Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Divine Trio Thanks to Ludie Stearn and the Decorum of Arriving, Departing, and Flapping

Looking at Mom and Dad perched on the urn on the roof of The Plant Pavilion.

The Divine Trio survey the landscape and triangulate like crazy.

From report, fledging isn't imminent. Not nearly enough flapping and hopping going on as yet.
Or, though I've not known it to necessarily stop flapping, there is a limited amount of vertical room on the Cathedral nest with three youngsters in residence. But perhaps like Little of the 2004 Trump Parc Nest (Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte), who did very limited amounts of flapping and hopping compared to Big, his sister, when he could no longer stand spending his day mostly alone on the nest, he sailed off the nest perfectly and cruised to a dandy landing on an adjacent rooftop, smooth as silk, and never looked back.

Lack of room may also explain why Isolde either waited until well after dark or perhaps even spent the night off the nest, though very close at hand, as soon as the eyasses lost their early down. While Charlotte, with plenty of room on the Trump Parc nest corbel, spent every night on the nest until Little, the younger eyass fledged.


Mature hawks follow certain "safety" measures on a nest. While on the nest near young, they will often keep their talons curled under. When a hawk is arriving or departing the hawk who is remaining on the nest will hunch down and keep their heads out of the way of any mischance with the moving hawks wing or talon if the action is close by. Though instead of turning their heads entirely the other direction protecting their eyes, a passive move, they continue to watch the departing hawk. Perhaps to be ready to take evasive action if a strong gust of wind or other anomaly occurs but also to make sure they know exactly where their mate is going.

Eye contact between a bonded pair is a major mechanism of their partnership. When out of visual contact with each other beyond certain time frames, the expression and body language of the hawk sitting the nest will turn from concentrated alertness to a look of concern and restlessness.

When one hawk wishes to communicate with the other from afar that hawk will circle. If Pale Male leaves prey for Lola to eat on her break from the nest, and the stash point is some distance away, he will circle above it until he's sure she's seen the spot. If she's particularly hungry or needs to defecate she will come off the nest like a shot and Pale Male will have to flap to the nest with speed to take her place. I've never seen Charlotte leave without Junior in place while brooding but I have seen Isolde exit either to hunt or pick up stashed prey latter in the process before Tristan arrives. (Due to the visual difficulties of the nest site, whether it's hunting or pick up or both depending is something we haven't sussed out as yet.) Just another example of the differences worked out by different pairs.

Eyasses, as soon as they have some control over their bodily movements, begin the Red-tail evasive actions. And a good thing too. For they are then well practiced by the time the strong urge to flap and hop leads to many incidents of whipping wings and erratic talons due to uncontrolled movement as they come closer and closer to their first flights.

Donegal Browne

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