Friday, June 15, 2007

888 Fledgling NEWS! Red the Squirrel Hasn't Been Sighted Since June 3rd


Friday, June 15th 2007, 4:00 AM
The fallen baby hawk rescued in Manhattan was nursed back to health yesterday with the help of a surrogate mama.

The fallen baby hawk rescued in Manhattan was nursed back to health yesterday with the help of a surrogate mama - and he may be ready for release soon.

"He's stretching, he's exercising his wings. He's doing everything he should be doing," said licensed wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath, 44, who has been caring for the red-tailed hawk, dubbed Ziggy by a reader at, at his Long Island home.

The 7-week-old fledgling was grounded Wednesday after losing control during his first flight and plunging into a courtyard near the Ziegfeld Theater on W. 55th St.

Yesterday, Ziggy took a step closer to a return to the urban wild.

After spending the night resting in Horvath's home, the brown, white-speckled hawk migrated in the morning to the backyard, where Horvath keeps a 25-by-12-foot flight cage. It's 9 feet tall.
The hawk immediately befriended the cage's other resident: a permanently flightless red-tailed hawk named Diana.

"He went right up to her," Horvath said.

Ziggy let out a piercing scream - hawk baby talk for, "I'm hungry."

The 10-year-old mama hawk, who was shot in the wing at age 3, went to work.
Using her beak, Diana fed the youngster a breakfast of chopped rodent. Then she sat beside him on a wooden branch, feathers puffed in a sign of maternal protectiveness.

Still, Horvath worried about the hawk's recovery time. There's only a narrow window for returning missing hawk chicks to their nest.

By the end of the day yesterday, the baby still hadn't taken a full flight.
"We want to get it back, but we don't want to rush it just to satisfy people who want to get it back in the wild," Horvath said.

Meanwhile, city birders anxiously awaited Ziggy's return.

Accountant Brett Odom has been monitoring what he believes is the hawk's nest from his midtown office window since the parent hawks arrived there this spring.

Since the fledgling went missing from the nest on the 36th floor of 888 Seventh Ave., Odom has watched the mother hawk waiting in the now-empty nest and searching the area.

"I hope he comes back soon," said Odom, 36, of Chelsea. "She's probably wondering where he is."
(First kudos for Diana the surrogate Red-tail mother for feeding the fledge. Well done on rehabber Bobby Horvath's part for putting them together! The best possible mode of feeding under the current rehab circumstances. So a correction on my part that Red-tails in the wild probably wouldn't feed just any old eyass that showed up. Some just might as Diana in captivity certainly did.
Though my heart does go out to Junior and Charlotte who are frantically searching for their fledgling.
That being said, perhaps there is a misunderstanding or lack of information. I didn't know that surrogate feeding was an option. Perhaps others don't know that urban fledglings often have very limited flight skills for a few days. A little informed communication on everyone's part could make a big difference. As far as I can tell everyone is doing the best they know how to do, but as emotions run high, we forget that none of us knows everything and the passing on of experience and knowledge from everyone concerned could help things go better for the hawks.
After watching nests daily for three seasons, I've seen that it is perfectly normal for some urban fledglings to have limited flight abilities. Not everyone is going to know that unless they've watched a number of fledges come off buildings for the first few days, right? As building fledglings do not come from a tree nest but rather a building, the urban fledglings sometimes skip the "branching" stage of their development before cruising off the nest for the first time. In a tree nest, eyasses will flap and climb to first one near by branch, to another close branch, than another, and another, then return to the nest intermittently. As some buildings do not have a practice area to "branch" the eyasses do not get this kind of practice unless they land on a roof or make it to a green space where there are trees. Those that don't can get "stuck" on the ground until they find a place to "branch" themselves up and off the ground.
The fledgling's flight skills will improve when she's allowed to work on this stage of her development. Limited flight skills are common for the St. John's Cathedral fledglings for instance due to the peculiarities of that nest. Donna )
From Charmain Devereaux , long time urban hawk watcher. She's spent many hours watching the progress of Charlotte and Pale Male Jr.'s breeding efforts--
Hi Donna—
Each day that passes, our hawk fledgling's captivity becomes more critical. According to today's article in the Daily News, the rehabilitator Bobby Horvath is "concerned" about the narrowing window of opportunity to get the hawk back to its parents, when in fact, he is the one that's responsible for this. His concern is that the hawk has still not made a full flight. As most of us know, a fledgling's first flight, and several thereafter, are rarely complete or graceful. As long as this hawk was stabilized and found not to have any injuries, this rehabilitator should have no reason hold it, for any further length or time.
At any rate, at this point, the more press and pressure we can create to see that the "right" thing be done, the better. (To communicate,right? D.B.)Let's just hope that we can make it happen, FOR THE HAWK'S SAKE, not as Mr. Horvath said, "just to satisfy people who want to get it back in the wild. Aside from the phone numbers already listed in Lincoln's site, here are a few more possibilities to contact...
Nicole Bode - writer of Daily News articles
Adrian Benepe-Commissioner-Dept. of Parks & Recreation
BTW - It was great seeing the St. John's family last night with Rob and Winkie. Lots of action going on with all, although still only 1 has fledged. Hope you're well.—
P.S. I saw Clare on the way home from St. John's last night—she told me that they haven't seen "Red" since June 3rd(?), and they're fearing the worst....she said the grey squirrels and even pigeons were of late ganging up on her. I told her not to give up hope yet.
Everyone please keep an eye peeled for Red the Squirrel and let me know if you see her
And "Falcon" News ;-) from Ben Cacace of
Found this in the news. From the description of the location (see below) it appears to be a huge falcon.;-D"
[...] and the falcon was found on Third Avenue between 50th and 59th streets, parks officials said.",0,5684598.story
Here's the original place I found reference to the falcon:

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