Friday, May 29, 2009

Secundus Stares, The NYBG Nest, and Urban Mallard Mom

It was raining sporadically throughout the day but I went to check on the Ms to see how they were doing. Not much action and I never even saw Primus' head. Though I did see a wing flap here and a bob there. Secundus true to his vigilant nature never took his eye or eyes off me the entire time I was there.

And he used just about every possible peering position.

And he watched me drive away...

Photograph by Pat Gonzalez
(Now that is a sweet faced hawk!)
Pat Gonzalez was once again at her station watching the nest of Hawkeye and Rose at the NYBG

Photograph by Pat Gonzalez
Keeping an eye on the eyasses.

Photograph by Pat Gonzalez
Look at how much more room these eyasses have for running around compared to the Astoria Park nest or the Ms on County M. When they are ready though the Ms will be able to hope flap from branch to branch and then return to sleep in the nest at night.
Hawkeye and Rose's very similarly shaped nest site at Fordham not only had that roomy runway but it also had trees that were close enough for the fledglings to branch to them and or fly off and make their way back to the nest by branching to spend the night.

Photograph by Pat Gonzalez
And the serious hopping and flapping continues.

I was standing in the parking lot outside the phone store in Illinois when I looked down at this culvert and saw movement in the tall wetland type grass.

What is it? See the darkish spots just right of center?

Ah ha! It's a Mallard Hen and her Ducklings making their way through and urban area to where?

They are heading out at a good clip. The ducklings are keeping up quite nicely as Mom leads the way.
I do hope Urban Mallard Hen knows a way under the far side of this area that will avoid crossing the car ridden pavement.
They disappeared into the grass and I didn't see them come out the other side. So either they had reached their destination or there is some sort of large drainage pipe or other that does go under the street. Hen did look like she knew exactly where and what she was doing like any experienced urban bird should.
Speaking of which, I too seem to have a fox visiting my back yard. She looks to be young and seems to be coming by to check out the Crow's Goodie Stump.
Contributor Robin of Illinois found a fascinating article about an influx of Vultures in California--who are eating tar?,+residents+sayNeighborhood under siege by vultures, residents say Friday, May 29, 2009Residents of a Bay area community say some unwelcome neighbors have movedinto their neighborhood and are making their lives miserable.Hundreds of vultures have taken up at the Floral Lakes Mobile Home Park.Some of them hang out in backyards. Others are up on top of buildings, whereresidents say they have caused thousands of dollars in damage by picking atthe roofs.Resident James Bruce said he finds the vultures very irritating. "I despise 'em," he said. They are destroying our home. They are destroyingour automobiles."Bruce said he has had to use tar to patch his roof where vultures have eatenaway the shingles. He worries that spending thousands in repairs would be anexercise in futility because the birds flying near his home would come backfor more."For the vultures to just come back and eat it all over again, I don't thinkthe insurance company is going to think too kindly to that," Bruce said. Bruce hopes the government will step in to do something to rid his neighborhood of the vultures. So far, the city of Bartow installed some motion-activated sprinklers with the intent of chasing the birds away, but residents say the measure has not really helped.

This is completely bizarre. Is there some mineral in this particular community's tar which is deficient in the vulture diet? (Rather like the children that eat the charcoal ends off burnt matches.) Are the vultures eating something which has turned them into whack jobs? Perhaps they're all just constipated? Does this tar smell like carrion? Are they really eating tar or are they eating something else, an infestation of some kind, that is stuck in the tar? But I never heard that Vultures indulged in insects.

I wonder what gave them the idea that sprinklers would chase the vultures away? Do they think vultures don't bathe? Perhaps they were hoping for a surprise factor.


Sally said...

Rose seems to have prominent eyebrows-does Hawkeye as well? Assuming that was Rose in the photo. Secundus staring is definitely amusing!

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Sally,

Pat thought that the adult on the nest was Rose, I wasn't so sure and rather thought it might be Hawkeye.:-) Let me add I've not seen this pair in the flesh in quite sometime so I may well be wrong. Perhaps Pat saw the band and therefore her ID is definitive as it is certainly one or the other. (Otherwise the real Hawkeye and Rose would have been attacking the intruder with a vengence.) I'll ask Pat and also perhaps Chris Lyons, a major watcher of the pair in the pase, what his thoughts are.

Secundus' constant eyeballing is rather a hoot. I've never seen an eyass who does it like he does. That bird has FOCUS.