Monday, January 12, 2009


Eagle Photographs by Park Ranger Rob Mastrianni
I love your site and wanted to share my Bald Eagle sightings with you. I'm a Park Ranger at Inwood Hill Park and lead a Winter Eagle Watch program every Saturday at 8am on the Dyckman Ballfield (the very northwest of Inwood Hill Park, at the Hudson River).

On 1/3/09 we saw 2 adult eagles and 1 immature at 8:10am. This week, 1/10/09 at 8:20 and 8:50am we saw 2 adult eagles. It is such a rush to see these amazing raptors so close to the city!I did not see any bands on them.

I attached some photos. The overcast sky are from yesterday and the others from 1/3/09.

You too can may see Bald Eagles at the Winter Eagle Watch up in Innwood Park on Saturdays at 8AM.

Pale Male sits on the railing of Stovepipe, April 4, 2008

Lola takes a break and preens her tail, April 4, 2008

Jeff Kollbrunner went into his archives at and the NOAA weather data for New York City on relevant dates in March, 2008.

Egg Date & Weather Data,
From my recent news archive here is my March 8, 2008 post on Pale Male and Lola egg status from March 2008:

March 8: The heavy rain interfered with us being able to search for our hawk family today. Please see the many new images from 2/16 to present, including Mama sitting in her new nest that I have added to the raptor photo gallery on page 20.

Additional good news, Pale Male & Lola have produced their first egg(s) of this nesting season on 3/6 a day or two after our Briarwood family. Red-Tailed nesting season is now officially well on its way. Stay tuned for continued updates and new

Per NOAA weather data
On this date the weather was as follows:
March 7, 2008:high 43low 34M rain 1.22"
March 8:high 55low 37rain 0.95"

The rain basically continued steady from 3/7 at 6pm through 3/8 to 8pm with only a couple very minor breaks less than an hour during this time frame.

On March 19 & 20th once again:

March 19, 2008: high 50, low 40, rain 1.00"

March 20:high 57-low 37-rain 0.24

The rain basically continued steady from 3/19 at 3pm through 3/20 to 5pm with one or two very minor breaks less than an hour during this time frame.

I don't have the wind data for any of these dates.

All the best,

Senate to consider expanding wilderness protection

Sun Jan 11, 6:50 am ET

WASHINGTON – Congress is considering whether to set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as wilderness in an early showdown that threatens to derail pledges by Senate leaders to work cooperatively as a new administration takes office.The largest expansion of wilderness protection in 25 years has bipartisan support and would include California's Sierra Nevada mountain range, Oregon's Mount Hood, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and parts of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.

The bill was scuttled last year after objections from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who said spending in the bill was excessive — nearly $4 billion over five years. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is seeking a rare Sunday vote in an apparent effort to punish Coburn and antagonize his GOP colleagues.

The scheduled Sunday session would try to limit GOP stalling tactics and move the bill forward.Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the measure represents years of work by lawmakers from many states and both parties. The legislation combines about 160 bills covering nearly every state.

Besides new wilderness designations — the highest level of government protection for public lands — the bill would designate the childhood home of former President Bill Clinton in Hope, Ark., as a national historic site and expand protections for dozens of national parks, rivers and water resources.In a statement, Coburn said the "earmark-laden" measure "makes a mockery of voters' hopes for change.

"For example, Coburn said, the bill includes $3 million for a "road to nowhere" through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska; $460 million for a water project designed to save 500 salmon in California; and $3.5 million to help celebrate the 450th birthday of St. Augustine, Fla., in 2015.

Environmental groups also oppose the Alaska road. The rest of the bill, they say, would be a huge accomplishment for Congress.___

On the Net:
Information on the bill, S. 22, can be found at

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Karen--Keeping those feet warm (a previous storm).

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Karen--Several of the doves had ice on their tails today. I don't think I've seen that before.

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Why do the doves have ice on their tails? Is it only because the ice has melted off their warm bodies, but the tail not being directly heated by the body doesn't melt the ice off? Or did the birds shelter somewhere in which their tails were exposed to the elements while their bodies were under cover?

Phtograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Karen--"And two each had a loose tail feather, maybe dislodged by the ice or attempt to preen the ice off?"

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Goodness, this Mourning Dove's rump looks like it exploded. And her long tail feathers? They all appear to be missing.
The top most splayed feather almost looks like it is in backwards.

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
A Mourning Dove's long tail feathers fall out very easily as an anti-becoming-lunch strategy. If the tail feathers of an agitated dove are touched with any pressure at all, it's as if the dove pulls a tail feather release lever, and poof, they're no longer attached to her body. The predator ends up with a pile of long skinny feathers in foot or mouth. But I've never seen the exploding rump feathers issue, and I've seen any number of doves who've "dropped" their long feathers.
Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

My recollection is that the dove hadn't lost all her long tail feathers, I think...

You have to look like a hawk :-) at the photos, but I think in one of them her or his tail feathers are visible. Although I didn't realize until you posted them that the photos make it look like the tail feathers are all missing.

The backwards feather on another dove was actually held on by a piece of ice. Otherwise, my guess is it was not attached to the bird in any other way.

When my parakeets of years ago molted their long tail feathers, they had balance issues for awhile. I'm not seeing that with these doves.

Donegal Browne said...

The "backwards" feather I was looking at, though unlikely that it really is backwards unless it's loose and got stuck to her again is on the bird with the starburst of feathers on her bum. The one we were discussing. And she may have some long feathers, you're right they just blend into the ice covered deck as they are ice covered too. As to the perched bird, that "extra" feather is stuck in the snow next to her, yes?

Ive noticed also that Mourning Doves don't seem to have discernable flight or balance issues when the long feathers drop. Possibly because the Doves are built to drop the feathers easily, so evolutionarily they perhaps have developed built in balance corrections as a secondary factor for easy tail feather drop.

Karen Anne said...

"As to the perched bird, that "extra" feather is stuck in the snow next to her, yes? "

No, actually. These photos are really deceptive, I didn't realize that. That feather was swinging in the wind. The birds hang out on the deck railing, but they don't roost there long term.

I am curious as to where they do shelter, I am keeping an eye out.

Karen Anne said...

It later occurred to me to wonder, about the two doves with a single feather loose and just held on by ice, if it was the dove's own feather or one that had belonged to a neighbor when they were all cuddled up (I assume.)

Donegal Browne said...

As I've never gone at dark to putter around in the neighbor's bushes with a flashlight, I'm not positive, but I think that the 8 Doves who regularly visit my feeder, roost in a neighbor's yard where three large Spruce are grouped together.

On a cold but sunny winter's day, the Doves will group in one of my more isolated and therefore sun accessible spruces and sunbath, sheltered from the wind when not foraging.

As to the accidental deception of photographs, absolutely they can be. I started out just doing field notes and text reports, then eventually added field photographs. And as I'd been there when the photos were taken I had an innate understanding of what they obviously portrayed, at least to me and sometimes reduced the text drastically. I then realized as the reader-viewer had not been there, if I reduced the notes too much that there were misunderstandings.

Which absolutely happens to me too, if I am sent photos, without an explanation of the action. We believe we see what the action is, but that entails making assumptions which may be mistaken. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but only if there are enough words attached to establish the action and backstory.

Anonymous said...

I have a young dove in a cage in my home that I rescued from the Michigan artic cold that had its rib cage and wing root joint ravaged by a cat. It is doing exceptionally well, eating and drinking and has regained most of its flying ability. It also has dropped all of its tail feathers from the stress of living with and being handled by me and I would guess the abrupt change in temperatures from outside to inside. I will release it closer to Spring, hopefully with a new set of feathers. One further note, my live in pet pigeon also has been dropping some large feathers as of late and I am sure it has to do with the time of year and molting.

Donegal Browne said...


It sounds like you have done a terrific job with the wounded dove. Great work! Often birds will succumb to a bacteria that lives in a cat's mouths and yours has survived. And thank you for doing all the hard work involved with healing a bird.

Yes, they do loose their tail feathers very easily don't they? I'm assuming that unless your bird has developed bald spots from the "large feathers" falling out that things are progressing as a regular molt.

Something I did learn when taking care of doves is that not only do they eat seeds but they also eat insects. If you can you might want to consider getting her one of the products such as Insect Pate, that consist of freeze dried bugs. Barring that sometimes doves will eat very small meal worms which are sold as fish food.

Once again grand job!