Friday, May 02, 2008

Good News about Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte, Raising Baby Squirrels, and Blakeman on Peregrine Nest Failures

Photograph by Brett Odom
Guess what folks? It sounds like Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. are getting serious about the season after all! Brett Odom sent the news---

Hey Donna,
The activity at 7th Avenue has definitely increased both yesterday and today. Instead of just flying in, landing at the nest and flying out. Junior and Charlotte have engaged in aerial acrobatics in the air space between my building and 888 7th Avenue and over the Park both today and yesterday. Today, they both sat together on the roof of the 7th Avenue building within inches of each other, which is very rare. And there MAY have been copulation during that time.
Someone came into my office while I was watching them so I cannot confirm that it happened. But I was able to see them out of the corner of my eye and could tell that they weren't just sitting still, there was some aggressive movement. Junior then flew off while Charlotte sat there for over 30 minutes. She then flew over to another part of the building and finally flew away at 6PM.Even if it wasn't copulation that I witnessed, this is still a good sign. Perhaps she is getting broody.


Brett B. Odom

And we know that Junior and Charlotte have been successful with a late start on the season before! In 2005, after their first clutch failed, they double clutched on the Trump Parc nest, hatched two lively, healthy eyasses, and got them trained to take care of themselves before winter blew in. Perhaps they'll do it again!

Here's one for the "You Just Never Know" category. The other day, a lovely woman named Carol Vinzant, who I didn't know, called me on another matter. Well, we got to talking about this and that. Then somehow got onto the topic that animals have personalities just like humans.

It turns out Carol is a squirrel rehabilitator. When a baby squirrel falls out of a nest and can't be rescued by her mother or a litter is orphaned, Carol gets a call. She says it's fascinating. Some squirrels are shy, some cuddley, some aggressive, and others just want to be in your pocket. And to prove her point she sent me this photo.

Carol said, "And here’s one of my baby squirrels. I don’t think this is the recommended feeding technique, but one of them is only comfortable in my pocket for feeding."

She's also working on a Wildlife Tourism Website--A place to find out where to visit animals close to home without having to go to the Antarctic or the Fijis. More on that as it progresses!

Then in came a note from Eagle Ellie, who sent in the Norfolk Eagle link---

It’s been exciting reading about all the red-tail hatchs but at the same time very disappointing about Pale Male and Lola.

There is finally some good news, however, regarding the Norfolk Botanical Garden eagles that I had emailed you about back in March. They had a hatch on Sunday!!! YEA!!! After losing five eggs in two clutches this year, the sixth egg of the second clutch hatched and they have been very busy taking care of their little eaglet!

Unfortunately for our Richmond peregrines, there wasn’t a happy outcome. (Please see attachment.) They were off to a good start laying a clutch of four eggs but, sadly, something went terribly wrong and their nest failed. Since it appears to have been a rare incident, I was wondering if perhaps you or John Blakeman could comment on it. Last year this pair laid their first clutch on a bridge but water washed the eggs away. A second clutch was laid at a nest box on Riverfront Plaza (which is where they nested again this year) and they successfully hatched and raised four. You can check out the Richmond falcon cam and updates at The falcons have nested here since 2003 having used other nest boxes in the city and without any problems.

Thanks again for everything you do and for keeping us so well informed!


I sent Ellie's email off to John Blakeman and here is what he had to say--


I haven't a clue as to the cause of the nesting failure at Richmond.

But take no concern. It is quite unnatural for a falcon pair to consistently produce offspring every year, especially for younger, less experienced pairs. As with Pale Male in New York, the most important fact is that the pair remains active at the nest site, meaning that they will return next year and have another attempt.

Everyone should rejoice in merely having these birds around, to watch what they do. The production of eyasses is an additional, but not annually assured event.

My regards.


John A. Blakeman

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