Monday, May 28, 2007

John Blakeman says Astoria Park redtail's a beginner

The Astoria Park mom delivering meal to chicks - photo by BRUCE YOLTON
other great shots at

For what it's worth, over on Bruce Yolton's site I just noted the yellow eyes of the adult red-tail feeding the eyasses there.

This indicates that the bird is a first-year adult. This is almost surely its first nesting attempt (unless, like Pale Male originally did, it tried to breed in immature plumage last year).

Immature red-tails, in their first year of life, have yellow eyes and brown tails. In their second years, they have red tails and yet-yellow eyes, as with this bird. In the third year, the eyes turn mostly brown, but with a remaining hint of yellow or light brown. In fourth and subsequent years, the eyes are uniformly dark brown.
Red-tail eye color clearly reveals exact age up to and including the third year, although those inexperienced with the species may miss the hint of yellow or light brown in the third year.

The Astoria Park red-tail is obviously new to this urban nesting endeavor---and quite successful, too.

John Blakeman

Note from Marie:
In labeling the photo at the top I assumed it's the Mom, since only the females feed or supervise feedings. Males merely provide the food. Hope I'm right about this. I'm sure I'll hear from John Blakeman if I'm mistaken