Monday, May 12, 2008

Three Times Sad- The Riverside Eyasses

Preliminary Necropsy Report: Lincoln Karim reports that the male eyass taken to the State Wildlife pathologist, Dr. Ward Stone, died of an acute hemorrhage of the lungs. This sounds like a response from anti-coagulant rat poison but definitive results are not in as yet. Further testing is being done for anti-coagulates and other toxins.

Many were transformed into Hawkwatchers by the Riverside eyasses and their parents.

From reader J. Bliss who often visited Riverside Park and then suddenly discovered something very special there--

I run almost every day through Riverside, and was thrilled to see the nest weeks ago. I finally saw a fuzzy little head last week...but Sunday saw nothing, and worried that they wouldn't make it through this last windy rainstorm today, with the nest perched on that flimsy branch. Now I find that they didn't make it through the one on Friday, unless poison was the culprit. How sad. We've made it so hard for creatures to survive and procreate. It was a tiny piece of wildlife in the middle of our toxic city which brought smiles to our faces.

We can only hope that next season once again, but with a better outcome, there will be eyasses to bring smiles in Riverside park. And lest we forget, there is still one very good piece of news, their parents are still alive and well.

A pigeon delivery at Riverside Park

From John Blakeman, with a correction of my mistake (Oops!) concerning frounce--


The causative organism of frounce is Trichomonas gallinae, which is a protozoan, not a bacterium.

The frounce issue must surely be considered. Since I first learned of Pale Male's frequent takings of pigeons, and as with any falconer familiar with the depredations of frounce in raptors, I've wondered why there have been so few known encounters with it. That holds equally true for all of the urban peregrines across the continent, a great deal of which should have gotten frounce from the pigeons they prefer.

Apparently, wild Red-tails and Peregrines are much less susceptible to frounce microbes than captive (or perhaps, eyass) hawks and falcons.

--John Blakeman


Three Baby Hawks Are Most Most Likely Dead
New York Times - United States

By Sewell Chan

As if this Monday morning weren’t dreary and chilly enough, now comes news that three nestlings born in recent weeks to red-tailed hawks in the south end of Riverside Park are believed to have died.

The body of only one young hawk — or eyas — has been recovered so far. The city’s avid bird-watchers have confirmed that the other two babies are not in their nest and are feared dead as well.

“It’s so devastating,” said Dr. Leslie Day, who recovered the body of one of the chicks on Sunday and kept the body refrigerated to preserve it.This morning, Dr. Day, a naturalist who teaches at the Elisabeth Morrow School and the Bank Street College of Education, gave the body to a friend, the photographer Lincoln Karim, who planned to drive to Delmar, N.Y., near Albany, and turn the corpse over to Ward B. Stone, who runs the Wildlife Pathology Unit of the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Stone is expected to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Dr. Day said she first heard something might be amiss on Saturday morning, when she got a call from Beth Bergman, a friend who watches and photographs the birds. Later that evening, Dr. Day received an e-mail message from Mr. Karim, also expressing alarm. (Mr. Karim runs the Web site, which follows the lives of two more well-known East Side hawks, Pale Male and Lola.)

“On Sunday morning I went out at 7 a.m.,” Dr. Day said in a phone interview this morning. “Standing at the nest, I could see there were no babies. They had become so large, standing at the rim, strengthening their wings.”

Dr. Day said she told a friend, Cal Vornberger, the author of “Birds of Central Park,” that she was worried. “At that moment a dog walker came by,” Dr. Day recalled, “saying another dog walker had seen the mom carrying her dead baby out to drop on the ground.” The dog walker told Dr. Day that the other dog walker said she could not bear to leave the body on the ground and had placed it in a bag, then in a trash can. Dr. Day and the second dog walker, who herself walked by, went over to the trash can and retrieved the body.

“And this was Mother’s Day,” Dr. Day said sadly.

News of the deaths has quickly made its way across blogs watched by bird lovers.
While the cause of death awaits a toxicology analysis, Dr. Day suspected that the parents may have fed the nestlings pigeons or rats that contained lethal levels of poison — a common cause of death for the delicate hawks.

Bird-watchers said they were saddened by the news. “I’ve lived on Riverside Park since 1969 and it’s only this year that I’ve seen a hawk,” said Carol Andrus, who was walking her Rottweiler, Bruno, on Saturday. “We had a lot of seagulls and robins and other stuff. I’ve been watching these hawks — they are just fascinating birds.

On Saturday morning I went to the park really early and a woman was standing there crying, saying: ‘The baby hawks aren’t there. They’re dead.’ About 15 other people were there. I didn’t want to cry publicly. I said to myself, ‘C’mon Bruno, we’re going home.’ I told my daughter and then she started to cry. It’s so sad.”

Donegal Browne

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