Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Amorous Red-tail Vocalization

Tristan of the Cathedral Hawks
As the lunar eclipse was invisible in my locale in Wisconsin, I'd asked Robert Schmunk of how it had gone in NYC. He kindly responded with the added treat of a report on Tristan and Isolde, the Uptown Hawks.
Here's what he had to say,
Eclipse here was so-so. There was still too much light in the sky when it started so we didn't see it start. But we did watch it finish.

Today was very cold (Monday, DB), one of the the coldest days we had this past winter, with a low of 11 this morning. I went over to the Cathedral at 5:15 despite the cold and how late it was getting. Now I wonder how much attention the folks at St Luke's pay attention to what goes on outside their windows. Tristan and Isolde did the deed, so to speak, twice while I was there. They were on a branch no more than 15 feet from the 4th floor windows on the Morningside Drive side of the hospital. I didn't actually see the second event, as I was a block down the street, but it was pretty audible. I assume you've witnessed this sort of thing before with PM and Lola, but my reaction all three times that I have had in the past few days has been "sounds like gulls fighting".

Isolde may have even have roosted by the hospital for the night. She was still in the same spot when I left at 5:50. My gloves were not doing their job and I had to vacate. Low on Thursday is projected to be 7. That would be the coldest we've had this year if it happens.

As to copulating hawks sounding like gulls, absolutely. I thought exactly the same thing. When Pale Male and Lola are copulating on Fifth Avenue, you don't hear a thing if you're watching from the Hawk Bench. Now I'd noticed that Pale Male's beak was opening and closing during those moments. So two seasons ago I went up to the park wall across from the Linda Building, in hopes that I'd be able to hear if any vocalizations were being produced. Lola was sitting expectantly on the roof's corner so I thought I might have a chance to answer the question. Miraculously I hadn't been there five minutes when Pale Male cruised over to Lola, and sure enough, there was lots of noise and as you say, it sounds just like gulls.
When I reported vocalizations back then there were some who were downright skeptical. Thank you for the confirmation!. D.B.

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