Saturday, August 16, 2008


Falcon photographs by Mary Malec
Posted by a Tulsa Hawk Forum member...
"I thought people might enjoy this unusual series of a peregrine falcon that fledged from the Oracle Software Building and landed in the San Francisco Bay. How often do you hear of falcons swimming? "

He stopped a couple of times, seemed to nearly sink but each time swam on strongly.
Thankfully there was a place for this exhausted fledgling to crawl out of the water. Once in water birds can "fly" though it for awhile until they run out of strength but they can't take flight again so there must be a place on the bank that is suitable for scrambling from the water or it's all over.
On occasion birds fall into the Model Boat Pond in Central Park. It has steep concrete sides, unless the birds happen to swim to the steps which is the only place they are capable of helping themselves out, they need human assistance out of the water or they'll drown. D.B.

By the time the falcon recovered, it was dark. Nia, working for SCPBRG (Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group) to assist the fledglings if needed, recovered the swimmer.

Did YOU ever dream of seeing Pale Male and Lola's view of Central Park? Here's your chance! Hustle on down to the CP Greensward Celebration and do it!

Here's a teaser from Central Park photographer Eleanor Tauber who captured some of the fun!

Eleanor said--"The balloon rides are still going on. When I was there at 7am it was fun seeing guys in business suits with brief cases going up before work!"

Bon Voyage!

Donegal Browne
P.S. And while you're at it, go and see The Public Theatre's free production of HAIR at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. From all reports it's marvelous!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tulsa Red-tailed Hawks! Kevin Camp Gives the Central Park Photographers a Run for their Money

All hawk photographs by Tulsa's Kevin Close
Bringing up a pellet and not just any pellet. This one is huge. In fact big enough to make one's back feathers curl. (Talk about perfect timing on Kevin's part.) Plus here's proof that this bird is eating well.

Does this Mocking Bird look like it's smiling to anyone else? While the juvenile has more of a mix of "deer in the headlight" eyes combined with "Oh no! Not again."

And the chase is on! But those talons may be hanging just in case the Mocker gets too pushy and lays itself open for a grab.

The parent is sitting, taking a break, working on a little foot hygiene...

When who should appear but one's progeny intent on stealing the perch and any possible tidbits as well.
I love this one! GERONIMO! A launch off the pedestrian bridge while no doubt vocalizing at full voice. And we no longer have to wonder where those artists got their stances for avenging angels.

Just look at this beautiful healthy juvenile. A little snake added to those urban rodents in the diet does add a fine sheen to one's feathers and a gleam to one's eyes.

Once again, those nasty second generation rodenticides rear their ugly heads in a park where Red-tails hunt rodents. A heads up on the article from Tulsa photographer Keven Close. He's not only good with a camera but a smart cookie as well.
Which reminds me, if anyone isn't doing anything right now, how about penning a letter to your "take your pick" governmental official about axing these second generation rat poisons or even rat poison in general and thinking about a little more sanitation.

Submitted by Illinois's Catbird
Donegal Browne
P.S. The next two days are travel days but if I can find WIFI I'll get the blogs up and we'll keep cookin'.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Urban Hawk Update: Another Passing, Good News, and a Mystery

Photograph by Donegal Browne
Brash, crazy, and comical Hous aka Houston 1 has died.

Here he is the day after his release from rehab and his acceptance by Athena and Atlas of the Triborough nest as one of their own. Little did we know that he was already infected with Frounce from a meal he'd eaten on the Lower Eastside. A meal that killed his father and youngest brother. Though he seemed well on the way to mending, he died suddenly in the night. A grief to all of us, especially Wildlife Rehabilitator Cathy Horvath who had cared for him unstintingly. Here is Cathy's update.

As to my Hous, I am sorry to say that he passed away. He put up a gallant fight, but he was too sick for too long. His organs just shut down. I really in my heart thought that he would pull through. He was getting strong, the cankers were almost all gone, and he even started eating mice on his own. I can't even say in words how happy I was. Then one night I said goodnight to him, a few hours later I woke up and looked in on him and he had passed. It looked like something ruptured maybe down in his crop or his throat and he bled to death. That was such a shock to me. I thought he would be well and that he would fly again. It was horrible.

I have to say that this has been the hardest baby season that we have gone through in a long time. So much sickness. Lead foot is holding his own. He had gotten better with the leg and was eating well on his own finally...when something went wrong and he became neurological. So I had to bring him back inside to hand or force feed him again. It was like he forgot how to eat, and didn't recognize food. I don't know. I have put him outside again and he seems to be doing o.k. I don't know...I wish I had a magic wand to wave over everyone to make them all better, so if you come across one please bring it home for me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In my email to Cathy, I told her that I was so sorry that we, the Irregulars on this particular quest, Adam Welz, Francois Portmann, Jules Corkney, Peter, and myself weren't able to get Hous to her sooner and then perhaps he would have had a better chance.

Photograph by Francois Portman
There is also good news. Trib, Hous's foster brother, also released from rehab, is doing exceptionally well. Francois caught him cheekily stealing his mother's dinner, and having a grand time working on becoming an urban hawk. He's become quite the prince of Astoria Park. Here is Cathy again. This time about sighting Trib now named Buster by the Astoria community.

The day we released Hank, (More on Hank/Houston 2 coming up next. D.B.) when we were leaving the park I spotted Trib or Buster as you all call him now. He was sitting on a lift under the bridge just hanging out. I caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye and I yelled at Bobby...stop the car there is Trib !!!!!!!!!!!! He stopped and backed up, he asked me , how do you know that is Trib ? I said, “Look at that face...I would know it anywhere !!!!!!!!!!!!!” Sure enough... we waited a little while and everyone was taking pictures. The whole time he was standing on one foot. The left foot he had tucked up under himself. He was preening himself and looking at everyone looking at him, when he finally put the left foot down, there it was....the orange band !!! He looks beautiful. And it was funny, when I was looking through the camera lens at him, he cocked his head almost all the way upside down and was looking at me. I was saying to myself that he was looking at me as though to say...”Hey mom, where have you been?

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Cathy Horvath holds Hank/Houston 2, minutes before his release in Astoria Park.

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Bobby, Sadie, and Cathy Horvath watch the newly released Hank. (Correction this isn't H2/Hank this is Trib/Buster.)

Photograph by Francois Portman
Hank/H2 was last sighted when he was released. Photographer Francois Portmann, who was there for the release, came back the next day to check on Hank and couldn't find him. James O'Brien of the Origin of the Species Blog also hunted to no avail. Hank had just vanished.

It's possible that since Hank was capable of feeding himself, he just took off for new less crowded hunting grounds, he'd been cooped up perhaps he needed an adventure, or that perhaps if he didn't beg and cue Athena and Atlas to foster him that they helped him on his way. Either way, he is no longer in Astoria Park, at least that anyone can find. Perhaps even, he flew up very high, saw his natal territory and decided he'd prefer the Lower Eastside and the company of his own mother. You never know.

Remember the adage--Never underestimate a Red-tail!

All Photographs of Athena of Astoria Park by Francois Portmann

The day after Hank's release when Francois went to look for him, he didn't find Hank but he did discover Athena taking a bath in the river. And here is Francois's beautiful sequence of the beautiful Athena's bath.

All photographs of Athena by Francois Portmann

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An Eleanor Tauber Photography Wednesday

All photographs by marvelous Central Park Photographer, Eleanor Tauber

As Eleanor said that The Model Boat Pond ducklings are growing up and every day they look more and more like their mallard Mom.

She continued, "I went to the NABA [New York chapter of the North American Butterfly Association] yearly picnic last Wednesday night at Turtle Pond. After the picnic, when it got dark, some of us went looking for cicadas, and really lucked out quickly. We were headed for Cedar Hill, but found one just when it was starting to transform, on a fence near the “Poland” statue."

"All the changes happened [except for the last photo] within 14 minutes."
(That's fast! The last one I watched took well over an hour to emerge and that doesn't include wing drying time. D.B.)

"We went away for 25 minutes — and came back to see the transformation completed [my final photo]."

Also at Central Park's Turtle Pond, Eleanor captured this Bumble Bee with his proboscis deep in a flower.

AND this Blue Dasher Dragonfly! I'd always wondered how their bodies were segmented. When I was a small child the children of the neighborhood called these dragonflies "Blue Arrows" and their flights were used as a part of our games of Cowboys and Indians.
Un-adult micro-managed free outdoor play in nature, builds creative pathways in the brain, creates a comfort zone of self-reliance, and nurtures young humans who understand, appreciate, and become responsible adults who care what happens to the Earth and it's creatures.
Donegal Browne

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Traffic Circle Mammals, Sunbird, and the Endangered Species Act

Pennsylvania, a very large fenced grassy traffic circle with at least a dozen mammals browsing in it. I took them to be Groundhogs as a number were sitting up looking around in chubby, small eared, Groundhog fashion.

This guy rather looks like a Groundhog to me.

But upon closer inspection at least one of them looks to have a very fluffy tail which looks raccoonish. Possibly one raccoon and the rest were Groundhogs? But what was a raccoon doing in the field during daylight hours?

Check out the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, in full breeding regalia on South African filmaker Adam Welz's blog--

(Sunbirds fill a parallel niche to hummingbirds in the New World.)


Monday, August 11, 2008


From New York Magazine, a piece on the Riverside Hawks--
The Hudsons
They’re the hawks who stole Riverside Park’s heart. And then broke it.
By Jesse Green
Published Aug 10, 2008


Battle to the death on the tent flap and hanging by one appendage yet.

AND--Just in from Tulsa's Ms. Cavert--Falcons!

I'm just back from the woods, and I'm working on finding out more on the Houston Hawks.