Monday, June 08, 2009

The County M Red-tailed Hawks, Sally on Orangey-breasts, James Hanks Sighting

And hour before there had been a terrential rainstorm, a complete gully washer. But as they say here, "This is the prairie. If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes and it'll be different."

And it's pretty much true.

In actuality today it was changing from moment to moment. Note the many light shifts through the sequence.

But back to our birds-- Can you believe it? Secundus is actually snoozing and missed my entrance. Primus does register my presence.

Secundus stares at me-- It's her again--the one with the hat.

Primus on the other hand seems to be having evil thoughts about bugging her brother.

How about a little ducked head with raised shoulders?
Secundus could care less.

How about a little sideways head? Wasted. He wanted to flinch but only withdrew his neck back a little. Still staring.

He's not even taking notice. What now?

Ah ha! Wing stretch! Nothing.
A teeny jerky jump?
Nope. Not a twitch from Secundus.
A big jump directly over his head. He actually turned his head. Ta da !

Primus jumps over S's head again and back into her original position.
Or did his head turn only so he could lean it on me? DRAT!!!

WHOA!!! What is THAT?

And by the time that Primus looks down again, Secundus is doing the smiling and he's asleep.

Primus looks me in the eye--Wanna "play"?

Another smile--What could she be planning?

Hey, hey what is that?
Where's Secundus? Collapsed into a buteo pancake.
Now it's Primus' turn to go groggy. Secundus his un-collapsed himself to peer through the twigs to take over the watch duty.

Primus sees something and the twig running past her face gives her an even bigger smile. These two have really begun not only to watch for their parents with the take-out to come but now are monitoring prey on their own time.

A little breast preening.

Some preening to mid-back. I can't imagine that Secundus' head isn't getting completely scrunched by Primus' wing. No doubt he's used to it.

Lest we forget where they are. It's way up there.

Foot up, smiling...

And finally Primus' head begins to nod a bit and her nictitating eyelids creep up and down. Nap time. (I imagine Secundus is much relieved.)

Dear Donna,

I am still trying to research the orangey-breasted eyasses out west. Another cam watcher sent me these links. In both of these I think it is pretty clear that the eyass's breast is orangey tinged or at least not pale cream colored. Of course, adult RT's are darker out west so is that a factor in determining juvenile coloring? You can compare the color on the eyass to the parent. I will send a couple of stills in another email. And the skunk for dinner in the second video is so cute! The first one is of the Portland eyasses playing on their fire escape jungle gym!

Both of those have fledged and are now in rehab due to mishaps, according to the web site, by the way. Tough life fledging in the city.

From Jayne, the "other cam watcher"--


Sally, I couldn’t get a clear shot of the Portland chicks before they fledged (I think the second one fledged, haven’t seen him today). If I remember correctly you’re trying to see if the West Coast chicks have different bibs than the East coast?

Anyway, Portland was very hard to capture because of the intense sun in the morning, and the darkness in the afternoon – add that to the fact that I don’t think they were ‘broadcasting’ in as high a quality as we’re used to.

Here’s what I’ve discovered on YouTube. The first video is of the Portland duo on 5-31-09. There is only one fairly clear shot of one of their breasts as around 1:45 in.
The second is from San Francisco Bay Area (based on the tags) that has a very clear shot around 1:05:

Portland: Red Tail Fly Boys? By MyWildifeVideos

San Francisco: Baby Hawks get Skunk for Dinner by d2ryu

To my untrained eye, it seems that their breasts are more golden than orange. What do you think?

Hope this helps!

Sally and Jayne,

Very interesting. The non-orangey breasted eyasses we get in NYC are a definitely white-ish, not particularly golden at all but you're right to ask what color would they be in an Western bird if the parents are dark and it was the recessive or what seems the recessive in the east.

In the young hawks on County M, Primus who has a darker head, is much orangier than Secundus who is lighter headed. He is more golden peach but I still count it as orange

Actually the adult in the Skunk video reminds me very much of Charlotte of the south Central Park Hawks, Pale Male Jr.'s mate. She is a dark chocolate brown as well. Jr who is lightish and Charlotte who is darkish produced eyasses with orangey-breasts.


And a chance meeting with James Hanks in Riverside Park leads to another Red-tail sighting---

Hi Donegal,

I met you in riverside park a few weeks ago near the hawk nest, we were discussing how I used to see red tails flying around NY Presbyterian Hospital (Washington Heights) and you asked me to let you know if I saw them again. Today I caught sight of one on 159 and Riverside. This is the first I’ve seen of hawks up there this season, for all I know it could be one of the same pair nesting in RSP [Riverside Park D.B.]. I will let you know if I start seeing it regularly up there.


Thanks James, every single sighting helps us figure out what our clever Urban Red-tails are up to.

From Eagle Watcher Kristine Ovens---
"A poem inspired by watching a wee eaglet grow into the magnificent bird she will become."

From the Sutton Research Center

When JJ flies
All eyes
Will face the skies
Joy and sadness
Follow our madness
We came as strangers
We will leave as friends
One small bird
Who grew
And grew and
Before our eyes
Touched hearts and
We learned and grew
Along with you
When JJ flies
All eyes
Will face the skies
Touched forever
Bound together
When JJ flies

Kristine Ovens
Victoria BC
May 2009

Just a sample of Francois Portmann's beautiful photographs at--

Donegal Browne

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