Friday, June 20, 2008

Falconers as Rehabbers, Winkie on Cathedral Fledges, Houston Eyass Question, and Griffin News from The Alex Foundation

Newly Released Eyass- Triborough Bridge Park

Roe, a Falconer from Idaho sent in his comments concerning yesterday's post-- Rehabilitated Raptor Release

If you want to be truly successful rehabilitator of birds of prey you need to look to your local group of falconers for standards and advice about keeping raptors healthy.

Generally speaking the standards for housing and keeping of birds of prey for rehabbers is inadequate and lower than the rules falconers adhere to.

If you want to house and rehab BOPs properly then you will need to learn some basic falconry techniques like creance flying to build muscle as well as examples of what a good mews looks like. Some rehabbers will tell you that creance flying is unneeded, but I would say that it is a requirement for any bird that has undergone a serious injury. How well would you be able to survive in the wild after you had a major surgery without having undergone physical therapy? Creance flying is an excellent form of physical therapy for these animals when done correctly.

I don't know anything about the rehabbers in NY, but nationwide rehabbers have a bad reputation among falconers because they tend to do the bare minimum for the animals in their care. This may not be the case in NY, but if you are planning on becoming a rehabber then please work for a positive change of this perception and do more than the average rehabber is willing to do. Also if you do decide to get in touch with falconers in your area try not to get discouraged if at first no one responds to your requests, it's hard for other falconers to get "in" to a new community of falconers so it may be exceptionally hard for a non-falconer to get in.

The best thing would be for you to find a falconer that is also a rehabber to learn from.

I'm a falconer out of Idaho and I'll always be glad to answer any of your questions, or pass them along to more experienced falconers in my area. I myself am new to falconry, but if there is any doubt about the wealth of knowledge that falconers hold on BOPs just remember that Falconers are the only reason we have Peregrine Falcons in this country.

Anyway sorry for the rant, glad to see that someone else cares about these animals as much as I do.


A Response from wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath, whose release of raptors was featured in the post--

I am also a licensed falconer but don't have time to practice the sport right now with everything going on.

We regularly do creance fly potential releases for conditioning purposes as the largest cage we have available is 80' long which is great but flying on a 150' creance line a few trips till the bird is winded is even better.

There are dangers to creance flying though and it must be done very carefully in open areas when we can time it around no soccer or little league games being played.

Accidental injuries can occur as well if the bird doesn't land well, so it is done with caution .

Photo: D.Browne

Thursday--Eyass above St. Andrew, with beak upturned, begs energetically.

From Cathedral Observer Winkie, a discerning take on the two eyasses just off the nest on St. Andrew's shoulder--

Monday night, Rob and I were still hanging around the apse as the rolling thunder of a tremendous storm gathered. The visible fledge was on a higher scaffold. And there was distinct begging. This begging did appear to be from two different, but close sources - somewhere around the chapels under St. Andy.

Rob's report states all very well, except he left before I did. ( When the rain really started to come, the fledge hung tight and did not seem bothered by the weather.

After comparing both Rob and Lincoln's shots on Monday to my own sighting on Tuesday, the Monday's fledge appears to be our Tuesday's lower scaffold hugger. This bird appears to be a female. It is larger, darker and distinctly ruddier in the breast than the other. She is also clumsy.

The crenellation flyer is slightly smaller, for now, but actually well coordinated, all considered. Certainly only a slight difference in weight can make a great difference in developing these early flight skills. All the more reasons to keep an human eye out during these first days off the nest.

Thanks Winkie. There is no question in my mind that newly fledged Red-tails in the city are benefited by human guardians until they get near full flight skill. The big city is a very dangerous place for babies who's flight skills are learned from the ground.

From Betty Jo in CA--

Hi Donna,

Thunder was back in the nest yesterday and was "photo-ed" looking up at the camera. She is really SOME HAWK!

Is there any news on the air conditioner fledges?

Betty Jo

There is no question Thunder has personality plus and shattered some of my assumptions about fledglings and Red-tails in general. That cam has produced a tremendous amount of urban Red-tail information--the amount of night flying for instance, to name just one category.

As to the Houston eyasses, they are still in rehab as they did come off the nest rather young. Personally I think they were looking for a spot a touch cooler than a metal grate in the sun with hot air from an air conditioner pouring out. Though Mom did yeoman's duty in shading them with her body and taking the sun's heat onto herself.

At any rate, we're suffering from a lack of information when it comes to where the Houston parents are. It's a new nest and we don't have the communication loop that evolves around nests over time. I believe the pair are no doubt still in the area as it's their territory and it's June.

In my opinion, they'd still be protecting it from possible encroachment by other Red-tails even if they weren't full year residents. Which they most likely are-- similar to the other urban Red-tails in town.

I did speak with one downtown hawkwatcher this week who said that there are other green spaces in the area that the parents frequent which might be more suitable for the fledglings to be released into rather than the Baruch lawn which has no branching-from-the-ground opportunities, which sounded hopeful.

Speaking of the Houston family, Katherine wrote into the comments section her idea to contact the Mayor's Plant a Million Trees organization about putting some of those trees into the Baruch lawn in case the current nest is used again. I don't have Katherine's email address to give her the necessary information.

So, Million Trees Katherine hit the contact me button and email me directly so I have your address, and we can get cooking on your idea.

We still need some confirmed sightings of the parents within the territory. Therefore it would be grand if more experienced watchers would go down and do a thorough look around and send in sightings to the blog. If we can't locate the parents firmly and find a suitable release point, a decision might be made by someone that the fledglings should be released in another safer area. And as anyone who has searched for hawks in a territory without watchers who know at least some of the non-nest-tending perches--it's can be very tough to spot them. So if the Houston Fledglings are to go back to the Houston parents some diligent work must be done to secure that outcome.

From Arlene at The Alex Foundation--
Griffin will have his TV debut on July 4th on Animal Planet.
(Since the sad passing of Alex, his colleague Griffin, also an African Grey Parrot has taken up the standard for parrot smarts. D.B.)

I am also including the other show dates that will be in the Extraordinary Animals series.
Season 1
Ep. 1 The Elephant Artist - Pachyderm Picasso airs 6/13
Ep. 2 The Grim Reaper Dog - Sit, Stay, Die NO AIRDATE YET
Ep. 3 The Smartest Sealion - Cerebral Sealion 6/20
Ep. 4 The Genius Parrot - Bird Brainiac 7/4
Ep. 5 The Greatest Ape - Orangu-Can? 6/27
Ep. 6 The Super Sonic Dolphin 7/18
Ep. 7 The Memory Chimp - Chimpan-Genius 7/25
Since this series was filmed by Blink Films in the UK, it has already been aired overseas. I did find this link about Dr. Pepperberg and Griffin in "The Sun" newspaper web site that discusses the show.

1 comment:

cvinzant said...

I've gotta get you in touch with Dennis Edge, Bob Arihood and Francois, the hawk photographers down here in the East Village. They're all incredible spotters and will have a good idea what's going on with the hawks.
I saw a red-tail twice this week in Tompkins square, which is just 7 blocks north of Houston.
How much space will the eyasses need for branching? In addition to East River Park there are also a couple private walled in cemeteries around here.