Sunday, June 04, 2006

Play Day at the Cathedral 04 JUN 2006


When the eyasses are not eating and sleeping they have begun to engage in "play". Activities that help them learn skills that will be used in life after fledging. Beyond beak fencing and the like, they very often engage in stalking each other. Not untypical of carnivore mammals with one difference. In Red-tail young if the sibling being stalked notices, makes eye contact, the stalker acts as if she isn't stalking. Whereas in young mammals that is the moment when the pounce may be made.
I have many times seen Pale Male engage in the exact behavior while stalking rats. He will sit in a tree on the same branch for several days in a row for an hour or so watching a rat hole and it's inhabitants. Though seemingly not watching them. Eye contact is a big deal with birds. Then when the rats have grown generally used to his seemingly innocuous presence, he'll wait until they are distracted by something and move quickly to a branch closer to the hole and then go back to quiet repose quickly while they aren't looking. He then continues watching their behavior, their travel patterns, the things they do with "sameness" which makes them vulnerable. This behavior continues until he decides to make the grab. He is very successful with this strategy.

Mom on Gabriel's head, a rare perch.

After napping.
Is this one of the same eyasses
as the previous two?

Dad and Gabriel.

(Yes, yes, I know it's a vin arc and I could easily crop it out but I like the thought of Gabriel and Dad in a bubble of cloud and sky. D.B.)

Peering over the edge watching a squirrel.

Just try it.
(At this point the "stalker" will stop
and feign innocence, ie. look at anything else but her "prey".
And continue to look elsewhere until the stalkee
releases eye contact and goes on to something else. )

Distracted by an itch.
In fact they are all
very itchy. It is a side effect of pinfeathers
which currently cover their bodies at one
stage or another of maturation.

While the first is distracted, the second eyass horns in and knocks the first
down a level in King of the Hill.

It's MOM!
(Note the crop of the eyass in the foreground is not as
distended as that of her nestmate. It's her turn to eat and she does.)

Why'd she leave?

What is she up to?

Second eyass spots Mom.
(So that's why the sibling
who had begun King of the Hill or perhaps more aptly
named, Queen of the Nest Edge, suddenly
hopped off and hot footed it to a prime feeding

Eyass watches Mom coming closer.

The eyass ducks as Mom comes in.
Something all Red-tails, whatever the age, do when
there is an incoming family member to the nest.

Eyass checks what Mom brought
but does not make a move to get it.
"Permission" has to be
granted at this stage of development.

After her visit to the nest,
Mom perches on The Plant Pavilion.
Later she shifts to a decorative
roof urn on the same building.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

Wonderful comments on behavior.