Sunday, December 10, 2006

Monks Flee Raptor and Pale Male Eats A Rat

3:00PM I arrive at 103rd. and Amsterdam. Cal Vornberger, nature photographer, and Liz an avid watcher of the Cathedral Hawks, are already there, leaning against a fence. I can tell, nobody is home. But they do tell me that Pale Male has staged another of his media events. He nonchalantly sat on a very low branch eating a rat in full view for all to see. And they did, the estimated crowd was sixty people. Did Pale find any problem with that, not on your life.

We wait a while longer and Cal leaves. I'm figuring our birds are going to show up around four so Liz and I point the scope at the nest and field questions from passers-by for awhile. Then there is that Monk Parakeet in flight call and off they go over our heads to the west. We decide after a few minutes they aren't coming back right away so we go in search of a supposed tree nest that someone had supposedly seen. Not with any hopes that it existed actually but the Monks had gone that way so why not take a gander. No nest and no Monks were found. We return to our post across from the nest. Another fly-by of the Monks-in the other direction. We wait.

4:03 Right on time they fly to the fire escape, the staging area before the short hop into their roost house.

The Monks are quieter this evening. Not that these two tend to be noisy when perched in the way a flock tends to be. Why attract attention to themselves for no reason? Even physically they are less active for they don't do their usual end of the day preen. What is going on?

Dozing? No, sleepy perhaps but there is still a slit of an eye watching the environment.

4:23PM Suddenly they're off with a characteristic aak, aak, aak, aak, along with every single
other bird in the neighborhood, from sparrow to gull. Suddenly with a rush of wings, they've all become invisible. The raptor must be very disappointed.

4:33PM They return to the fire escape. When the Monk pair arrived this time they stayed much closer to each other than they had before the fly off. In fact they often looked in the same direction as if searching for something.

A snuggle before roosting? Either that or a prod to get going toward the Monk House.

4:39PM In for the night and not looking very friendly toward possible visitors.

Note the fresh green material at the top of the "doorway" and the clipped edge of the entrance on the left. I'd seen the pile of twigs on the fire escape but Liz noted they've also stockpiled some on the left outside edge of the nest.

AND now for something completely different....
Research finds urban birds sing louder than their country cousins. (Gosh, you wouldn't think it would be all those cars, trucks, construction, and sirens, would you?)
Link courtesy of John over at
Donegal Browne

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