Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NYU Hawk report via Head and Blakeman

Christie M. Farriella for New York Daily News

Violet the red-tailed hawk is recuperating on Long Island after being rescued from Washington Square Park.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/violet-red-tailed-hawk-washington-square-park-mend-article-1.997069#ixzz1hlfAZXs8

For those following the Violet saga, here is a note from Murray Head, followed by a report by John Blakeman

Per Cathy Horvath in an email to me earlier this morning, "This is Violet eating her medication. I cut a mouse into 3 pieces and put her pain meds in one piece and her antibiotic pill in another piece. She is a very good patient!"

She is eating mice on her own but getting hand-fed the bits with the medication to ensure she is getting her meds.

And from John Blakeman

Make no comparisons with human mating or dating practices or ethics. These are wild red-tailed hawks, with very different biological instincts and behaviors.

Yes, Bobby has “taken up” with a new mate, so very quickly upon Violet’s capture and removal from Washington Square Park (which is best for her, given her declining state). But the appearance and acceptance of the new formel (female) is quite typical, particularly at this time, the very start of the reproductive season.

At Christmas Eve, upon learning of Violet’s “rescue,” I predicted that a new formel would be in the area within a few days; a week at most. I was wrong. It was just a few hours, the very next day. Understand that this was not perfidy, indiscretion, or selfishness on Bobby’s part. It’s pure, natural, and quite perfect red-tailed hawk biology.

So let’s watch what happens. There is now the highest chance that the new pair will fledge three eyasses this summer. In the meantime, hawkwatchers in Washington Square Park should be looking high above, to watch some thrilling courtship flights in the coming weeks. Bobby and the new formel (“Noelle?” – Seems right, since she appeared on Christmas Day.) will loft together into the sky in circling soars. Then, Bobby will soar much higher, with “Noelle” just a few hundred feet above the building tops. From his height several hundred feet above, Bobby will fold his wings and descend in a thrilling, accelerating dive directly at his new mate, soaring below. Just as he’s about to strike the new formel, at over 200 mph, she will instantly tilt sideways and allow Bobby to plunge through her formerly-occupied airspace.

Bobby will instantly open his wings and divert his momentum in a U-shape flight back upwards, bringing him back to the level of the formel. It’s one of the most thrilling avian flights on the planet. Only a few get to see it, and so seldom in cities. New Yorkers in January and February need to be looking above the trees and buildings in search of these red-tail spectacles.

Here’s to a wonderful new breeding season at NYU and Washington Square Park—and to Violet’s peaceful care and passing now in the least stressful conditions. My best regards to the Horvaths, the New York Times, NYU, and all the WSP hawkwatchers who are making all of this possible.

–John Blakeman