Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pale Male and Lola, Peregrine Update, Plus the Odom Update on Charlotte and Junior from the 888 7th Ave. Nest, maybe.

1:36PM It's a beautiful day in Central Park. Temperatures in the 60's, sun with a few fluffy clouds, no wind to speak of--but at the moment there isn't even a wiggle on the nest. Pale Male isn't on any of his favorite easily viewed perches either. Though word from the Hawk Bench is that it's Lola who is on the nest.

There is a lovely sleek pair of Mallards on the Model Boat Pond. The hen sleeps while the drake keeps watch.

Still nothing in view but twigs.

2:29PM A pair of Canada Geese seem to have taken a liking to the Model Boat Pond.

3:02:07PM Aha! Here we go. Lola is doing something. There's the back of her head.

3:04:13PM Lola pops her head up for a look around.

3:12:36PM While Pale Male's away the Peregrines will play. A tiercel takes over one of Pale Male and Lola's favorite perches-the railing on Stovepipe.
I just noticed the bird feces on the rail. We've been wanting a sample of Pale Male's DNA for ages and feces is often a way to get DNA. Unfortunately, Dr. Charles Preston told me that feces is a great way to get DNA for Ruffed Grouse, for instance, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work for raptors. (Sigh.)
3:27:48PM Lola starts to rise out of the bowl and stretches.
3:27:57PM Lola turned toward 927, head down over bowl.
3:28:07PM Lola turned to building, head down.
3:29:08 Lola's head disappears, rear of nest.
3:29:46PM Lola settles back into the bowl and disappears.
3:34:50 Pale Male lands on the nest with prey, probably a prepared squirrel. Lola picks it up and she's off the nest.
3:35:00 Pale Male watches Lola fly off with her meal over the Boat House and into the Ramble where she has a favorite eating tree.
3:35:10PM His pale head and white breast blazing in the Spring sunshine, Pale Male looks into the bowl of the nest.
3:35PM He disappears into the nest for what I tend to assume is his afternoon nap in the sun.
3:45PM Exit to check the Cathedral nest. (Next post down.)

I'm busted! Many thanks for the following correction from Raptor Man John Blakeman--

An "oops" in your peregrine story. There can be no peregrine "formel," only a peregrine "falcon." Strictly, there can be a tiercel peregrine, a male, and falcon peregrine, a female. The ancient term "formel" can apply only to hawk and eagle females, never to a peregrine female, which, in the strictest terms, is the "falcon."

Yes, in more modern times, the term "falcon" has been applied to an enter family of raptors, the Falconidae, which of course includes peregrines, prairie falcons, gyrfalcons, and host of others. But originally "falcon" referred only to the female of a falcon species.

In cattle, there are bulls (uncastrated males), steers (castrated males), cows (females that have borne calves), heifers (females that haven't yet borne calves), and several other specific age and sex designations. The perception or linguistic representation of animals in early times was much more complicated than with the simplistic systems used today. Raptors had their own specifications, ones we still wrestle with today, sometimes formally.

Sincerely,John A. Blakeman

Also thank you John, for the clarification of heifer and cow. I hear both words used in Wisconsin frequently and was never sure what the difference was.
Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. Update from Brett Odom--
(But first--Dear Readers, This pair is so late, nearly two weeks past last years incubation start, and have been visiting 888 so infrequently that Brett and I had begun to wonder if perhaps they had an alternative nest site that we weren't aware of as yet. D.B.)

OK. I'm in one of our conference rooms that over looks the Park and I see a hawk soaring over Junior and Charlotte's territory. I stay to watch it to see if it ever lands someplace (perhaps an unknown third nest site).

Well, the hawk takes off for the 7th Avenue nest. I run to my office and look through the scope. It's Junior. He walks behind the glass and a hidden Charlotte gets off the nest and flies off. Junior stays, sitting on the edge for about a minute and then flies off also.

I'd say incubation had started, except, I'm not really sure how long Charlotte was behind the glass. I checked this morning with the scope, but it was too overcast to see behind the glass.

Was she there all morning, or did she just show up right before Junior when I wasn't looking?

Also, if incubation had started, why then did Junior only stay for a minute at the nest after Charlotte left and then take off after her, leaving the nest unattended?

Is it possible that the glass acts like a greenhouse, keeping the egg(s) at the right temperature and they know this and can leave the nest unattended for longer periods of time?

Seems strange, but I guess it's possible.

At least they are still visiting this nest. So if it is just that they are late in the incubation process this season, they should be using this site.

I need one bright shiny morning so I can tell for sure if someone is incubating when I arrive at work.

Brett B. Odom
Brett, I hope by tomorrow that John Blakeman may have some answers for us. And I also hope we get some sun tomorrow, though it's raining quite hard right now. D.B.
And The Peregrine Update from veteran Peregrine watcher, Eileen of NY--
Dear Donna,

Although I live in Ulster County, my "home" nest is actually the Rochester NY pair on the Kodak building, Mariah & Kaver. For wonderful watching & reading , please visit their site

The history section has some interesting info and the section called Imprints has journal entries starting last spring that will actually answer many of the questions regarding PEFA's and their behavior.

The nests in the Netherlands have some interesting stories as well. The forum I follow to keep up with them, as I mentioned, is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Falcon cam forum at although it takes a bit more digging and tracking to follow their stories.

At another nest (Gemert) last year there was a battle that ousted the resident female after the eggs had started to hatch. Only 2 eyases survived, but only through the efforts of the tiercel.

I look forward to answering any other questions you may have.

All the best,
Dear Eileen,
Many thanks for the links and you can bet we'll take advantage of your invitation to answer our questions.
Donegal Browne


rbs said...

I realize you're pretty far away, but in that 3:12 photo, is that a peregrine, or a kestrel?

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Rob,

You had me worried there for a second. I am pretty tired and it was three in the morning when I put it up. I looked again at the photo and yes, I'm sure it's a male Kestrel--Rufous back, blue gray wings, blush chest. Plus I'm used to looking at Pale Male sitting there and a Peregrine would be nearly PM's height or more if it were a female. This bird is about half as tall as Pale Male.

Whew, that's a relief.