Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday--FLEDGE DAY!!!!

5:55 PM
Primus, lower, and Secundus, higher, at play. And look at that. Primus is doing the old upside down head trick we've seen in fledglings before. Is it a defensive tactic?

5:56:02 Primus looks east while Secundus looks down and considers leaping onto Primus while she's not looking.

AND wonder of wonders, welcome a new hawkwatcher to the scene, Kim Gilmour. And just in the nick of time too, as more eyes are sorely needed at this site.

It turns out that Kim has been watching the nest for awhile now, quietly, from across the road and over a bit from her husbands shop. Her husband had stopped by a number of times to check out the nest through the scope, but Kim is a little on the shy side so she hadn't come...but today she did. And without a doubt her timing couldn't have been better! Her help was invaluable today. Keep reading and you'll see why.

5:56:39 PM Secundus makes for the perching branch while Primus pretends not to be looking.

5:58:17PM Primus is climbing up behind Secundus. Secundus steps onto the horizontal-ish branch.

Kim yells, "He's going! Look! LOOK!!!" And, WOO HOO!, sure enough, going from the shade of the tree into the sunlight flies Secundus. (Though at the time neither of us was sure which one it was.

6:00:09 PM
Still flapping, with regular beats, loosing a bit of altitude but still looking good!

6:00:15 PM
In typical fledgling fashion Secundus doesn't really have the fold wings, put feet forward of body, and grip sequence down. Smash into the branches she goes. (Yes I'm beginning to think that Secundus might be female too. Look at her in the first photograph of this post.) That was a 13 second maiden voyage.

6:29PM Still there.

6:36PM The light craft we've seen periodically in the sky appears yet again. Perhaps he wonders what we are doing? Actually wouldn't it be lovely to have his cell number? That way when the youngsters get scarce he could help us search from up top. (He's got a great view and no matter where he went he wouldn't be trespassing.)

6:50PM Secundus has moved though the mob that is after him has moved right along with him. Hard to see isn't she?

Here's less area to glean through. He's slightly above center and near a trunk pretending to be invisible

6:53PM Primus has moved from the nest area down to the left, east, side of the tree where she and Primus frequent sometimes at the end of the day and does a little pre-roost preening.


And Mom? Still hunting. She's not done yet by any means and neither is Dad. The fledglings still must be fed for yet awhile, taught to hunt, and weaned. In about six weeks they should be somewhat self-sufficient. They'll continue to return to the tree and be in the immediate area, and then as days pass they'll become harder and harder to find. Until one day when we realize that they have gone on and we must let these young hawks and this hawk season go.

We don't forget them. We wish them well, and hope, that one day we will see each other again. And then we will wait with anticipation for January to come round when again pairs of Red-tails take to the sky and "fall in love" for the first time or one more time-- with each other.

And here is my about-to-be fledgling, Samantha. This week stepping faster through the stages to make the leap from the nest herself. College chosen, it's back to high school prom. A hop and flap but back to the safe familiar branch.

In high heeled shoes that Barbie would wear, and so they hold their own whiff of childhood, she pauses, toe poised for a walk through a very real puddle from a broken NYC hydrant. She leans back, holds on, and wears a look not a little like a young Red-tail who's tempted---but no...not yet.

No matter, the foreknowledge that it will come, like death, the moment of fledging is always a surprise.

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Sally said...

What a gorgeous fledgling Samantha is! And Secundus also, of course!