Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday Micellany--Manhattan Red-tail Update, Baby Squirrels, a Baby Giraffe, GHO video, and Piliated Woodpeckers

Photograph by Dave Treybig , Piliated Woodpeckers

Dear Donna:

I hear a characteristic "Kack, kack, kack" somewhere in the front yard, and investigated. Margot and I have seen Piliated Woodpeckers around infrequently since moving here from the Texas Gulf Coast. But these were sounds that were relatively close to the house. Recently we observed the birds engaged in building up their health prior to nesting activities.

I walked to the front door, slowly opened it, and thrilled to find in our front yard, using short stumps as a source of art and ant larvae. I managed to get a few photos of these elusive to photograph (for me). and I though might enjoy the spectacle of these magnificent birds.

Unless there are no Piliated Woodpeckers around, why would people feel motivated to use poisons and poisoned ant traps to reduce the number of ants?. Using the birds as a natural process for any eradication seems to be a more environmentally friendly mechanism to control ants, if any ants seem to be a pest.

Attached is a shot of two piliated woodpecker on the same pine stump. The shot was taken immediately after opening the front door, as was shot through glass. Still, all in all, I thought some might be interested in these interestingly colored wild creatures "looking like masked bandits."

Dave and Margot Treybig

Thank you Dave, for sharing your sighting. I wish I had those birds in my front yard. And as to ant poison, and the more natural way, these guys, of ridding oneself of an overabundance of ants--I couldn't have said it better.

As many of you know, Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte's egg is due to hatch. Brett Odom the only Hawkwatcher who can actually see into
the nest enclosure hoped for a hatch over the weekend before his trip out of town--

I'm really hoping that we have a hatch when I return. I hate that I'm away during the hatch window. I'm pretty sure that on Thursday Charlotte was still sitting on an egg. I saw a white blob, but since it wasn't moving I'm assuming it was an egg.

After the terrible NYC hawk season last year and another nest failure with Pale Male and Lola this year, I'm not feeling very confident with Chalotte and Junior. But I'm hoping they prove me wrong.

Do you know if anyone has been able to confirm where Hawkeye/Rose and Isolde/Norman moved to?

One of my friends that lives on 85th and Columbus had a hawk land on his terrace. I'm guessing this is the Riverside pair, but perhaps it could be one of the cathedral hawks.

On another note, I'm visiting with my mom in MS and she moved into a new house last year. Behind her is a hay field surrounded by a stand of pine trees. When I was walking my dog early this morning a saw a red-tail fly into one of the pine trees. I didn't think about it, but it is actually a prime spot for a nest. I'm sure the hay field is home to hundreds of voles. I might try to walk around in the pine trees and search for a nest today or tomorrow if the poison ivy isn't too bad.

Brett B. Odom

Thank you Brett. We all have our fingers crossed. I'm dearly hoping that they'll be a little white fluffy head across the street from your office when you return.
As to Isolde and Norman, Cathedral Hawkwatcher Winkie sent in an email with her take on the situation. Find it further down.

Regarding Hawkeye and Rose, formally of Fordham, it still isn't clear whether they are the hawks that are now nesting in the New York Botanical Gardens on a similar structure to that used by them previously. Or if only one is there with a new mate, or if it is a different pair altogether.

I was hoping that perhaps thoughts that Isolde and Norman had abandoned their nest site at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine might have been similar to those of last season. Last March I heard that they had abandoned the nest behind the elbow of St. Andrew. When I returned to NYC from Wisconsin in early April, 2008, I staked out the site and watched for hours. I looked from every angle, I waited and I waited. Nothing.

Then just as I was about to give up, I thought I saw some movement. And after waiting some more, I was rewarded with a look at the top of Isolde's head. Due to all the activity around the nest she had just been staying deep in the nest, only coming up for infrequent very fast switchs with Norman. I was hoping that the same thing might have happened this season. That Isolde was just staying deep and therefore the nest seemed abandoned unless you stuck it out watching for hours. But then I received the following email from hawkwatcher Winkie, a regular observer of this nest.

Hi Donna,

I wish I had something interesting to report, but nada it is. Since early courting, I have rarely seen either Norman or Isolde. My husband thinks he sees the female across 125th st, sometimes near to the CUNY campus.

I saw Norman late in the afternoon several weeks back. He was circling Morningside Park and headed toward Marcus Garvey Park about sundown. Never to be seen on the heights again.

I also have not looked on the other side (close and school) of the cathedral for a nest. There just has not been enough activity around the cathedral to warrant a better look. There is so much more people activity than last year.

The work is still going on the roof of the cathedral. The public is now settling into the towers (Avalon Palace,or something like that). Robert has been more devoted in his search and I don't think has seen anything either. James has an occasional report of one them over 125th st. So far as can be determined they do not have a nest this year. I will let you know if there is anything that is reportable.


A beautiful find from Robin of Illinois--

Most babies measuring 5ft. would be considered big, but newborn giraffe, Margaret, at Chester Zoo , UK is seen as unusually small for her species. HOW SWEET!! She is one of the smallest giraffes ever born at Chester Zoo but pint-sized Margaret will soon be an animal to look up to.

Little Margaret, who is the first female Rothschild giraffe born at the zoo, is being hand-reared by her dedicated keepers. The first calf for six-year-old mum Fay, Margaret, who was born two weeks early, tipped the scales at just 34 kilos and is a mere 5ft tall.

Tim Rowlands, team leader of the Giraffes section, said: 'Margaret is potentially one of the smallest giraffe calves we have ever seen. Fay isn't the largest of giraffes and Margaret was also early which might go some way to explaining her size. 'Margaret was having difficulty suckling so our keeping team are now hand-rearing her'..

Longtime reader and contributor Diane D’arcy has some suggested reading for Pat Gonzalez about Great Horned Owls--

Hi Donna:
Well, as to the owl, Pat should read Bernard Heinrich's book One man's Owl. I believe it is out of print but can be gotten at any good library. They are fearsome birds.

Diane D’arcy

From GHO watcher Pat Gonzalez—
I’ve added some more photos as well as music to my owl video.

It is that time of year again--baby squirrel season. And wildlife rehabilitator Carol Vinzant has her hands full as usual. Meet Garfield and Hayes--
Garfield is probably two weeks younger than Hayes and he started out a lot skinnier. He’s growing a lot, but Hayes is still the big brother. Here he is stealing the bottle.

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