Monday, December 25, 2006

Little Red and the Brown-tail

Photo courtesy of John Selkirk

We don't have so many Red Squirrels in Central Park that we barely notice them. In fact we may only have one. And a number of people, including Stella Hamilton, have taken a special interest in this spunky red resident of Locust Grove. A spot not really all that far from the Hawk Bench.

Red as the squirrel is called, see I told you we may only have one Red Squirrel, seems to have almost been lunch for an immature Red-tail. This is where detachment would come in handy. We certainly don't want the Brown-tail to starve but quite a number of hawk watchers have a special affection for Little Red as well.

It's the quandary of regular watchers who begin to identify certain members of a species as individuals. It's one of the emotional pitfalls but also one of the great joys of being a watcher in Central Park. Many folks have a daily route they follow on their visits. A route that develops before you know it because you're checking on the well being of individuals you've previously seen and learning their habits and quirks.

Stella Hamilton, who visits Red the Squirrel every day she's able and also spent many an hour watching the Divine's nest up at the Cathedral this year, sent in this report.

Stella wrote-

I spent a good part of my afternoon yesterday in Locust Grove babysitting little Red. An immature Red-tailed Hawk came into Red's fenced in area and tried to snatch her.

Good thing Red saw him in the nick of time and was able to hide . The funny thing is, this immature reminded me of one of the babies at Saint John the Divine this summer. The baby boy with the very dark belly band.

This young hawk was so inexperienced, that he actually sat on tree holes and peered inside them to see if anything looked good.

At one point he sat on top of a beat up tree and with his right foot, started kicking and shaking the twigs. Red wasn't coming into range so he gave up his pursuit of a cinnamon lunch, and I told him in no uncertain terms to go catch a RAT instead.

He left, but I'm sure he'll be back tomorrow.

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