Saturday, June 16, 2007


Photograph by Donegal Browne
Youngest in 2006 when he finally made it into the bushes and off the sidewalk and street while traffic was stopped and with the help of drafted passers-by, gently herded him towards Morningside Park. He spent the rest of the day, under hawkwatcher eyes, branching his way from this bush a few feet off the ground to a small tree and onward until he finally made it up to the branches of a tall tree where his parents fed him. They tempted him with food to move up, out of harms way. He had already been off the nest for some days and could not as yet get himself off the ground in flight.

Bird likely injured trying to fly, but that's no falcon
Saturday, June 16, 2007
The large brown-and-white bird found by a dog-walker in Jersey City is a young red-tailed hawk, not a falcon, a veterinarian said, and it may have been injured falling out of a tree while practicing to fly.
Dr. Laura Acosta, a veterinarian at Jersey City Animal Hospital, said it would be easy to mistake the hawk for a falcon.
They (Jersey City Animal Control) thought it was a falcon because of its size," she said. "It takes time and a lot of working with birds to recognize the differences."
She said hawks are larger than falcons, but this one still has some growing to do.
The bird of prey was spotted on the ground by a man walking his dog in Bayside Park on Thursday afternoon. It hopped away but apparently could not fly.
It's not unusual for a young bird to fall out of a tree when it's in the "branching" stage, Acosta said.
"They go branch to branch to develop their wings," Acosta said.
The bird's sex couldn't be determined because its height and weight couldn't be accurately measured due to its injuries, Acosta said - the gender is generally determined by the bird's size because the sexual organs appear similar.
And, though some were surprised by the bird's presence, others say they have spotted this hawk - or, more likely, older ones - at Bayside Park for at least two years.
"I thought it was an eagle myself," said Kenny Dobson, a Jersey City school district custodian. When he saw the bird in yesterday's issue of The Jersey Journal, he realized he'd seen it before.
Jersey City resident Derrome Pressley also has spotted hawks or similar looking birds in the evenings as well.
"We sit there and actually watch as they catch and eat mice and stuff," he said.
There's also a large nest on top of one of the field's skylights that corresponds with the type of nest typically built by hawks, an expert said.
"Red-tails build a nest that is about 2 feet across," said Brian Moscatello, a manager at the New Jersey Audubon Society-sponsored Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research and Education.
As recently as 20 years ago, it would have been quite rare to spot a red-tailed hawk in an urban area, Moscatello said. Now they're known to frequent high-rises and even tall trees in cities.
"I've seen red-tails in Bergen County, Liberty State Park and Palisade Park," he said.
As for the Bayside Park hawk, it's done fine, Acosta said. In fact, its appetite has returned - it ate a mouse yesterday, she said.
The bird was sent yesterday to Raptor's Trust, a bird rehabilitation facility in Millington. It will eventually be released back into the park.
Thanks to Rob Schmunk, for sending in the story.
From Karen Anne Kolling - Pennsylvania's approach to stranded Eyasses
6/12/2007 :: Watch and Rescue Begins/Eyases are Treated
Watch and Rescue Program: The watch and rescue program in now being conducted. Volunteers work two-hour shifts, reporting, by radio, activity at the ledge to “falcon central” that is the DEP Environmental Education Center. If a fledgling lands on the street or any other situation the would put it in harms way, the young bird is rescued, examined and placed on the roof of the 16 floor Rachel Carson State Office Building. Eventually, the fledgling will fly again, usually landing on a nearby building. Within a day or two after fledging, the young birds develop the strength and skills necessary to return to the nest ledge.

The Peregrine DEP version of what Central Park Hawkwatchers have done unofficially in the past. Basically the same premise applies; get the fledglings out of harms way...unfortunately no radios. Thank goodness for cell phones. And perhaps we might want to think about an official version for next season. Get communication going and everyone on the same page before the fledglings start coming off the nest. Everyone working together. What do you think?

Dear Donna,
I'm broken hearted. I've been looking for Red almost everyday. Last saw her on June 1st (not 3rd.) There's absolutely no sign of her. Remember the the last tree she stayed at that's 50 feet away ? It turns out there's a racoon sleeping there. Maybe this is why she also decided to abandon that one.
Couldn't reply sooner to your emails. My system's been down. Gotta keep looking. Please let me know if you hear anything from anybody. Can't do much hawk watching lately because of missing Red. Call me crazy, but I think she said good bye when she looked at our faces for a long time that evening we last saw her on 6/1.
As I told Stella, there is still a chance, as Red's neighborhood has become so crowded, that Red has found a home in a totally different area of the park, perhaps even the sanctuary within the park where very few people are allowed.
Donegal Browne

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