Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Urban Red-tails Kay and Jay, Wild Turkeys, and the Ms

Easing her way back into life as usual--
April 7-Kay in a tree at Riverparks at 12:30 pm - about 1/3 mile west of the nesting tower.

A closer look at Kay in the same position.

Kay on the tower, around 5:15 pm.

Kay and Jay, sunset, keeping an eye on things.

Crop bulging, Jay keeps a particular eye on an attacking Kestrel who seems to be a serial offender.

Cheryl says, "I have seen the Kestrel zinging Jay before at sunset. Also several Tulsa Hawk forum members have captured screen shots of a kestrel on the tower.
- Cheryl

Some answers to my questions of yesterday to Rose Cuthbert, Tulsa Hawkwatcher--

There are not many pigeons in the park, but then there never are. There is, however, an abundance of mourning doves.

The Langenheim pair does has a nest nearby, about maybe a quarter of a mile at the most. Right along the creek bank in a tree. It is way way back in someone's yard so any observations must be done at a good distance. Cheryl found it. I don't have the kind of camera equipment she does, so I just normally drive by to make sure it is still up there and if there are any hawks flying around near it.

Thanks Rose. So that's the nest that was found in the back yard.

Have you ever seen one of the Tulsa RTs nab a Mourning Dove? I don't remember ever seeing it. We have a few in Manhattan but rare compared to rural areas and I've not seen the urban hawks get one. I'd think the Red-tails would have a much harder time catching Doves than they do pigeons. Mourning Doves don't circle, are harder to spy on the ground due to coloration, and are very fast up and through the air to cover.

Here In WI I've seen Doves sitting on wires not far from an RT. It could just have been a Dove who wasn't long for this world. But maybe not as these rural hawks seem to usually stick to voles, mice, and I hear rabbits though I've not seen them with one of those either.

I was told by a retired dairy farmer in the area, Ron Wade, that back when he had dairy cows and therefore lots of grain around to feed cows that a flock of pigeons lived on his farm. They would often sit up on roof of the silo to sun themselves. At which time the resident Red-tail pair, would come sweeping round the silo from the rear and pluck off a pigeon, rather like the hunting of urban RTs coming round the corner of a building and snatching a perched bird.

Therefore a some point in time at least some rural Red-tails hunted pigeons, but as there are so far fewer of them than there once was, perhaps fewer hawks know the techniques. And there are just far fewer pigeons available in the first place to hunt at the current time as many of the dairy farms are now gone.

The M formel: Same position, different day, with different light. I was there a bit after sunrise. Very blustery, temps in the 20's, and as usual no sign of the tiercel. Though no doubt he is there, as usual, enjoying his cleverness at not being seen.

I was up early this morning and was rewarded with a pair of male turkeys displaying first against each other until one, "won the field", the second retired and then showing off for the hidden females in the bushes.


All the wonderful screen captures today are courtesy of Tulsa Hawkwatcher Sally of Kentucky as are the following updates on Kay and Jay.
8:22 a.m. Kay visits the tower. Checks her nest, moves a piece of bark and a stick near the eggs, then perches on the rail.
A little hawk tai chi and a rouse of her feathers, then she settles to survey her realm, Queen of KJRH tower! Cam was zoomed on her feet in the nest but someone was watching and pulled out so we could see all of her! Yes! She looks fit and fine and is NOT calling!! Looks pretty contented, actually. 8:32 She rouses once more and flies off right. Gee it was good to see her in person!!
10:26 a.m. Jay in nest briefly, very cropped up! I think today he has swallowed the softball! He must have gone out on the camera support because he came back over to the nest, steps ever so carefully into the bowl with the eggs, talons still curled with care, and moved a few twigs.
He hovered over the eggs as if about to sit (my heart was breaking) Then ever so gently rolled the pale egg a bit, then looked up in a half-sit, seemed to think a moment, then walked over and got up on the bar.
He is now surveying his kingdom as well. Flew off 10:37.
Oh goodness that was heart-wrenching for me...if they had human feelings it just looked so touching and sad, like "Hi little egglets, I still love you, I want to care for you but something tells me its too late"...I know, I indulge in the dreaded anthropomorphic illusions, but after all isn't that partly why we love these birds? We feel we "know" them in some intimate way?


Indeed. D.B.


Sally said...

Love the turkey showing off! I've had a fewland briefly in my yard which was cool, but I've never seen one displaying except in pictures. That must be neat!

You have quiet a challenge in observing your Ms!

Donegal Browne said...

As to the Ms, they are definitely a challenge. I'm currently up in Appleton WI, visiting Lawrence U. with daughter Samantha who's trying to pick which of the schools she's been accepted to, will be the one she accepts so haven't seen the Ms in a few days. I keep wondering if they've had a hatch while I've been gone.

As to the turkeys,they are just fascinating to watch at this time of year, particularly as they are so odd, both physically and behaviorally they don't seem quite real somehow. As of last Saturday, Turkey hunting season started so instead of displaying in open fields as they'd been doing previously, the Toms must be displaying in the bushes as I've not seen one since the friday previous to the start of the season. No dopes these birds.