Friday, January 25, 2008

Spikes, Pale Male Hunting, No Screech Owls, and Pinkie Takes on the Duck

Photos: Samantha Browne-Walters
The report from the Hawk Bench: There have been one or two sightings of twigs being brought to the nest as well as Pale Male and Lola landing on the nest and surveying their territory. Today Pale Male around 3PM, looked to be hunting. First he zoomed from somewhere on 5th Avenue down into the trees just NW of the Model Boat Pond. Next he circled higher and higher above Oreo. Then took several swoops into trees, landed, watched, and took off again.

In this photo he is sitting in the stand of trees just across the path to the south of the Hawk Bench. He then soared across the Model Boat Pond and landed in the top of the tallest tree within the park on a diagonal with Green Awning Building. Then we lost him, only to have him reappear sailing into the trees in front of the Lion Building.

Bethesda Fountain
Here it seems that the pigeons have made friends with another winged creature and either are going along for a ride or are organizing to give her one. Note she's looking down at the pigeon newly landed on her hand.
Yes the disfigured cherub also has wings but for the moment focus on the spikes at the left edge of the photo. I'd been told when the steel frame went up over the nesting cornice that the spike ends had been bent round on the tip for hawk comfort during the building process of the frame, but here we have round ended spikes that aren't on the frame but rather in normal perch thwarting positions. Interesting.

The observer arrived at the Screech owl's tree at 5:14PM on Wednesday and was surprised that the male wasn't dozing on his doorstep. 5:30PM came and went without the sight of a feather let alone a whole owl. Then 6PM came and went with no fly-out. Did the owls go out early, very late, have a falling our, or has the Mrs. decided to choose an alternative cavity for egg laying?
Pinkie notices the DUCK!
Remember Pinkie the Laughing Dove we found in the snowbank? He's the one on the white compote. That's right, Pinkie does not have a handle on his tail.
It was cage scrubbing night so Pinkie was walking around the dining room table waiting for his cage to be done, when suddenly he took it into his head to fly.
We've discussed before that Pinkie's ancestors were domesticated to the inth degree and that Pinkie while not the brightest avian bulb is very sweet with people. He also can't fly worth diddly and tries to beat up pigeons four times his size.
As I said, Pinkie decided to fly. Making his best flapping effort, even remaining somewhat upright for the ride, he traversed three feet and plopped into the compote. At which point he climbed out with some difficulty, perched on the side and was actually quite satisfied with his performance until he noticed--The Duck.
What? A giant bird? It must be battled!
Pinkie then proceeded to puff himself up to full height, bowed three times while "laughing" and then began to peck the begesus out of Duck's bill. Duck being more polite and made out of china besides, did not respond. This further infuriated Pinkie, who redoubled his pecking efforts.
Some minutes later, feeling he had pecked Duck into complete and utter submission. In fact actually petrifying Duck in place with his mighty beak, Pinkie settled down quietly, with a rather self satisfied expression, to wait for his cage to dry.
Donegal Browne

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