Friday, June 15, 2007

June 14th Cathedral Reports and The Zieglield Follies Eyass-Critical Time Frame and Imprinting on Where Food Comes From

The male House Finch that periodically scolds Isolde up on the urn is back again.
Photograph and the first report from Rob Schmunk of
As of 7:30 tonight, still one fledgling and two nestlings.
However, the fledgling has shown some quick flying skills,as she was first spotted high on the roof of St. Luke's hospital.
Thanks to an assist of passers-by saying there were three hawks up there, as we knew Tristan and Isolde were up there, on separate decorative urns.If I understand the story correctly, a hospital employee told Winkie that Isolde left food for the fledgling on an air conditioner on the east (Morningside) side of the hospital. When we first saw her she had perched on one of those little drainage protectors above a window on the south (113th) side of the mansard roof.

What made the fledgling's location up on the roof somewhat amazing is that when we subsequently saw her try to fly to a higher point a couple times, she couldn't make it. After about 6:30, Tristan was perched on a rooftop urn close to the employee's entrance to the hospital at mid-block, and there were at least three episodes of kestrel dive-bombing. One episode included 12-15 dives. We were beginning to suspect a kestrel nest somewhere in the tower above the hospital clock.
Donna, Winkie was still there when I left, so you may get a report with later details from her. rbs
(And indeed she did send a report, see below.)

Photograph by Donegal Browne
And now Winkie's report--
Hi Donna,
No lack of confidence here!

6:15 p.m. The two eyasses still on the nest and subdued.

It's been a cool and dreary day: but no rain. Not sure if it ever made it to 70 degrees. I noted that it was 65 degrees when I headed out to the cathedral. When I rounded the corner at 113th St., there was Isolde on the urn and Tristan on the roof of the hospital.

Rob and Charmain were over near the stone yard. Rob was calling me to come! There was Miss Precocious, our #1/AKA Tailbiter, perched on one of the roof bosses -- that is on the hospital roof, too! Pretty amazing! Getting that kind of loft out of her tender wings.

For over an hour and a half, I watched number one's perpetrations in the name of flight. She did a lot of sliding on the roof, some flapping from boss to boss and some walking along the window ledge on the western addition to the Plant Pavilion. Thankfully, walking less like a sailor on land.

She certainly noticed her own reflection in the windows -- with the requisite amount of curiosity. Not once did she loose her courage or her cool, although she did loose a considerable amount of down. With Tristan still on guard, she settled into the corner of the roof and the new addition.

At several points, I thought that she was going to attempt flight back to one of the chapels roof. She appeared quite attentive to the noise that the kestrels were making. They were, of course, not going to let Tristan stay on an urn for too long. And their fearless dive bombing across the sky seemed to keep her from venturing the long trek back across 113th St. She was contentedly preening when I left.

My last glance was back at the nest, where #2, Cohort, had ventured on top of the saint's head -- still not much flapping. And #3 appeared to be snacking again, maybe this eyass is the domestic one and just attending to the nest maintenance.

We'll see if tomorrow brings another fledge!


Now to thoughts on the Ziegfield Follies Eyass

I've not been able to find anyone who has the answer to this question. What is the critical amount of time between when a fledge disappears from his parent's care and then reappears in which the parents will no longer pick up the care of the fledge? Does anyone know or know someone who might? I've just about run out of possible answer people. I suppose it doesn't really happen all that often so maybe no one truly knows for sure.

Obviously better for a fledgling to learn the ropes from her parents as opposed to a human who doesn't know all the urban RT techniques for survival. Or is capable of demonstrating them for that matter. Remember Junior demonstrating pigeon nabbing in the air above the second fledge so he could see it in the air above him? A human just doesn't have the physical equipment to do that.

In the case of an orphaned fledgling, an injury, or one that must be retrieved early from a nest for it's safety, a human caretaker is the way to go, but this bird according to my understanding doesn't fit the categories. She just came down in a rotten spot. We know the parents, we know the proper territory, we have people willing to watch to make sure the parents pick up the care. It seems to me there is no reason not to get her back out there post haste and give it a try before Charlotte and Junior will not longer be cued to do it. It isn't just begging or Red-tails would go around feeding each other's fledglings, which as far as I know, they don't. It can't just be begging plus territory or none would have to be rehabbed, you could drop them off in a territory where you knew eyasses were being fed by parents. Nope.

Actual recognition? Maybe. I just read a paper in which they prove to my satisfaction that certain Swallows recognize their own young in a group after they've fledged.

Or is it once again the sequential cues necessary for the hormones to induce proper parenting? The lag in a cue over time could cause the reciprocating response to fade? Maybe.

There also seems to be some confusion about the meaning of imprinting in this case. I spoke to a rehabber here in Wisconsin, lots of Red-tails so lots of practice. The Wisconsin rehabber says the imprinting problem about being fed by a human you can see, isn't a case of "who-are-my-parents" but rather an imprinting issue about where to get food. As in "I was fed by humans before. There's a human, they should feed me too." Which may totally flip some people out even if the fledge isn't even as pushy as a Red-tail fledge could be.
In the example of the first Fordham fledgling the other day, who saw her mother eating a pigeon and instead of doing the usual begging, just silently dove at Mom and the pigeon talons first. Mom being a hawk, zipped out of the way but humans aren't nearly that quick. Of course few humans will be hanging around eating raw pigeon or rat but I'm not sure what the food cues for young hawks are since I have seen them leap on and gnaw just about anything.

Donegal Browne

No comments: