Thursday, February 28, 2008



When I opened my email late this evening there were emails from Rob and James about finally being able to confirm that the second hawk with Isolde was not Tristan. More on that to come, but first a farewell to Tristan. Though like I said, at least for now. We have not found Tristan and there is a small chance he may be cooling his talons at a rehabilitator who we don't know. I've heard that Pale Male once took another mate while his previous one was laid up, as Ben Cacace of the Nova Hunter blog is wont to say, "Never underestimate a Red-tail."

Tristan too has lost at least one mate in the past, and Isolde was her replacement. Now Isolde will choose someone new. At least we do not have to watch Isolde fade away from grief as I have heard is the case with some species of geese.

Small, he's a male after all, but scrappy Tristan on the left and big beautiful Isolde on the right This was the day both Crows and Kestrels attacked them and their nest of three eyasses. They were quite the team. They worked together perfectly. Their communication was astounding. And at the end of the day, all were safe and uninjured including themselves.

There was something about Tristan that sometimes made me laugh. He seemed so--well, calm for a hawk. In fact there were some who felt that Isolde was a better hunter of pigeons. Tristan brought in his share, but Tristan's forte was rats. Big juicy evening rats But when he wasn't hunting but rather standing guard he could be such a very laid back hawk. Rather like, why get excited unless something shows up to be excited about.
And then there was that signature raised foot.

Sometimes visible, sometimes not, but more often than not UP.

When first I started watching The Divines I was nearly convinced his foot was injured. After days of scrutiny, I finally realized, he's relaxed and he likes to be comfortable.

Tristan was a beak-on kind of Dad. Last season after an exhausted Isolde would leave the nest for a break after having been trampled by three eyasses for most of the day, Tristan would first offer her the prey, if she didn't take it, he then went off to the nest and deftly fed the eyasses their last meal of the day. And didn't he and Isolde produce and train wonderful young Red-tails?


Stalwart. (Just look at that bird's "healthy" feet.)
And sometimes very funny.
So vivat for Tristan's life, and for his willingness to share it with us. We have been blessed. Rob called this particular perch, Tristan's Urn, at one point today. It's the urn on the SE corner of the Plant Pavilion. And that I think is a fitting memorial as Tristan did spend so much attentive time there guarding his family. From now on at least for me, and in my reports, that will always be, Tristan's Urn.
Godspeed Tristan.

Photograph Robert Schmunk
The "New Guy" in town sits next to a slightly ruffled Isolde. He did land, as Rob mentions, without a treat. Though he does seem to have a yearning look on his face.
Here is Rob's email--
(Both he and James O'Brien have reports on today's doings, their links follow Rob's email.)

James and I got a good look at two adult hawks today along
Morningside when they perched on a hospital window railing.

The first one to fly in looked like Isolde. The second a couple minutes
later and after teasing us for a couple minutes by perching with his
back to us, he finally turned around. Both James and I immediately
said "new guy".

He's got a heavy belly band, heavier than Isolde's. (Hers isn't
exactly heavy, but was in comparison's to Tristan's.) He also has
light colored eyes, so he may just be 2 years old.

New guy needs to learn to bring treats though.


Great extended reports and photos about the "New Guy" at Rob's Blog

And James O'Brien's Origin of the Species Blog--
Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post and some great photos - and a great "farewell" to Tristan, wherever he is!


Anonymous said...


Re: Tristan. I am also holding out for him. It is possible, since there is zero evidence of his remains or even a feather, a rehabber may have grabbed him, even though no one is admitting it. People "bug" rehabbers insistently for info on CP injured raptors in their care, it would not surprise me if they would prefer to rehab an RTH without the public's knowledge. I also believe raptor rehabbers are "on call" (bless them) through many sources when an injured raptor is seen in CP. If the park area where Tristan was seen on the ground was thoroughly searched and no evidence found, there is a strong possibility he was picked up by a rehabber. I am praying for this.... and I am very amused and grateful and not at all surprised by the rapid appearance of our new, young male suitor for Isolde.
Best regards,