Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Frick Ducklings Then and Now, The Hummingbird Feeder Mystery, and a Tourist Report from Winkie

Frick Duck Photos by Eleanor Tauber

Here comes another summer: The Frick Hen and her ducklings May 25, 2007

A Frick "duckling" now.

Time flies as may soon these nearly grown Mallards when the leaves turn from green to orange, red and yellow, the ice forms on the pond, and the wind blows chill through Central Park.

Photo by Nobu Urushiyama
Third has another bite of dinner.

As often happens on and off when the eyasses fledge and begin to spend their time in Morningside Park, typically there are days when a Hawkwatcher without a lot of time will come up dry. It's disappointing the first day, but by the second or third, one can become downright disheartened. Winkie was having a run of bad luck and I suggested she listen for the eyass alarm system, the Catbirds and Robins. Here's what she had to say.

Maybe my ears are too good. Cuz the robin babies are begging from their parents everywhere. And the Catbirds are noisy any where. Also timing is important. I've been late, but not close enough to dark.

Eureka! When there are crows, like yesterday -- then I can find hawks. I ran into Rob (Schmunk) last night, then out stayed him until dark. There was another nice couple from Texas, birding in our Morningside Park. They heard some word of mouth about our hawks, came to the cathedral, and sighted all five. Sightings of both Tailbiter and Cohort were very close.

Will write more tomorrow,


After seeing a Hummingbird feasting on the Clematis at the side of the house, I decided a feeder was in order. For days I watched, no hummingbird, and the juice didn't move down a fraction. In fact I was having to dump it to keep it fresh. Suddenly without my ever sighting a hummingbird the juice was going down daily by leaps and bounds. Obviously I was just missing the hummer or hummers so I buckled down and watched more carefully.

In fact I was watching so carefully, I noticed that a couple of ants were doing a bit of clean up on the feeder.

But within a moment or two, I realized, that this was no clean up, they were truly cleaning up. They were the ones making the nectar replacement disappear. One ant at a time would make his way to the oris, take his fill, and another would wait for him to come down and the next in line would come up for his share. And of course as these were ants there truly was a line going all the way up to the chain from the ground and then down to the opening and back up to the chain and down to the ground.
How many ant drinks does it take to empty a Hummbird Feeder? Now there would be a full day of counting.
Donegal Browne

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