Friday, December 28, 2007

More Snow plus Swans

Yes, yet another layer of fresh white fluffy snow. And during the process, I've had several reports of Red-tail hawks arriving in backyards with feeders who's owners hadn't seen them before.

The question pops up as to whether this is a new behavior? Hard to tell. The variable of course is that perhaps the humans had never paid attention to those likely raptor hunting perching branches until I asked for reports. Therefore the Red-tails may have been hunting those particular feeders all along and it isn't a new behavior at all.

Note that the wooden feeder up right has developed a furry "roof". These squirrels raid the feeders no matter the weather. No semi-concious days spent snuggled into their nests for these guys.

And from William Walters, our NYTimes link finder--

NEW YORK REGION December 28, 2007

The mute swan is a target of a campaign in Connecticut to reduce its numbers in the state’s delicate coastline habitats.
Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

What about your bunny friend? I have not seen my bunny visitor(s?) for at least a month, but according to wikipedia, they don't hibernate.

Anonymous said...

There is a window feeder as well as a suet feeder on the fire escape of my Brooklyn apartment. The birds attracted by this setup are primarily sparrows, house finches and Quaker parrots--and recently hawks.

I've never seen the hawks catch anything but last week there was a surprising incident. Looking out the window, I saw a large red-tail sitting on the railing intently examining the birdfeeders. Then the hawk jumped down to the fire escape and grabbed a ripe pear that had fallen off the top of the suet. It then flew off with its prize.

Could this be a vegan hawk? Prior to this incident, I always thought that hawks were exclusively meat eaters.

Donegal Browne said...

You're not the only one who thinks that hawks are exclusively meat eaters. Everyone else thinks so as well. By any chance, was there suet on the pear?

A winter or so back, there was an immature Red-tail in Central Park that was extremely partial to suet.

Did you notice if the hawk was an adult or immature?

By the way, in whichneighborhood in Brooklyn did you see the hawk?

Donegal Browne said...

You're right, I didn't include Blaze the Bunny in the Seasons Greetings, I kept hoping I'd get a decent photo of he and his buddies in the snow, but no luck yet.

When Blaze was young he'd be out in the daytime munching away. Now as a bigger bunny and also being it's winter and perhaps as he and his two buddies show up ever so much more obviously against all that white snow or perhaps because the really yummy stuff, bird corn, is right up next to the house, they don't appear until about two in the morning.

It' one thing to try and photograph a reasonably slow moving possum in a long exposure but a quick bunny is tough in the middle of the night.

Therefore Blaze may have to send his Season Greetings with a photo from earlier in the season as some of the others have.

Anonymous said...

The pear was mushy and most likely had only the "essence" of suet on it. Since it's my understanding that hawks don't have a very good sense of smell, that can't be the attraction. Could it have been so hungry that it would consider eating an over-ripened pear?

I didn't get a very good look at the hawk but it was large and stocky in appearance. It seemed to be a Red-tail, but now I can't specifically recall the red tail or dark eyes indicative of an adult. It's interesting to note that although I was only a few feet away on the other side of the window, the hawk didn't seem especially concerned by my presence. (There is another hawk--possibly a Cooper's--that flees at my slightest movement.)

In previous years, there would be a sighting of a large hawk only once or twice during the winter. Now it's every week. It appears that the only way to discourage the hawks is to stop filling up the feeders. However, I was initially reluctant to stop feeding the birds because the green Monk parrots show up only in the winter and seem especially dependent on the feeders.

This is all taking place in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn which abuts the Narrows of lower New York harbor.

As a side note, there is a pigeon coop on the roof of an apartment building about a block away, but it's rare to see the owner flying his pigeons anymore. Is it possible that the hawks are turning this area into a no-fly zone for pigeons?