Thursday, December 18, 2008

What is THAT doing in Kay and Jay's Nest? Crow at the Bath? And Scat and Tracks.

Screen capture courtesy of Jackie of Tulsa and KJRH TV
Jay, I think, stands in the Tulsa nest next to two Sycamore fruits. (Many thanks to Jackie for the fruit ID.)

Now just what are those doing there?

Screen capture courtesy of Jackie of Tulsa nd KJRH TV
These fruits are about the size of golf balls.
It isn't as if Red-tails don't sometimes bring some curious things to their nests. In the NYC nests we've seen newspaper, plastic bags, foam rubber noodles, bits of rubber, insulation, for instance beyond the usual twigs, strips of bark, dried grasses and bits of other foliage.

But might there be a specific method to this madness. A sycamore fruit is really many many nutlettes, each connected to a bit of fiber or fluff that floats the seeds hither and yon to possible new growing spots.
I don't know how many Sycamores we have near Red-tail nesting sites in NYC but we certainly have many many London Planes which produce a smaller version of the Sycamores fruit. Though I've never seen any taken to the nests. Which doesn't mean it hasn't happened you understand. We don't see everything from the ground. Though when I did get a look into Pale Male's nest, I saw no fluff.
Is there a thought on the Tulsa Hawk Pair's minds that the fluff might make good nest lining?
Lola has a tendency to choose her nest lining very carefully. She pulls strips of bark off trees. I've also seen Charlotte with tree bark strips. There is also a good bit of dried grass gathered and that I did see in Pale Male and Lola's nest.
Fluff does seem like something nice to sit on and likely it would be a good insulator as well.
Was fluff used in past Tulsa seasons and the hawks know where it comes from and so the fruits were brought to the nest in preparation for use?
That would be long range planning as the fruit has to reach the next stage of maturation and break open in order to have fluff visible.
In many parts of the country the Sycamore nutlettes tend to float about in February and March.
I can't wait to see what happens!

I don't know that I've ever seen the Crows tarry at the bath for anything except pasta prep so today was unusual. Can you figure out what is going on?

It took me forever to figure out what the Crow was doing. Why I'm not sure as it is a common activity. Perhaps because with Crow behavior it is often somewhat convoluted. But if I have sussed it out correctly, the Crow was warming her feet.
Friend sits on the wire waiting for the squirrels and I to leave.
And he is beginning to loose patience.
It is after civil twilight but the birds are eating when normally they would have gone to roost long ago. The storm is going to be bad and they know it.
Coming across these rabbit prints I was reminded how tracks change depending on the medium they are left in or in this case the depth of the medium.

In deeper snow, the exclamation points of bunny tracks can turn into a print of the back feet and a drag for the front. Or the rabbit just sinks into the snow, so that sometimes the prints can be at the bottom of the body depression or just a wallow of a depression. See all types in the photo above.
This is a very low res photo but it was the only one I got of three of the rabbits in the same frame, before they bounded off in three different directions. This is what always happens with a group of rabbits who are flushed. I suspect it is wired in as this course would force the predator to make a decision as to whom to chase. And a split second of decision making time might make the escape successful for all.
I ran across a 1950's field guide of animal tracks in the library which also included painstaking drawings of scat. This made me remember that when I found scat I should share the knowledge. For those who don't know what scat is. It's feces. Or in common parlance--animal poop. This particular scat/poop is quite common and most will no doubt recognize it. Yes, it is the scat of the Cottontail Rabbit.

Here is a macro shot. In life these examples were about three quarters the size of Cocoa Puffs.


1 comment:

Sally said...

Dear Donna,

I watched the video clip up on the Tulsa hawk page and although it does not show which bird brought the balls to the nest, Kay seemed to have a lot of interest in placing that twig and messed with it and the other twigs for some time. She also did a kind of belly-waddle and rear-ward scratching motion down in the bowl as if she were shaping it, or testing it for the right "fit". I found it very interesting to watch her try to get it just right.