Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NYC Audubon, Workmen, the Nest, Pale Male, and the 2007 Eggs

9 24 AM No hawks in sight, nor anyone else for that matter. It's cold, the pond is frozen over, and though the weather report predicted no rain until the afternoon, it very much is beginning to look like it isn't going to wait until afternoon.

10 12AM I'd been noticing that the pigeons kept hopping down onto the frozen pond at this point, they'd walk around a little, put their beaks to the ice, and then fly away again. Then I saw that this was the spot in which the sun hits first and perhaps there is also a flow pipe because suddenly it began to burble. It wasn't ice anymore it was liquid and the pigeons were mad for a bath. Though some people think pigeons are dirty, they'll bathe several times a day, even in very cold weather if given half a chance.

Then for no reason I could see, they took to their wings.

10 16 36 AM Perhaps it was this. The swing stage hired by NYC Audubon to hopefully work a fix on the nest was rising slowly up the front of 927 Fifth Avenue.

10 18 26AM Nearly there, the workman on the right gets on the walkie talkie to the Audubon person on the Fisher terrace, who is directing the work.

10 24 04AM After managing the swing stage into position, the workmen first take photographs of the nest.

Below: Hawk Expert John Blakeman took my photographs from the roof and marked the many visible prongs. These, along with the field notes that documented the post-carriage digging behavior of Pale Male and Lola, helped validate his long held theory that the spikes in the bowl may have been contributing to nest failure.

After photographing the nest, the eggs from 2007 are retrieved for testing. Note the upraised hand displaying an egg to those of NYC Audubon grouped on the Fisher terrace and the collection box held by the worker on the left.

10 40 AM After cutting some spikes from the bowl of the nest. Discussion ensues.

10 41 18 AM The swing stage descends to get the engineer.

10 52 08AM As soon as the swing stage seems truly gone, for the moment anyway, Pale Male lands an the nest and checks the bowl of the nest. Where are the eggs?
10 52 14AM He then looks into the bowl from another angle. Where are the eggs?
10 52 39AM Pale Male checks the territory. Then resumes his search.

10 52 50AM He then flattens and slowly nears the bowl of the nest. Is he concerned about a possible predator as he's not sure what is going on?

10 53 13AM He puts his head completely into the bowl. Satisfied that the eggs are gone flies from the nest.

10 55 40AM Lola keeps an eye on the rest of the territory. Vigilance cannot cease no matter what my be happening on the nest. There are the Kestrels which have been attacking today and there is the new breeding season ahead that must be safeguarded.

Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

Donna, thank you and John Blakeman for all you have done to help make this come about!

If we have eyeasses this year, what a celebration there will be!!!!!!


Karen Anne said...

I must admit, I never thought this would happen. Much thanks to everyone involved.

Is there a photo of what the inside of the nest looks like after the work was done? Maybe I missed it, between your site and Marie's.

Anonymous said...

Living in MInnesota, a sometime visitor to NYC, it has been reassuring to know that concerned individuals had been investigating the nest failures. A big thank you to all involved. Waiting now for Spring.

Great work on your blog as well. Karen

Donegal Browne said...

Thenk you, from the ever so many folks that had a hand in attempting to put right what might have been going wrong.

Keep your fingers crossed that Spring will bring little white fuzzy heads peeping over the twigs of the nest on 927 Fifth Avenue.

Donegal Browne said...

As to a photograph of the nest post clipping of spikes---The only people with a camera and a view of the nest that revealed the bowl were the workmen. They did have a camera but I haven't been able to discover as yet whether the took a photograph after the clipping was completed. I'm working on it and will try to get a copy if there is a photograph.