Saturday, July 16, 2005

Forewarned is forearmed???

A note of concern by John Blakeman and a PS from Marie


I'm concerned about the lateness of the fledging of the Trump Parc eyasses. Most of the easy prey pickings are gone now that we are in high, hot summer. Not many little robin babies and other vulnerables are so easily offering themselves as fledgling fare. Our new hawks are going to have to work very, very hard to learn successful hunting techniques.

Everyone should be prepared for the difficult times that the eyasses will encounter when they take wing. The parents will continue to provide food for a time, but things really begin to change in August, when the birds perceive the first reduction in day length. Parents will almost instantly stop feeding the young and leave them to themselves -- which at that time of year is not propitious.

Central Park has a lot of red-tailed hawk fare; lots of pigeons, squirrels, and rats. But none of these are captured by the inexperienced with ease. Just as a kid on the street or playground has to learn how to throw and catch a baseball, the young hawks will have to learn how to capture Central Park's offerings. Instinct prompts, only repetition succeeds. When hunting lessons are learned in June, there is an abundance of other young animals that are naive and vulnerable to the hunting of hawks over head.

By August, however, the weak, young, and dumb prey are sparse. The chances of the Trump Parc eyasses of reaching adulthood are reduced. Only one or two in five make it anyway. These birds have the calendar stacked against them, so let us all be prepared for some difficulties when they are on the wing, on their own in August. All could turn out well, but living in nature is always a crap game, and the odds are stacked against this pair. Let's see how, or if, they rise to the challenges of late summer hunting lessons.


John A. Blakeman

PS. from Marie:

In Red-tails in Love I describe the hawkwatchers' anxiety back in 1995 when the first Fifth Avenue redtail babies were about to fledge. We had our whistles ready, to stop traffic on Fifth Ave in case a baby fell in front of traffic. We had a blanket to wrap the fallen creature, etc. etc. As you know, everything went swimmingly, that year and every other year thereafter until the nest-removal crisis of December 2004.

I would say that this year's Trump Parc hawkwatchers are no calmer than we were then. I guess John Blakeman's letter above,
and the anxious e-mails and calls I'm getting asking for names of rehabilitators who might come to the rescue of a fallen Trump-Parc baby all fall into the category FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED. But I call it DOOM PROGNOSTICATING. Why live under such a gloomy cloud? Life is too short.

Anyhow, here is my response to John Blakeman's warning above, addressed to the Hawkwatcher Class of 2005:

Dear friends,

From my own experience watching Central Park fledglings since 1995 I'd say baby robins or other migratory birds are generally not a large part of the fledglings' diet during their early hunting months. Pigeons -- which do not stop reproducing in July-- and rats [ditto] seem to be their mainstay. Aren't baby pigeons and baby rats just as dumb and catchable as other babies? So wouldn't the prognosis for the late-fledging Trump kids be better than John Blakeman suggests?

Of course I'm known to be a cockeyed optimist, but on a number of occasions our Ohio hawk expert has found things to be a bit different in Central Park.

So don't despair, faithful hawkwathers. Junior has Pale Male's genes [next week I'll tell you why I've come to believe this ] -- and the two nestlings at the Trump Parc nest have them as well. These are superior birds. So look out, unborn rats and unhatched pigeons of next August. The fledglings are coming, the fledglings are coming.

Blakeman: Fledging dates are way off!

Yesterday I posted some statistics about Red-tailed Hawks' fledging dates, and applied them to the Trump Parc nestlings. According to those statistics redtails take their first flight from the nest [that is, they fledge] 42 to 46 days after hatching. That set of numbers is what is sometimes called the window of opportunity. All scientific accounts of bird species gives you such a window for each species. It gives a range--the earliest possible number of days from hatching and the latest, for fledging. American Robins, for instance, fledge 14-16 days after hatching; Bluejays, 17-21 days; Red-bellie3d woodpeckersd 24-27 days; Ospreys 48 - 59 days.

I never questioned the window 42-46 days for Red-tailed hawks because during all the years I observed the nest at 927 Fifth Ave I could never tell for sure [nor could anyone else] when exactly incubation began or when the chicks hatched.
We always made educated guesses, based on the hawks' behavior. When a baby fledged later than 46 days after we had decided a baby had hatched, well, we figured, our educated guess was wrong.

Even when I sent out the "Window of Opportunity" posting yesterday, something seemed wrong about it. For instance, the babies of past years at the Fifth Ave. nest always began to jump up and down vigorously and flap mightily in the days before fledging. The Trump Parc babies have just barely begun to stand on their two legs in an uypright position. Until a few days ago they were still sort of crawling around on the nest. Their flapping is brief and weak.

Still, my strong belief in scientists' greater knowledge [excuse: my father was one], made me abandon common sense and post the item predicting that the Trump Parc babies could fledge any minute.

Below are two letters I just received from John Blakeman. I don't always agree with him, [as you'll see in tomorrow's posting]. But I agree entirely with what he writes in the two letters that follow:

First letter:


I don't mean to discount the published fledging periods you posted, but for this pair, in this year, at this location, they are way off.

There is no way either of these birds is going to successfully loft into the Manhattan air anytime real soon. The last posted date is next Tuesday, the 19th. I've watched both captive and wild red-tail eyasses mature on nests, and these birds are at least 10 days from fledging, probably closer to two weeks or more.

The flight feathers of the wings and tail are still "in the blood," partially grown with active vascularization within. They are very heavy right now, compared to the very meager thoracic flight muscles. That's why the birds will flap just a few times at this stage, then stop or just plop down exhausted. The wing feathers are heavy, filled with blood. When dry and mature, they are -- light as a feather. But not yet.

Neither the birds' muscles nor feathers are within a few days of the maturity required for actual flight. The coverts, or smaller feathers covering the wings and body are just beginning to emerge. Neither bird presents any workable aerodynamic profile.

So let's not get our hopes up prematurely. Like an infant taking his first toddle, fledging for observing humans is always an exciting moment. But it's fraught with all sorts of threats and challenges, especially in the city.

As eager as everyone is for fledging, I prefer to see the birds hang around on the nest for as long as possible. If either bird has done her reading and wishes to diligently follow the published dates, I hope she lands safely. The more likely outcome will be for the birds to follow instinct, not older, invalid-for-NYC data.

Let's keep our fingers crossed on all of this. Red-tails are large, strong birds that frequently rise to any challenge. Let's see if these two birds can. So far, all is well.


John A. Blakeman

Second letter:


I'm not familiar with the work giving the fledging dates you posted. In fact, I never really quantified the days in the nest for the birds I studied, primarily because I couldn't determine exact days of hatching. Either I wasn't in the field watching the nest on the hatching dates, or, in the manner of the 927 nest, it was difficult to see what was actually happening way up there. My captively-reared eyass didn't fledge in a conventional manner at all, being raised in a cage.

At any rate, I'm wondering if the posted dates are for authentic fledging, the taking of a first flight, or do they refer to the eyasses walking out of the nest onto the supporting limbs of the tree. Falconers are familiar with this process, and for centuries eyass goshawks have been taken for falconry just when the young birds start to climb out onto limbs. The birds are then affectionately referred to as "branchers," having stepped out onto adjacent branches, but not fully feathered or able to fly.

The Trump Parc eyasses are just getting to the "brancher" age. If they were in a conventional tree nest, they would very likely begin to edge themselves delicately out on to larger limbs or branches, thereby "leaving" the nest about now. They would hop right back into the nest at night, but they become ever more venturesome in their pedestrian excursions as their legs get stronger.

Perhaps this is what the author meant. If so, the dates are correct -- except of course in our urban cliff-side nest lacking any branches. But I'm sure the birds have been seen to be wandering about on the ledge. Bipedal mobility precedes winged mobility. I think we have a pair of "branchers" about now.

John A. Blakeman

PS from Marie: The reference book I cited was The Birds of North America, an authoritative text first published species by species and recently completed for all species of North American Birds. It is published by the Academy of Natural Sciences, the American Ornithologists' Union and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Window of Opportunity

**********Photo by Lincoln Karim**********

I posted this before, but I think I'll post it again, since the "window of opportunity" has opened:

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 for Red-tailed Hawks.

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.

Mystery [moth] solved

photo by Lincoln Karim
at the Moth Tree

Last night [7/14/05] at the Moth Tree, the Mystery Moth arrived again. It settled on the Moth Tree at a much lower spot this time, and raptly fed on a large patch of oozing sap. It didn't look exactly the same --not so dark, nor did it have the same blue-green sheen to it. But when I shone my extra-bright new flashlight on the moth I could make out patches of that same extraordinary color you can see in Lee Stinchcomb's sketch posted yesterday.

A few minutes later help arrived in the person of Lincoln Karim. He had his camera with him and photographed the Mystery Moth as I shone the flashlight beam on the creature. He e-mailed me the picture very early this morning [the guy must have insomnia] and some of that color was still visible. I don't know if my fellow non-maternal Mothers agree with me, but I think the moth Lincoln photographed was, indeed, the same one that mystified us the day before. I think the amazing new flashlight somehow brought out latent colors not visible previously, even to the author of the Field Guide to Moths.

And what did the Mystery Moth turn out to be? An ILIA UNDERWING. A very variable, very easily misidentified, and very, very common moth. And to think that I and at least one of my mothing companions spent much of the day yesterday searching through pictures of moths on the internet, hundreds and hundreds of pictures, trying to find a moth with a blue-green sheen.

Ah well...

Another Mother's Day and Night

Ilia Underwing [Catocala ilia]
Photo by Lee Stinchcombe

On Wednesday [7/13/05] the Moth tree was a hotbed of lepidopteran activity. When the non-maternal Mothers arrived a little after sunset, large moths, mostly the colorful Underwings, were already arriving at the numerous spots of dark, oozing sap. This is what attracts them, and as far as I know it is the only such tree in the park. [I've looked.] Near Cleopatra's Needle a bit north of Turtle Pond there is another old Oak, possibly another English Oak, that does on occasion release some insect-attracting sap in small areas near the base of the tree. But nothing remotely like the Moth Tree.

Thanks to an amazingly powerful little flashlight I bought on Wednesday afternoon, [It's called a Surefire and uses lithium batteries rather than flashlight batteries] we were able to see clearly to the very top of the tree. At various places higher than we've ever seen before we could see more moths dining on sap, arriving, departing, imbibing.

Most of the moths were of one species, the Ilia Underwing. There was one much smaller Underwing that flashed bright red when it opened its forewings. It was too high to photograph and so we could only make an educated guess that it was a Girlfriend Underwing. That is our method of identifying these days: using a macro lens we take a digital photo of the moth. Then we can peacefully compare the photo with the pictures in the Field Guide to Moths.

The Field Guide to Moths, by the way, is the major impediment to Mothing as a popular hobby. There is only one Field Guide, a part of the Peterson series. It isn't very easy to use because its illustrations are all images of mounted dead moths that frequently don't resemble living moths as they appear on a tree or a sheet. And finally, this inadequate, unsatisfactory book is OUT OF PRINT. We used to be able to buy old copies of the Field Guide to Moths at a reasonable price on used books sites on the Internet. Then the book dealers must have discovered that the book is out of print. Enter the Law of Supply and Demand. Now the prices are always in three figures. For a crummy old paperback!

The photo above was taken by Lee Stinchcombe. She couldn't get a photo of our single Mystery Moth of the evening because it was too high to photograph. So she drew a sketch of it. Help! Anybody know this moth? I've been searching all day on various Moth sites online and haven't found it.

Good news [at least for me] from Vintage Books

After I sent my umpteenth letter to the powers-that-be at Vintage Books, telling them that people were still having trouble buying the new edition of Red-tails in Love, I received the following hopeful response:

... we only have copies of the new edition in stock now - the rest were taken out of circulation - so anyone who orders from us now gets only new copies.
The GOOD news: As of last week, Random House is now selling direct on the web, so anyone who goes to can order the book directly from us and be sure of getting the new edition. That's the best thing to tell people right now.

PS from Marie: At the Random House website, in the Search box at the upper right, either put in author's name, or be sure you hyphenate Red-Tails.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A chance to watch an eagle fly

Just after I posted the first essay by Blakeman on hawk aerodynamics I received the following letter. I clicked on the link and can tell you it's pretty amazing. But you probably need a high speed connection to get it.

Hi Marie -

After reading the latest [7/13/05] on your Web site regarding how wings work in flight, I thought you and others might enjoy watching "Tilly," a golden eagle, fly.

Miniature cameras attached to her show exactly how she uses her body when flying.

Here's the Animal Planet link to the videos.

Mary Jane Biedenbach


Donna's Field Notes for Sunday


photo by Lincoln Karim
July 9, 2005

Field Notes 7-10-05
Trump Parc Nest

Sunset 8:30PM (WT)
Temp. 91F,
High humidity,
Wind calm,
UV- very high.
Prey Tally-pigeon, rodent.

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
Earlier-Irene reports a good deal of flapping and
hopping by the eyasses at 11:30 AM today. Charmain
reports the garbage (pigeon remains) was removed from
the nest in the afternoon.
6:09 Charlotte perched east chimney, Hampshire House.
No eyasses in sight.
6:13 Eyass head appears near point of corbel, panting
6:15 Eyass stands center.
6:25 Airplane flies over nest, eyass looks straight up
and cocks head.
6:29 Moves to left side by wall, pants.
6:31 A few flaps.
6:36 Both up.
6:37 Eyass goes to wall. Junior to E over Essex sign.
6:39 One eyass down.
6:41 Other eyass stares at Little Hill.
6:46 Eyass pounces on something in nest, head up with
pigeon leg legbone, foot sticks out of beak.
6:47 Charlotte to E after Junior.
6:48 Eyasses have a tug of war with old pigeon
Sam's notes-
6:49 One adult hawk to W, other still E.
6:51 One chick completely visible, one completely
hidden. (She's panting heavily.)
6:52 Chick looks up as plane passes.
7:01 Junior flies to 58th St.
7:02 Charlotte to nest. Food?
7:05 Eyass looks over edge of nest.
7:06 Eyass snaps at buzzing fly.
7:07 Flapping.
7:10 Stretching and flapping.
7:17 One eyass hangs head over edge.
End of Sam's notes.
Observer at Columbus circle sees Jr. hunting pigeons
which had been attracted by street feeder to bread in
58th st.
7:26 Eyass triangulates to sky.
7:31 Charlotte on E eave Hampshire House.
7:34 No hawks visible on nest.
7:39 Eyass stands watches Little Hill pigeons and
sparrows, preens chest, holds wings slightly away from
7:41 Turns, slices off edge.
7:42 Eyass down.
8:00 Head up.
8:03 Both heads up.
8:07 Eyass stands N edge of nest.
8:10 Preens.
8:36 Charlotte to nest from East behind Trump Parc,
lands N end of nest, eyasses close SW. Eyass creeps
toward Charlotte...small rodent tail visible, Eyasses
look down at rodent (?), then at Charlotte, Charlotte
stares at eyasses, preens head of eyass that has crept
up. 8:39 Eyasses slightly in front and on each side of
Charlotte, stare down at nest, heads track something
(rodent?) moving in nest.
8:45 Charlotte off nest to 58th. One eyass right, out
of sight, left eyass "tracks" ?, nictitating membrane
slightly visible.
8:49 Trump Parc crown lights are on, left eyass
stands, right eyass sits. Getting very dark.
8:50 Charlotte returns, lands on nest, goes center,
prepares prey?, Eyass left stands, Eyass right, center
with head down, back turned.
Today's Hawkwatchers:Sam, Veronica, Peter, Emma,
Molly, Kelly, Stella, Portia, Elizabeth, John, two
college students, Jackie, Irene, 67 Rock Doves, 22
regular House Sparrows, including Greyline, and 1
partially albinistic male.
Submitted-Donna Browne

More on Hawk Aerodynamics: Blakeman

In yesterday's query to John Blakeman Anne mentioned an aeronautical term unknown to me: canard. Below, the Ohio biologist gives some informatioin about that term. Then he offers more thoughts about hawk flight. He writes:

From a Google dictionary:
canard \kuh-NAHRD\, noun:
1. An unfounded, false, or fabricated report or story.
2. A horizontal control and stabilizing surface mounted forward of the main wing of an aircraft.
3. An aircraft whose horizontal stabilizer is mounted forward of the main wing.
Because red-tails tend to move the outer feathers of their wings forward during soaring, the outer primaries act very much like canard wings.
The alulas, the smaller projecting feathers at the "wrist" also act as canard wings when the bird is landing, smoothing the flow of air over the wing at low speed, when it would otherwise break up and create drag and lose lift. Very complicated aereodynamics, so I will have to be careful in what and how I state things. I'll defer to any aeronautical engineer who weighs in on the subject. But the key matter is that the hawk is in continuous control and minute modification of its feather and wing attitudes. If we had a stiff, mounted red-tail in perfect soaring postion, even with perfect weight distribution, we couldn't toss the specimen off a tall building and expect it to glide with stability to a distant landing. The bird model would go immediately into a spiraling, uncontrolled crash. Not much different from the balance refinements of a ballarina. Looks easy and perfect. It's hard and

John A. Blakeman

One last note, sure to offend some, as it contradicts some sensible things we all learned back in science class. Most general science and physics books, at least older ones, have a cross-section diagram of the classic airfoil. The text states that as an airplane, or in our case, a red-tailed hawk, cuts horizontally through the air, the airstream passes cleanly and quickly along the flat underwing surface. But the air split off and sent over the arched top of the wing must shoot along faster to pass completely over this longer surface. Fluids passing fast over long surfaces reduce their pressure on those surfaces, so the pressure on the flat bottom of the wing is greater than in the faster air above. The wing is therefore thrust up, and the hawk or airplane stays in the sky.
Not really so, however. If airfoils really worked this way, how could an airplane (or hawk) ever fly upside down? Flight for both hawks and airplanes is accomplished primarily by a favorable angle of attack against the oncoming air. Air may be thin, but it's still a bit sticky and cohesive, just as water is. Tilt the wing into the moving air and the lower edge simply bounces off the viscous air, quite in the manner of skipping a stone across the pond.

So when you see the aesthetic airfoil configuration of a red-tailed hawk's wing, forget what your eighth-grade science teacher tried to teach you. The hawk's airfoil wing is shaped that way to accommodate bones, muscles, and feathers, not to cause air to shoot faster over the top of the wing.

Nonetheless, the dynamic shaping of a red-tail's wings when soaring is one of the most beautiful aspects in all of nature. I am privileged to see all of this as my falconry red-tail, Savanna II, flies in my close presence. I get to feel the shwoosh of her air as she takes off from my fist. When landing, I see her extended allulas and primaries and feel the final downthrust of wind as she artfully collapses on my gloved fist. I've experienced this many thousands of times, but it's always marvelous.

It's one thing to ponder the wings of some early Renaissance Italian painter's angel in a great museum, or to head off to the museum's sculptures of antiquity and find a marble eagle. But none of these match the provided high art of red-tails in life – now even in the heart of Manhattan. Give thanks, all. Our birds are special.


John A. Blakeman

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The adorables

The word most people utter when they see this picture is "adorable". Try it out and see. By the way, that soft furry thing they're sitting on is Mom.

Photo by Cal Vornberger
The Ramble
June 5, 2005

Aerodynamics--Question and answer from John Blakeman

Anne, a reader of this website, saw a picture of Charlotte on Lincoln's website and hoped that John Blakeman would comment on it. I forwarded her query, and he sent a long response. Below is the first half. I'll post the remainder tomorrow.

Dear Marie,
There is presently on Lincoln's site an excellent photograph of
Charlotte flying (dated 6.11.05). [It] is great because you can see the curvature of her wing tops, the leading edge, & it makes the physics of 'lift' so clear. Everyone is surely focused on those eyasses and their amazing development but could you ask John Blakeman (at some point when he has a moment) to address the specifics of her wings and flight? I'm particularly interested in the wing tips with separated bending feathers. I've read that they are anti-stall at low speeds (like a canard?) but I don't understand how this works.
Thanks much,

Anne, and everyone,
Some comments on the red-tail’s wings and flight feathers.
The very first thing to understand about a soaring red-tail is that its wings are not locked or set into position, although they appear to be. When soaring, the bird appears to be flying with great ease. That it is, as it isn't flexing its strong thoracic flight muscles, consuming energy. But it's wings and feathers aren't locked into position, either. The bird is presumed to have pressure- and position-sensing nerves at the base of all of the large flight feathers, continuously sending flight information to the brain. If a gust of wind strikes the bird's extended left wing, the brain (or spinal cord) instantly responds with signals to feather-position muscles, telling them to properly reposition.
If possible, with binoculars or a spotting scope, try to close in on a slowly soaring red-tail. You will note thousands of tiny, rippling wing feather readjustments. For a red-tail (and other raptors, too), staying in the air requires continuous, microscopic tweaking of feather positions, accomplished by hundreds of small muscles attached to the flight feathers.
We've all folded a sheet of paper into a glider and given it a successful toss. But if we were to make any sort of model red-tail and give it a toss, it would spiral to a quick crash. Flying for a red-tail is a markedly active endeavor. Whether just soaring with set wings (but not set feathers), or alternately in muscular flapping flight, the bird is actively adjusting feather positions and attitudes (angles of attack).
Right now, as we watch the two Trump Parc eyasses begin to extend and pump their wings, keep all of this in mind. Of course, the primary purpose of these exercises is to strengthen the large flight muscles connecting the wings with the breastbone. But the birds are also beginning to develop and refine their feather control nerve reflexes. When an eyass jumps into the air for the first time, it has to have some literal feeling of where its feathers are and its ability to effectively readjust them. When you see the clumsiness of the eyass's first flights, laugh if you will (I do). But understand that the bird is still learning new nerve reflexes. You excited your parents when, for the first time, you stood up and staggered off for a few erect steps. Just as humans must minutely adjust leg and torso muscles merely to stand, red-tails must do the same to wing and tail muscles merely to soar.
About the long, end-of-the-wing primary feathers. Yes, these finger-like, projecting feathers are spread apart when the hawk soars. In a dive or in rapid flight, they are pulled together to form an extended single wing surface. In the spread, open position, each primary feather acts individually like the long wings of an albatross. The open-fingered primaries extend the effective lengths of the wings, yielding great lift. But because a soaring bird moves slowly through the air, the outer wing surface would stall out if the air stream had to pass over the entire outer wing surface. Instead, it can pass slowly and individually over each feather finger without stalling. It's just good, adaptive aerodynamics.
The extended primaries also assist when the hawk is landing. As it slows to take a perch, the bird has virtually no forward air speed, and therefore very little lift. Without the extended, high-lift outer wing feathers, these big birds would tend to crash when landing.
One other set of feathers to note – but usually only for an instant when landing or taking off – are the alulas (“AL-u-lahs,” singular “AL-u-la”), the small, short feathers that lay over the “wrist” of the wing, where a thumb would attach if birds had one. In normal flight, either flapping or soaring, the alulas are held flat on the top of the wing. But when great lift is required under stall conditions, usually when landing and taking off, the alulas are thrust up to smoothly direct air back over the top of the slowly moving wing.
John A. Blakeman

[more Blakeman on aerodynamics tomorrow]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Creature from Outer Space?

No, it's a moth [in the family Catocala] called the Ilia Underwing.

Here's what you see when it spreads open its forewings

Two more Ilias. There were many more of them at the oak last night, attracted to several spots where sap oozes from the bark. One other Underwing moth was identified: the Little Underwing. Also seen, a Common Idia, a small triangle-shaped moth.

All photos of moths by LINCOLN KARIM
June 11, 2005

Photos taken at the English Oak near Pilgrim Hill, around 73rd Street and the East Drive, at a meeting of The Central Park [non-maternal] Mothers. Present: Lee, Noreen, Jimmy, Lincoln, Marie, Raymond [briefly]. The night before, Nick Wagerik saw 10 Ilia Underwings, 2 Girlfriend Underwings, one Ultronia Underwing [all Catocalas] and a spectacular moth called The Herald at the same English Oak. Small wonder that the tree is commonly referred to as the Moth Tree.

Central Park wildlife emergency info

A while ago I posted a report about the rescue of a Baltimore Oriole nestling caught in fishing line  and unable to leave his nest. I wrote Regina Alvarez, the park's Woodlands Manager, who organized the rescue and asked how others can get in touch with her in case of another emergency. Here is her reply:

Regina Alvarez wrote:

My office number is 212 988 9026.  E-mail is  I check my email fairly regularly.

Also, if people are unable to reach me for some reason, they can call 311 and ask to page the "Central Park Group"; all of our managers and supervisors will get the page and whoever is in the park can respond right away. People should specify what the problem is in the page. This is the best for the weekends and holidays, when I am not always around. I hope this is helpful.

Thank you, Marie, for facilitating all of this.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ducklings vs. Dragonflies: Fabulous photos

How do the Mallard ducklings that appear every summer at the model-boat pond survive? What do they eat? A series of photos by the great nature photographer CAL VORNBERGER provide part of the answer.

Mallard duckling eyes Blue Dasher dragonfly

Mallard duckling eyeing Eastern Amberwing dragonfly.

Mallard duckling about to capture a Blue Dasher dragonfly.

All photos taken on July 9, 2005 by CAL VORNBERGER

Trump Parc Field Report - a big crowd at the Little Hill

Photo by Lincoln Karim
taken on July 9, 2005

Field Notes 7-9-05
Trump Parc Nest- Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte

Temp. 80F,
Partly cloudy, clouds, rain,
Wind variable 5-15MPH,
Humidity 55-100%,

All times PM unless otherwise noted.
4:48 Charlotte flies into park.
5:06 Eyass head visible paniting, N side of nest by
5:20 S eyass lays head over right edge of nest.
5:26 No hawks visible.
5:30 Eyass stands, gold on chest much more apparent.
5:40 She preens.
5:55 Standing eyass walks to back of nest and down.
5:59 Other eyass stands, triangulates watching pigeons
on Little Hill, stands right of center, pants.
6:08 No hawks visible.
6:12 Eyass right, head up.
6:27 Eyass left head at wall, eyass right, standing on
edge of nest, alert.
6:32 Both down.
6:43 Charlotte from W, lands on the base of the E
Hampshire House Chimney.
6:46 Charlotte to E in Essex sign.
6:48 Charlotte to behind chimney.
6:57 Both eyasses stand on N side of nest, Elizabeth
suggests they do this to make room for parental
7:05 Eyass plapping center front of nest.
7:06 RT to E over trees in C. Park.
7:11 Jr to nest. Prey not seen.
7:12 Jr. off.
7:15 Prey was brought as eyasses are eating center.
7:16 Jr. lands on E in Essex sign. tip of tail
visible, does something few steps E on sign then few
steps E then eats.
7:20 Charlotte lands slightly E of Jr on sign. Jr
faces S , Charlotte faces N.
7:23 Charlotte looks to be eating (stashed food?) on
7:25 Head up and down, Charlotte definitely eating.
7:26 Jr. no longer visible. (?)
7:30 Gull flies from S to N into Park.
7:31 Charlotte still eating.
7:37 Charlotte preens.
7:39 Charlotte up, past front of Hampshire House, then
7:42 Jr. to Essex sign in Charlotte's old spot, eats
leftovers? Smoke emission over Jr. from Essex House.
7:50 Jr. to nest, stands nest N alert, then stares at
7:51 Jr off nest and into C. Park to N and W.
7:56 Charlotte to nest from Hampshire House.
8:00 Eyass stands slices off nest.
8:03 Jr. from behind HH, to behind Essex sign.
8:04 Charlotte and eyasses stand, all preen.
8:12 Eyass does a bit of flapping then stops.
8:16 Eyass flaps striking Charlotte in the chest with
her wing. Both eyasses to left, N side of nest.
(The twigs that are visible on the rim of the nest
have changed position completely in the last three
days. Charlotte has been seen doing rearrangements.)
8:22 Charlotte scans territory.
8:30 All down, possibly for the night.
8:38 Exit.
Today's Hawkwatchers-John, Irene, Julia, two Alices,
Peter, Molly, Emma, Noreen, Michael, Kelly, Elizabeth,
Donna, Dolley, Eddie, a new to NYC birder, four
families of tourists, and a little league team.
Submitted-Donna Browne