Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The City Hawklet vs.The Country Hawklet

A well-fed City Hawklet at the Cathedral of St John the Divine
Photo by Bruce Yolton

Click below for many more photos of the Cathedral Hawks

John Blakeman argues that our inner city hawklets will have poor survival skills when forced to face life in the boondocks. Margie Siegal of Oakland California brings up a good point in the following letter:

Far be it from me to second guess the experts, but I think they are wrong with regards to the survival of Pale Male’s offspring. These fledglings have excellent CITY survival skills; why should they migrate to the country, as Blakeman keeps insisting? There is plenty of territory from Baltimore to Portland where the kids would have an edge- an ability to catch pigeons and starlings and rats and deal with cars and people. I think that most have simply moved to suburbia, where they are unobtrusively hanging around bird feeders (which often attract rats to eat spilled seed) and shopping malls.

However, I concur with Blakeman et al with regards to the fecundity of the second generation. The problem is that suitable nesting sites are scarce in cities and towns. Check out New York: there are five male hawks (which I think are all Pale Male offspring) making a fine living in the inner city. Four of these hawks have found mates. However, aside from Pale Male, none have been able to consistently hatch eggs. Pale Male Jr. has only be able to fledge two in several years of trying, as has Pale Male III. The Divine pair has only been successful this season.

Margie Siegal