The Trump-Parc kids --July 18, 2005
Photo by Bruce Yolton -- www.yolton.com/hawks
Mai Stewart 's question, and John Blakeman's response:
I've been wondering, as I look at the pictures on the website of PM, whether there's any possibilitiy that Charlotte + PMJr.'s kids will return to CP? Or, if they've joined the migration, as seems likely, since no one's seen them for quite awhile, will they find another northern territory?? (Of course that's always a possibility.) And if they were to return, when would it be?? I've gotten so used to seeing PM + Lola around that I'm not sure when the RTs head north again.
The migration for immatures is in late March or April, extending into May. None of last year's eyasses will be seen in New York before late March or beyond (if at all).
The offspring that left CP in September or October '05 will not be old enough to breed until the breeding season of '07. The birds will spend '06 wandering around as immatures, generally in the same area of their nativity. But that could be anywhere in the New Jersey, Lower Hudson River area. The birds -- if they survive the winter (many don't) -- will spend a year (2006) learning to hunt and survive. They may actually be seen in Central Park as immatures just passing through or sojourning there.
But there are so many adults in CP that the new kids coming home are very likely to be quickly driven out. That can happen in a day or an hour, with virtually no notice by humans. The immatures have no real impulse to stay around the old nest area. They can be easily driven off by the adults.
The offspring wouldn't be back to take up mate selection (real "mating") and breeding until the spring of 2007, at the earliest. Because there are already so many rising unmated red-tails, we think that many new breeders are starting the process later in their third or fourth years. Finding a mate is easy. Finding an empty territory is very, very difficult.
Of course, two years ago I would have confidently predicted that Central Park couldn't possibly support more than a single breeding pair of red-tails. Two pairs are there now, and perhaps a third might show up next winter. There appears to be an ample abundance of food. Now, it seems to be only a matter of how close the pairs will allow adjacent breeding neighbors. Housing density for most vertebrate species (and some invertebrates, too) on Manhattan are packed. Perhaps the red-tails will take up this pattern of close-together living, becoming even-more true New Yorkers.
Some immature red-tails may be seen in the park this winter or early spring. But because there is no banding of the eyasses, there will be no confident way to know the birds' origins.
Still too early for any new breeding behaviors. But things will begin in just a month or two.
John A. Blakeman