Sunday, February 12, 2006

Continuing to the north, more hawk-watchers' nomenclature

From Donna:

Look north to the left of Shipshape [at the far right]. Before the eye reaches the next building on Fifth Avenue you see The Carlyle Hotel. It stands at 76th and Madison, a block east of Fifth.

Now look at The Carlyle's top, the gold pinnacle, then continue down to where the green roof meets the beige stone of the hotel. There, near that line of demarcation is a row of floodlights placed at intervals to illuminate the roof . These floodlights, whether for the view, their foot warming possibilities, or both, are among Pale Male and Lola's favorite perches. For hawk watching ease, they're numbered from the first light we can see from the Bench starting on the left, and continuing numerically to the right. Hence Carlyle 1, Carlyle 2 and so on.

Last season Pale Male and Lola celebrated Valentine's Day by copulating while perched on The Carlyle, a five star hotel.

To the left of The Carlyle is The Green Tile Building, named for its roofing material. On the south facing side of Green Tile, on the south end of the roof, there is a white building with a bit of railing between the chimneys that jut up. The area behind the railing and to the side of the white building, seen only from the south end of the Model Boat Pond, was a prime initial stash place for Pale Male's prey gifts to Lola during courtship. Though by far most hawk meals in Central Park are made of pigeon, Pale Male most often brought Lola her special favorites, rat and squirrel.

For another perch of significance, look at the the west facing windows of Green Tile, second row down, third window from the right. There is an air conditioner jutting out from that window. Both hawks use it, and Lola spent a good deal of time perched on that air conditioner during the days preceding egg laying. When a Red-tailed visitor appeared in their territory during those days, Pale Male would begin herding the intruder out of the territory. For some reason unknown to us, sometimes Lola would watch as Pale Male ushered the intruder away, and at other times, she would leap into flight and go after the visitor like a bullet. We've wondered if the first kind of visitor might have been immature hawks and the second roving females looking at Lola's guy. Then again the difference in behavior may have had nothing to do with the visiting Red-tail at all but rather with a difference in Lola's patience level on any given day.

After The Green Tile Building, going south, is The Octagon Building. Only very occasionally used for perching, we do see the birds circling above it very frequently. It's position or shape may tend to produce optimum wind currents for gaining altitude.

Okay so far, going north from 927, the nest building, are Woody, Shipshape, The Carlyle, Green Tile, and The Octagon. Next up will be Rusty Top.

Donna Browne