Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Billboard Hawks of Tulsa, the Starr Ranch Hummingbird Nest Cam, and Pigeons the Unofficial Mascot of NYC

The Tulsa Billboard Hawk Nest earlier in the season.

The Billboard Hawk nest area. 5/22/09
Georgette Melvin who had been following this nesting pair discovered that their nest had been destroyed on 5/22/09 though the area had been whole only a few days previously when she'd checked on the birds and their nest. She contacted state authorities and I suggested that she contact Federal Officers as well.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects the birds themselves as well as their nests, eggs, feathers, and young.
For a look at the federal law see Animal Legal and Historical Center
Photographs by Cheryl Cavert

10/08 Female on billboard.

2/2/09 After copulation
2/2/09 After copulation

This is also an excellent example of the difference between a male and female Red-tail's head. Particularly as they are side by side and their heads are at nearly the same angle of profile, the place were one can most often register the differences in skull and beak.
Compare the beak and head ratio. See how the female's beak seems longer in ratio to her "face" than the males. There is a sleeker look to a female's head and often the top of her head seems flatter while the male's will often appear rounder on top.

Let us hope that someone is prosecuted for the destruction of the Billboard Hawk's nest so that others will think twice before destroying another nest...and conceivably their young at this point in the season.
From Sally of Kentucky--
My current affliction is with the Starr Ranch Hummingbird nest.
Mom seems to come feed the chicks...
...every 15-20 minutes or so.
Amazing to watch and due to fledge this weekend or so.

Hello pigeon friends and advocates,

According to an article in yesterday's New York Post
(, pigeons have been dubbed New York's unofficial mascot. You may want to post something in the Comments section of the New York Post and thank Julia Szabo for writing this interesting and fascinating pigeon article. The Wild Bird Fund is mentioned as well.

Birds in Paradise: Pigeons Share Similar Mating Process to Humans

New York PostMay 24, 2009

Love them or hate them, rock doves are surely New York's unofficial feathered mascot.

To honor them on National Pigeon Day (June 13), the New York Bird Club and United Poultry Concerns will host an event from noon to 4 p.m. at Pilgrim Hill in Central Park, featuring an appearance by singer-songwriter Nellie McKay, among other attractions.

But since sex sells, the sponsors might want to add a discussion on pigeon porn to the program. I, for one, wouldn't have to attend a demo -- the airshaft adjacent to my apartment is a veritable lovers' lane for pigeons.Their cooing is more than just ordinary urban background noise: It's proof that pigeons have more in common with us humans than we might think, especially in the mating department.

Rita McMahon, who rescues birds in distress and runs the Wild Bird Fund, concurs. But while human females won't marry a guy after just one pass or memorable meal -- especially if he throws up on the date -- female pigeons will. After initial coos, the male regurgitates his meal into the female's beak during a ritual called "billing."

As is often the case with humans, a female pigeon's sex drive is higher than a male's. "Some of the ladies are very horny, and will begin the mating process again immediately after sex,"

McMahon says. But perhaps they're just worried the male might leave them. Because while most pigeons are renowned for their monogamy, there are exceptions. "Males will divorce a female if she's infertile," McMahon allows.

Before, I viewed the feathered occupants of that dark, gloomy airshaft as live entertainment for my cats. Now I realize that what I have is an enlightening window into the stimulating sex lives of pigeons. If only I could get past the fact that they relentlessly use my air conditioner as a litter box.

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

m not sure what I'm looking at in the second Tulsa photo - did someone rip out the entire tree?