Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mini Urban Red-tail Report and Monday Miscellany

Photograph by Rob Schmunk

Here's Brownie/Cohort, the second fledge, sitting on the railing in the Cathedral close normally reserved for St. John's peacocks. They in turn were relegated to the lawn. For the full days events go to Rob Schmunk's blog http://bloomingdalevillage.blogspot.com

And sharp observer Winkie reports that the new fledgling Red-tail in Central Park that was sighted in Locust Grove is none other than Tailbiter. This year's first fledge off the Cathedral Nest who seems also to be this year's first of the brood into Central Park.

After a full day of feeding fledglings, Mr. Chipping takes a few minutes to sit in the shade during sunset.

What is it about laying straw over grass seed that makes it almost miraculously grow. Take this patch of extremely hard dry dirt. The city put in a sidewalk. And construction folks being focused on concrete, the reseeding process gets rather short shrift. This patch was supposedly reseeded. In other words it had seed thrown at it and that was that. As you can see, even with the addition of water to the seed, things did not work out at all well for those wanting grass instead of dirt.

Therefore when they tore up the curb and rebuilt it, straw was laid over the seed and the cracked dry dirt. Why does this make a difference? Okay, it would help retain moisture but wouldn't it cut the light out and diminish growth? Why does this work?
This works because grass seed grows grass. And all grasses started out as actual wild plants somewhere in their history. They came from seeds which did not often fall from the mature grass stalk onto dry cracked naked soil. They fell from the stalk onto last years dried grass, the substrate of a grassland. In other words, they're genetically built to start growing beneath dried grass. And that is exactly what straw is.

See the dark spot where the fresh sunflower seed is missing? See the nice place to perch without petals directly above that spot? Well, 2 seconds before the shutter clicked on the camera's timer, Mr. Goldfinch was sitting there plucking that seed. And didn't he with his yellow feathers and the sunflower with her golden petals look downright smashing together? You bet. But you're going to have to imagine for today.

Doorstep Dove appeared at 7:30PM without Friend. He came for dinner after she had left. They're back to nesting again. We'll soon see if their daughter get some new siblings. They might make a flock yet.
And W.A. Walters sent in this story from the NY Times about a bird garden in NYC similar to those in China.

In Chinatown, a group of men who keep songbirds as pets gather to listen to the chirping and take refreshments.

(I thought keeping native songbirds was illegal? D.B.)
Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

It's not only illegal to keep native songbirds, it's even illegal to keep any of their feathers!

Donegal Browne said...

My point exactly.