Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Which Accipiter? Jr. and Charlotte, Mourning Doves Missing Tails, and the Red Bowl Moves

Photograph by Francois Portmann, www.fotoportmann.com/
Francois took this amazing photograph of an immature Accipiter in Tompkins Square Park. Anyone want to take a shot as to whether it's a Sharp-shinned or a Cooper's Hawk?

Photograph by Francois Portmann
And how about this bird? She does have that hypertensive look in the eyes of a Sharpie, but then on the other hand she looks to have a neck. Sigh.

Photograph by Brett Odom

Have you been wondering what the Central Park South Red-tails are up to? Chief hawkwatcher of Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte has some news.

Good news. Junior is back. I saw him this morning with Charlotte checking out the 888 nest site. According to my log, I haven't had a confirmed sighting of Junior since September and I haven't seen the two of them together at the same time since July.

Let's hope this year is more fruitful than last for them.

Brett B. Odom

Last season, as far as we could tell, Charlotte and Junior did not attempt to nest. Though they infrequently appeared at their previous nest site, Charlotte never appeared to lay any eggs.

In reference to the ongoing conversation about Mourning Doves and their lightly connected tail feathers--Here is the Mourning Dove, just below the squirrel, in my local flock who was missing most of his tail feathers. This photograph was taken on December 11th 2008. I saw him yesterday and new feathers have grown quite rapidly and are about half length currently.

And a word from the always informative John Blakeman about Mourning Doves and their tail feathers--


Mourning Doves are famous for loosing their tail feathers. On freezing rain nights the tail feathers get frozen to tree limbs or roosting surfaces and the next morning the birds just fly off, leaving their tail feathers behind.

This is actually a selective advantage for these relatively long-tailed birds. When bird-eating hawks such as Cooper's Hawks grab a fleeing dove by the tail, the raptor ends up with a fist-full of useless feathers. The dove escapes.

But on the other hand, the now-tailless dove is not so maneuverable, so until it grows a new tail, it will be the bird in the flock that hawks will target.

--John Blakeman

If you'll remember the last time we viewed the red bowl, so mysteriously loved by a Rainbow Drive squirrel, it was on the dark patch of ground to the left of the tree.

Now it is nearly to the flower bed. I suspect that the red bowl was rediscovered after the early January thaw by squirrel. Also note it's now right side up. The position in which squirrel carries it in his mouth.
Jeff Kollbrunner of www.jknaturegallery.com/ sends this link for an update on the Wilderness Protection Legislation


Sally said...

HI Donna! Can you please re-post the link for the wilderness legislation? On the page I am viewing the link runs off to the right side underneath the box with the list of links and when I try to follow it to highlight it to copy it I highlight the entire page...hmmm. I can't see all of it to copy it.

Top photo my vote is for Coopers, the tail appears quite rounded. 2nd one, hmm...I've only seen a very few sharpies and those, except for one tiny one about the size of a merlin, were hard to tell as even with my director showing me why it was a sharpie. I wish we could see the tail better. The head/neck looks more like a coop to me; the eyes appear light orange rather than the deeper red-orange I am used to-could that be a youthful variant, like in 2nd year red tails, the lighter eye color? Or the light in the photo?

Roe said...

I'm not going to hazard a guess on the first one, but I'd say the second accipiter is a sharpie. Just a guess though I'm still learning to tell sharpies and coopers apart as well.

Donegal Browne said...

Here you go Sally. Wilderness Protection update link. I don't know if the link will work if double lined as it appears it may be here, so I'll put it up on the mainpage too.


Good point about possible gradation of eye color in maturing Accipitors. I'll see what I can find out.

Donegal Browne said...

It wouldn't happen naturally, hence our issue with IDing them, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to scrutinize three Coops and three Sharpies all lined up in a row for an hour.

Actually even better would be looking at seven of each. Interestingly and for whatever reason, in humans, the research says, seeing seven of something, say St. Bernards for instance, seems to be a tipping point for solid identification of St. Bernardish-ness.