ]

Happy [one month] Birthday to you, babies

Photo from 59th St construction site by
Lincoln Karim
July 5, 2005

According to C.R. Preston's account of the Red-tailed Hawk in the authoritative text Birds 0f North America:
"Young typically leave the nest for the first time about 42 - 46 days after hatching."

The Birders' Handbook gives a fledging window of 45-46 days.

The first egg of the Trump Parc nest hatched on June 3. The second egg hatched on June 4. [A third egg did not hatch.] Unlike at the Fifth Ave nest where we had to guess when exactly the eggs hatched -- we couldn't look directly into the nest there -- here we can pinpoint the exact day of hatching. From the 65th floor of our gracious friends' apartment in a building with a direct view of the nest from the south-west, we were able to see the actual hatch or something very close to it.

Forty-two days from June 3 brings us to JULY 15. That's when the window of opportunity for fledging opens. It closes on JULY 19.

Note: The fledging windows given in biologists' accounts are usually
accurate. The first fledge is very likely to occur between 7/15 and 7/19.

This is going to be exciting!

Blakeman answers questions about nest maintenance

Christopher Lyons, a Bronx birder, sent me a letter which he hoped I would forward to John Blakeman. I did so but added my own observations.. I sent both letters to John Blakeman. His response is below:

Christopher Lyons wrote:

In the course of observing two different Red-Tailed Hawk nestings, one in Van Cortlandt Park last spring, and one at Fordham University in the Bronx over the past several months, I have noticed something.

After the young had fledged from the Van Cortlandt Park nest, which was in a wooded area, we checked all around the base of the tree for pellets and remnants of prey items, remembering how in past years we had found a great wealth of the same underneath Great Horned Owl nests (which were usually built by Red-Tails, and either inherited or taken over by the
owls). However, we found nothing--not so much as a bone or a feather. We knew hawks don't cast pellets the same way owls do, but we were still surprised to find no evidence of the vast number of pigeons, squirrels, and chipmunks we knew the parents had brought to the nest over the past several months.

Moving ahead to February of this year, I was astonished to see a pair of Red-Tails building a nest in an oak tree just a few hundred feet from the library at Fordham University, where I work. In this case, there was no point in waiting for the young to leave the nest tree (which they did in Mid-June) before venturing closer--the hawks had picked a tree that had people all around it, all the time, and human presence seemed to bother them very little, if at all.

I passed that tree at least 15-20 times a week, at all times of the day, and never failed to look to see if there were any pigeon carcases or squirrel bones underneath. The well manicured lawn beneath the tree would have left no doubt if any such items had ever been present. The maintenance staff at the university is very diligent, but not that diligent, and in fact they don't seem to have ever had to clean up after the hawks.

As has been remarked upon by Lincoln Karim regarding the Manhattan hawks, the parents seemed to always take "the trash" out when they left, carrying the uneaten portions of the prey animals with them. Is this standard operating procedure for Red-Tailed Hawks? If so, leaving aside the fact that it casts certain accusations made by a certain 5th Ave. Co-op Board in a dubious light, what would the purpose be of this scrupulous cleanliness? It could be to avoid disease, but that doesn't really explain the need to carry the leftovers away from the nest. Why not just let them drop? Concern for the squeamish sensibilities of humans does not seem a reasonable explanation.

It occurred to me that Red-Tails might be more concerned than Great Horned Owls about nest predation, and go to greater pains to avoid drawing attention to their nests. I've read that raccoons sometimes rob Red-Tails nests, risking the wrath of the parents. Raccoons are too large to be prey for Red-Tailed Hawks, and a hungry one might decide a good meal was worth risking injury for. And in other areas where Red-Tails nest, there would be even more formidable tree-climbers to contend with.

Obviously a lot of partly eaten animals underneath the tree would attract attention from any meat-eating animal with an acute sense of smell. Therefore, by carting away the portions of prey animals that their chicks don't eat, the hawks are acting on a survival instinct that may not be terribly relevant to birds nesting on a building in Mid-Manhattan, or a leafy urban campus, but which might well save them a lot of potential problems when nesting in a city park, or a suburban neighborhood, with plenty of potential nest-robbers around. Since the behavior is instinctive, and still relevant to most Red-Tail habitats, there would be no reason for Midtown Red-Tails to abandon it.

As to Great Horned Owls, the first one I ever had a good look at was roosting in a tree in Van Cortlandt Park. At the base of the tree was the half-eaten carcase of an adult raccoon--with talon punctures in its back. GHO's have a lot less to fear from nosy neighbors, and may simply not have evolved this behavior (as indeed they never evolved the skills needed to build a nest of their own).
Be curious to know what your observations have been with regard to this matter, and whether mine are even remotely close to the mark.

I replied to Lyons::

I'll forward your letter to John Blakeman, but I know the answer too, from my own experience with the Fifth Ave. birds. They carry everything away, --food remnants, carcasses and the fecal sacs of the young --though not necessarily very far. Regina Alvarez, who was the Zone Gardener at the model boat pond back in 1994 and 95 told me then that she often found carcasses on the lawn just inside the park wall in her area. That is, right across Fifth Ave. from the nest.

I'm pretty sure redtails don't leave stuff at the base of the nest tree [or whatever ] to avoid attracting the attention of nocturnal predators -- raccoons abound in CP and I've even seen them on Fifth Ave outside the park!. And you are absolutely right about the complaints of the 927 Fifth management about rat and pigeon carcasses littering the sidewalk. Complete hogwash. Only the poop of the pre-fledge hawklets on the building's canopy sullied their entranceway-- easily cleaned up with a hose. I did once find a redtail pellet -- at the base of a tree in the park where Pale Male was eating a pigeon. He never ate at the nest, and I'd guess that during incubation when the female did eat at the nest she cast her pellets and defecated in the park during her periodic breaks.

And here is John Blakeman's response to both Chris's and my observations:


In relation to the questions (and answers) you and Christopher Lyons asked me about, both of you were correct on all accounts.

The questions related to the observed lack of food remains at red-tail nests, both those in Central Park and elsewhere. Your suggested answers were correct, that red-tails have an instinct to carry away food remains from their nests.

Red-tails, including both adults and eyasses, can't consume the entirety of larger prey animals. They swallow their beloved voles, large gerbil-sized rodents, along with any smaller house or deer mice they capture. But squirrels, pigeons, and adult rats have large, long bones that can't be easily broken and consumed. Large rodents also have copious amounts of skin and fur, which provide no nutritional value. The feathers of birds, especially the copious fine feathers of pigeons, are a culinary nuisance. If you get a chance, watch a red-tail pluck off the feathers of a pigeon before it gets down into the delectable flesh. The hawk can spend inordinate efforts in plucking pigeon feathers. The columbids, pigeons and doves, are famous for having large numbers of feathers. This helps them escape capture by smaller hawks such as the Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks, which have smaller feet that sometimes are able to clutch merely a fist-full of feathers.

The discarded feathers of a red-tail's pigeon lunch easily blow away. But the other remains, usually the carcass of a head and two wings (depending on the feeding habits of the individual bird, which varies greatly from bird to bird -- Europeans use knives and forks differently from Americans, too) are inedible leftovers. If the meal was consumed away from a nest area, the carcass is typically dropped and left. But carcasses are seldom, if ever left on or near an active nest, for the reasons both Marie and Christopher Lyons mentioned.

If a red-tail allowed prey carcasses to drop to the ground beneath a nest, roving mammalian predators would be easily tipped off to the nest's presence by rotting odors. By carrying the dead prey items away from the nest, smell-guided predators are diverted.

And yes, the primary such predator is the raccoon, an animal that expends inordinate energies trying to find and consume eggs of any kind, either avian or reptilian. Now that there is no longer any significant commercial trapping of raccoons, their populations have exploded, along with their egg depredations. Quail, pheasants, and other ground-nesting bird populations are severely restricted by raccoon nest and egg predation. Raccoons, like urban (and in many areas, rural) deer, have no natural predators today and they have saturated the countryside. In Ohio and in most of the raccoon's range, the primary population control of the species is the motor vehicle, the primary killer of raccoons.

Don't get me wrong. Raccoons are wonderful, interesting, and native animals. But they are also extremely successful predators and scavengers. Red-tails have a lot to be concerned about regarding this species. Both of you were correct. Raccoons are far too big for a red-tail to easily kill. A raccoon that ascends the nest tree of a sitting red-tail is not likely to be much challenged. The sitting female, at the last instant, will abandon the nest, leaving the eggs or little eyasses to be eaten by the raccoon. In many cases, it will be a pair of raccoons on the prowl.

There was a case here in Ohio at a nearby bald eagle's nest where a raccoon was seen driving off a sitting eagle before consuming its eggs. It would be wise not to try to defend a nest against a marauding raccoon, for either an eagle or a red-tail. The best defense is to present no olfactory clues to scavenging raccoons, and that's accomplished by conveniently carrying the carcasses some distance from the nest, an instinctive trait all successful red-tails exhibit.

So, no, the residents at 927 Fifth Avenue, nor anyone at Trump Parc, need concern themselves with dropped or discarded carcasses beneath the nest. Any red-tail that did that in the past merely donated it's egg lipids and proteins to the ever-present raccoon, another case of Darwinian natural selection.

Christopher Lyons noted, however, that great-horned owl nests are often festooned with rotting carcasses. The ground beneath them is often littered with mangled and rotting food leavings. That's because the great-horned owl is a remarkable killer. Unlike the red-tail and the eagle (which don't see at night any better than we do), the great-horned owl will instantly, even lethally, attack anything it perceives to be a predation threat at the nest. It can kill a raccoon expertly, so it has no need to carry away food leavings. It just instantly sinks four 2-inch talons through the cranium of an approaching raccoon. Next to motor vehicles, great-horned owls are probably the second-most common killers of raccoons. Tigers of the air they've been called.

Those of us who band wild red-tails on the nest know that the adults will scream and dive at us, but seldom, if ever actually attack while we are at the nest. (Some California red-tails, however, do attack at the nest, so appropriate care must be rendered.) But when banding great-horned owlets, the bander better be wearing a thick leather jacket, a very thick neck scarf, and a helmet. An adult great-horned will try to knock the intruder from the tree, hitting the person with remarkable force. (We've discovered that if we paint two large eyes on the back of the helmet, the owl thinks it's being watched and the attacks are sometimes diverted.)

Once again, the NYC red-tails are operating with their wild, rural genes. To them, Central Park is only a nice big green area with everything a red-tailed hawk population needs. As in the wild, they don't want to be attracting any raccoons to their nest sites, so they keep a clean nest by carrying out the garbage each day.


John A. Blakeman

Baby News from Donna

Field Notes 7-5-05

Trump Parc Nest

Just to clarify, as the directions given at the Bench
to Eddie and Dolley were a touch confused. Here is
the scoop on the Trump Parc Nest and viewing area.
The nest itself is on the west wall of the Trump Parc
on 59th/Central Park South, the building with the big
gold crown on top, in the second row of corbels, the
second corbel from the right. Little Hill, where we
usually set up the scope is inside the Central Park
wall on a little hill just across from the Essex.
It's between the Sixth and Seventh Avenue entrances.
There is an easy grass path, Eddie had no problem,
that takes one around and up the hill so no scrambling
up the rocks is necessary. For the sprightly
scramblers= go for it, but I recommend not scrambling
down the rock face in the rain, it's very slick. Not
following my own advice this evening and attempting to
keep a bead on Jr. while taking the short cut down the
wet rock face, I ended up having my feet whoosh right
out from under me, landing me, smack, on my tailbone.
All seems in one piece, but standing has become much
more attractive.

Charlotte and Pale Male Jr.
Sunset 8:30 (WT),
Temp. Hi 83,
Humidity 89%,
Wind S 5 to 10MPH
Clouds and rain,
Prey Tally-pigeon, squirrel.

Irene has been checking her roof as some weeks ago it
was discovered that the hawks were eating, perhaps
stashing, and possibly despositing the "garbage" on
her roof. On finding the depository, and one of the
hawks having dinner, there were five carcasses found.
Then though Irene was diligently checking daily no
others appeared until today, a young pigeon. Hawks
have a tendency to cycle their "spots" and apparently
they are now back to Irene's roof.

Stella reports through Veronica that yesterday, Pale
Male cleaned out a Blue Jay's nest.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
6:20 No hawks visible on nest.
6:47 Eyass wing flips in and out of view. She stands,
other eyass stands and flaps vigorously.
6:49 Both eyasses hop and flap. (No, not near the
6:55 Heavy rain begins, Charlotte arrives, one eyass
not bothered by the rain as usual and as usual the
other burrows under Charlotte. Though the eyass is
getting so big, it's mostly just her head that is
under her mother.

The eyasses have TAILS, rather stubby and fluffy but
they are there. A few days ago the shafts were
apparent with a small fan shape, rather like a contour
brush, coming out the top. Now the feathers have
emerged enough to be mini tails.
6:58 Charlotte preens the top of the head she can
7:00 Charlotte leans over and preens the other eyasses
7:09 The rain loving eyass walks to the edge and looks
over, turns around, and slices over the edge.
7:13 Charlotte preens eyass under her.
7:34 Rain eyass beaks Charlotte's wing, she preens the
eyass's head.
7:35 Rain stops for the most part. Eyasses begin
picking at ? and eating.
7:40 Charlotte stands, looks at eyasses, leans into
8:05 Charlotte preens tail.
8:10 Charlotte on S side of nest, eyasses out of
sight, tucked in for the night.
8:28 Jr. stops by the nest and then off.
8:34 Junior seen to E over Park, does fly-over of the
Little Hill and then towards Columbus Circle where he
is often seen at this time.
8:43 Exit.
Today's Hawkwatchers-Eddie, Dolley, Veronica, Emma,
Molly, Peter, Charmain, Kelly, Irene, Donna.
Submitted-Donna Browne.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Stargazing Cricket

Photo by Lincoln Karim
July 4, 2005

It was about 9:30 on the 4th of July, and a small group of people with telescopes had gathered at the NE corner of the great lawn to watch the natural fireworks in the sky, that is the stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies. Meanwhile the commercial fireworks, courtesy of Macy's, were loudly booming somewhere east and south of us. Around 9:40, just as the smoke from the noisy fireworks [the celestial ones are blissfully silent] had almost obliterated the sparkling Central Park South skyline and we were beginning to get whiffs of it at our end of the lawn -- a good three miles from the fireworks barge at the East River, by my calculations -- Stella, one of the Hawkbench regulars, called out "Hey, who's this?"

Sitting on top of the black wire fence that encircles the Great Lawn and thus allows people to enter only at designated openings, was a small, beautiful insect. I can tell you it was a member of the order Orthoptera, but I'm not even sure if it was a grasshopper or cricket. Luckily Lincoln was with us. He had already packed up his large camera and tripod for the night but he quickly unpacked it. He took a bunch of pictures and this morning he e-mailed me the one above.

I was guessing that it was a Snowy Tree Cricket -- I'd seen one before in Central Park -- but when I got home that evening and checked it out in my various insect books I could see that it wasn't. The shape was wrong. Unfortunately the creature we had all admired didn't resemble any of the other crickets or grasshoppers in any of my insect books either.

So now I'll have to wait until I can show the picture to our entomologyl guru Nick Wagerik to identify. And he doesn't have an e-mail mailbox! He doesn't even have a computer. So it may be a while. Maybe one of my readers can help. Here's a clue: it had a distinct black spot at the tip of its abdomen..

Peaceful coexistence

Photo by Lincoiln Karim
July 3, 2005

A Baltimore Oriole and a Common Grackle cooling off at the Gill near the Azalea Pond.

Junior and Charlotte -- What's new?


Yesterday Lincoln reported that the nestlings' dark primary flight feathers are coming in. And he saw the first beginnings of the sort of jumping behavior that precedes a redtail baby's fledge. Donna's Field Notes, below, give more evidence of jumping behavior. A very exciting stage is about to begin

Field Notes 7-1-05
Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte
Temp. 80F,
Clouds and Rain,
Wind variable 5-10MPH,
Prey Tally-Pigeon.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
6:28 Charlotte nest center.
6:50 Charlotte on nest right, south, alert to sky.
6:52 Walks nest center w/pigeon, sets it down, works
beak, off nest and down, S side.
6:54 Eyass walks to center of nest, wings
outstretched. Many more brown feathers have appeared
in the last few days. She looks at buildings, sky,
6:59 Eyass Two stands, nest right, stretches wings,
preens. Both eyasses have very white circular patches
on the backs of their heads.
7:01 Eyass flaps wings with vigor.
7:09 Charlotte to nest, stands focuses on eyasses and
does the "I've been gone is everything as it should
be" check.
7:12 Charlotte looks straight up, looks at sky,
preens, turns looks straight up at sky, preens, this
sequence repeats six or seven times. (I soon begin to
hear thunder I'm assuming she was hearing during this
time frame with her better equipment.
7:15 S eyass stands in front of Charlotte and flaps.
Charlotte bends down and begins feeding her.
7:17 Light rain, feeding continues.
7:19 Thunder. Charlotte attempts to preen N eyass.
Eyass retreats to wall out of reach. S eyass comes
over for preening.
7:22 More feeding, Charlotte eats as well.
7:26 Charlotte moves twig from S to center, looks at
sky, eyass comes over close to her.
7:27 Rolling thunder. Eyass scrambles, makes a
concerted effort to get completely under Charlotte,
nearly toppling Mom over.
7:30 Charlotte snaps at large fly buzzing her.
7:31 Charlotte preens eyass under her, looks at sky,
suddenly her body jerks, and she makes a big beak snap
at eyass. Eyass seems to have poked her with beak or
talon. (Body jerk very similar to that of human
mother's reaction when bitten during breast feeding.)
7:32 Charlotte continues to "stare" at eyass under
7:34 Wind and rain increase.
7:36 Charlotte stares fixedly at me. Unbrella?
7:38 Charlotte keeps eye on eyass.
7:48 Exit.
Submitted-Donna Browne

Field Notes 7-2-05

Temp. Hi 83F,
Stiff breeze on nest at Trump Parc,
Prey Tally-Pigeon.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
Pale Male and Lola-Alice reports that just before 4:00
Pale Male was seen circling over Model Boat Pond area.
5:30 Lola sits Carlyle 3.

Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte
Trump Parc Nest
6:29 Both eyasses sitting far N side of nest next to
wall, panting. Their faces have changed markedly. They
no longer look the least bit cuddley. No parents on
6:34 Both watch pigeons on Little Hill.
6:34 Right eyass works beak, sun shining on them makes
their eyes look red.
6:37 Eyass near the wall, hangs head over edge.
6:40 Kentaurian arrives and asks if Jr. has arrived
yet with pigeon. Junior arrives with pigeon.
6:41 Charlotte arrives on nest.
6:42 Junior off the nest to S, then circles back and
does Pale Male Flyover of Little Hill. Charlotte takes
prey to S side of nest, prepares it, seems to be
ripping prey but not feeding.
6:55 Eyasses out of sight, eating prepared prey?
Charlotte preens. Charlotte center, watching unseen
7:01 Charlotte center, eats.
7:18 Charlotte up and off nest to W.
7:25 Eyass stands.
7:35 Jr. arrives and lands on E chimney of Hampshire
7:45 Jr. no longer in sight, but no one saw him leave
the chimney. I go E in attempt to spot him on
chimney. Unsuccessful.
7:55 On my return he has once again walked back into
view of Little Hill. Vigilant. No doubt at this point
that he can perch on HH chimney unseen from the
ground. Eyasses out of sight.
8:17 Both eyasses stand, Jr. still on HH chimney.
8:24 Jr. no longer in view of Little Hill.
8:27 One eyass does bona fide hopping and flapping
action. A harbinger of things to come.
8:33 Charlotte to nest, preens.
8:34 Charlotte off nest, W on 58th.
8:35 Jr. not visible on Chimney.
8:39 Jr. to nest from 58th.
8:40 Jr. off nest W on 58th.
8:45 Charlotte discovered S side of nest.
8:46 Charlotte settles in.
Hawkwatchers:Alice, Kentaurian, Irene, Donna, two
teachers from Louisiana, two Vermont college students,
four tourists-of which two were Italian, and a NYC
business man.
Submitted-Donna Browne.