Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blakeman on the new Riverside nest

Riverside Park redtail in new nest -- May 21, 2008
Photo by Leslie Day

John Blakeman, the Ohio redtail expert, sends in an opinion about the new Riverside nest:


I'm extremely pleased to see the new Riverside nest in the plane tree crotch.
This reveals several very positive conditions -- ones that I believe override the legitimate concerns regarding the rat poison.

First, the birds have learned their lesson. The first nest site, way out on the thin limbs, was a failure. The site was poorly selected -- but the adults were doing this for the first time, merely following instinctive tendencies.

This is now a classically typical and perfect Red-tail nest site. Only an outright tornado or hurricane could dislodge this new structure. Nice work.

Secondly, it went up very quickly, in apparently just a few days. This indicates that the pair has very strong behavioral motivations to continue with nesting this spring. Even if no eggs are laid at this somewhat late date, the birds are already strongly set up for vigorous nesting nest year. These birds aren't going anywhere else to nest next season.

Because there were three strong eyasses, there was an ample supply of food (albeit poisoned in one case). The formel may thereby be able to lay another fertile egg or two. Copulation is already being reported, so an egg may soon begin to descend the bird's ovary.

There could be incubation within 10 days or less. If so, there is a very good chance that more eyasses can be seen this year. If the poisoned rat problem doesn't recur, new eyasses could fledge from this nest this year.

There is no way of knowing if this will happen just yet. But clearly, this pair has learned how to build a proper nest. They already know how to brood and feed.

So let's see what happens. This could be good.

PS: Good news has just come in from Riverside Park hawkwatcher Emma Cobb:
Crista Carmody, the park manager at RP, has informed us that the Boat Basin Cafe will not be permitted to use pesticides of any kind in the outdoor areas of the restaurant.