Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Redtails and Pigeons continued--meanwhile, still waiting at the Fifth Ave nest

John Sturchio with photographer Cal Vornberger at Owl Bench --2/25/06 Photo: M.Winn

An extremely nice boy named John Sturchio came to see an Owl fly-out in Central Park about a year ago. Now his mother weighs in on the redtail/pigeon debate. Based on her account, I'd say there are many ways these opportunistic birds of prey manage to snag pigeons, not just the single method John Blakeman described a day before yesterday,

PS; Hi there, John Sturchio! Nice to know that you're going on with your birdwatching. Hope to run into you soon.

Here's the message:

Hi, Marie –

John Sturchio’s mom here! John is 9 now – he’s still bird watching, I’m happy to say.
Just read your posts about how red-tails hunt pigeons. On April 2 or 3, John and I were standing in the Locust Grove by the red squirrel’s tree, watching her, when suddenly there was a WHOOSH from behind us, and before I realized what was happening, a red-tailed hawk – not Pale Male – had used its talons to snatch up an unwary pigeon that was standing in the grass and was flying off with the catch to the Great Lawn. He (?) tried eating the dead pigeon on the grass but was so harassed by grackles he eventually took it up to a tree branch, where he spent at least 40 minutes eating it. I know because John would not leave until he had watched the whole thing. He caught a cold, but insisted that it was worth it!

Not trying to get into the fray, just a note about one hawk’s hunting technique. Presumably it was lurking in a tree nearby but I doubt it was really camouflaged, given how few leaves there are on the trees. Also, I would have to say that “speed and agility” were much in evidence – this hawk wasn’t lumbering.

I’m just glad it didn’t catch the squirrel!

All best,