Friday, March 10, 2006

Donna's minute-by-minute

Lola on nest - 3/6/06
Photo by Lincoln Karim

Pale Male and Lola, 3 Mar 2006
Sunset: 5:50PM (Farmers' Almanac)
Temperature: High 40s F
Wind: 5 to 10 MPH
Low Humidity
All times PM unless otherwise noted.

3:05 Before I even get to the Hawk Bench, Lola is visible standing center, staring down into the bowl of the nest. She sits tail to bench. Pale Male is not in sight of the bench though Elizabeth tells me he has just previously been perched on The Oreo antenna.

3:17 Pale Male lands on the north end of the nest.
Lola does not move. Pale Male lowers his head, beak to twigs. A little bow, that in the past has suggested he's there if she wants a break. She doesn't move.

3:18 Pale Male is off, flies north within the Fifth Ave. tree line.
3:19 Lola stands, scratches, preens belly, preens wing, fleas mid belly. It is suggested that she is pulling fluff for the nest. I see none in her beak.

3:22 Lola sits half down. That with her previous staring into the bowl of the nest are good signs that there are egg/eggs there but that the clutch is not yet complete.

Pale Male flies directly to north end of nest, flapping vigorously. Lola stands very alert. Pale Male's beak is working continually. He turns north, then west. People stop talking; the wind is right. I hear a faint cee, cee, cee,cee. (It's disorienting at first because the sound doesn't match the movement of his beak. Is it coming from somewhere else? No, I'm looking through the scope at his beak. Light travels faster than sound. It is him.) Pale Male hunches his shoulders, head slightly lowered, wings an inch or two separated from the body, all feathers standing at half erect. Stance of aggression. He is scary.

3:35 Pale Male and Lola are both focused on something directly in front of them. PM and L watch something go over their heads. I take my eye off the scope to see, as it's focused down too small. Whoa! There is another Red-tail standing on the edge of the roof of 927, just a few feet south of the nest. It has a heavy belly band, coloration close to Lola's. Tail coloration not visible. Pale Male is off the nest and standing in aggression mode on the edge of the roof, a few feet from the visitor. PM jumps at the visitor, it takes flight. Lola flies to the second from the top level, south terrace railing of Fisher. Pale Male flies after her, lands on her, they copulate. (???) Both stand on terrace railing facing Bench.

3:37 Both back to nest. Pale Male center, the feathers on the top of his head are standing totally on end. Lola on right. Both very alert. Pale Male moves left. Vigilant.

3:38 Blue Jay alarm calls heard from the southwest. PM and L very alert and focused.

3:39 Pale Male up, flies north, flapping, above Fifth Ave. tree line.

3:48 Lola low in nest, almost invisible, facing north, eye seen through twigs.

3:50 Pale Male to Oreo antenna.

4:00 Lola stands.

4:08 Remember the building north of Rusty Top and south of The Villa that I said wasn't named because the hawks never use it? Well...Pale Male is using it. There is a rectangular structure on the west side of the building, with a slightly raised long narrow brown top, that's use, no one seems to be able to figure out. It looks like a giant balance beam. The kind of thing used in female gymnastics. So it's now called The Balance Beam and Pale Male is perched on it. Cameras start clicking madly. It's an archetypal Pale Male pose. He's erect, feathers sleek, sun gleaming off his fair breast. He's looking down, hunting.

4:12 Lola looks down into bowl of nest, then sits half down.

4:31 Lola perks up a couple inches, vigilant. Pale Male is gone from Balance Beam.

4:33 A crow lands on Oreo antenna.

4:37 Pale Male is on the previously mentioned terrace plucking dark feathers off prey.

4:38 Pale Male to nest, lands, prey in feet, backs off to right.

4:39 Both hawks backs are turned to Bench. Both have the seasonal dark spot on the back of their heads discussed last year. Lola stands over prey looking at it. She lifts it, takes it further left. Dark feathers possibly Spread color morph Rock Dove/pigeon. She stares at it. PM stares at her, head slightly lowered.

4:41 Lola is up flies to Fisher terrace Pale Male just vacated, without prey, anterior to bench. She isn't hungry? She doesn't like the prey preparation? She wants to "do it' again?

4:42 Pale Male moves center picks up prey in beak. It is a Spread color morph Rock Dove.** He moves it north, lays it down further left. Looks down at it. Takes a tiny bite.

4:44 Pale Male is taking bigger bites, eating larger chunks. Lola still on Fisher railing.

4:47 Pale Male moves right, leaves prey left.

4:52 Lola to nest, lands left side. Stands on prey with gripped talons.

4:53 Lola eats wad of large feathers, then continues eating meat.

4:55 Lola plucks off flurry of small feathers, continues eating. Pale Male still nest right. Alert, scanning area.

5:06 Pale Male up and toward Ramble. Lola eats.

5:15 Time to head for Screech Fly Out-Exit.


Yes, yes, yes, I'm well aware that the American
Ornithological Union made a decision to conform to the
British Ornithological Union's checklist in regards to
the common name of Columba livia. Changing it from
Rock Dove to Rock Pigeon. I'm not out of date, I've
just dug in my heels.

Why is there a need for this conformity? I may be old
fashioned but I'm also well trained. A shared name
for all species no matter the national speech is the
reason for scientific names.

Have both countries deleted the use of genus and
species from their checklists?

In my opinion, decisions pressing for conformity and
dumbing-down when it comes to common names whatever the region or commonality of language is pedantic and a complete waste of time.

We already have a universal name for all discovered
species. We don't need to reinvent the wheel. Have a
question? Use the scientific name.

(Of course I don't mention what also rankles.
The change from a lovely elegant name to a clunky one.
Pigeons need all the help they can get.:)