Saturday, June 20, 2009

John Blakeman on Inverted Heads, and NYC Fledging Updates!!!

Last minute photo addition for comparison further down.
When you get down to the photos of the NYBG fledglings by Richard Fleisher, remember to come back up here and compare the two. These tree nested fledglings, having the advantage of a huge tree to branch in before fledgling are far more mature than their urban counterparts.

The rural eyasses, at least Primus and likely Secundus flew out and got back to the nest tree without landing in between after numerous days of branching. The parents not only brought food to the nest (as Thunder of Tulsa's parents did as well) but they seem to have stashed food in various less accessible parts of the tree tempting the eyasses to even further practice.

In comparison our urban eyasses now seem to me even more at risk than ever when grounded, as it appears after these observations that it is far less likely to happen in environments where Red-tails naturally evolved or have traditionally nested.

This photo that included Primus inverting her head, which we've seen young Red-tails rather inexplicably do a number of times, has brought remarks from Hawk expert John Blakeman. Welcome back, John.


You mentioned and had a photo of an eyass twisting its head upside down. This has nothing to do with defensiveness. We falconers see this commonly in our first-year red-tails, even in birds captured in passage, in September through November.

It's really cute (if a hunting red-tail can be cute). The birds only do it when they are completely at ease. They lose this behavior as they get older. It's very seldom seen in the second year.

It is a mystery why his head-twisting is done. But we falconers know that the hawks will do this only when they are feeling entirely at ease. An unmanned ("un-tamed") red-tail will seldom, if ever invert its head. Adults, manned or wild, seldom do this. It's a kid thing.

--John Blakeman

Photograph by Richard Fleisher

(Remember to compare the maturity level of the NYBG fledglings with the rural Ms.)

FROM CHRIS LYONS ONE OF THE CHIEF WATCHERS OF HAWKEYE AND ROSE WHILE THEY NESTED AT FORDHAM--(They are now nesting at the New York Botanic Garden...or at least Rose who is banded has been proven to be the same bird. Chris has been reserving his decision as to whether the male is indeed Hawkeye.)

Last Wednesday (6/10), all three eyasses were in the nest, but looked like they could fledge at any moment. I figured they'd all be out in a week, and they were--barely. As late as yesterday, Richard Fleisher saw one in the nest, but all three had fledged by early this afternoon, when I was there.

As has been typical of this little-monitored nest, nobody seems to have actually witnessed a fledging taking place, but maybe somebody did and failed to report it.

Rich Fleisher showed me a photo he'd taken of the adult male a few days back, when he had landed on the lawn in front of the Mertz Library, after getting buzzed by some nesting Robins. It's a pretty good close-up shot, with the male facing the camera--good enough for me to finally put aside any reservations I've had about concluding the male is Hawkeye. I now feel confident this is the same breeding pair I watched at Fordham for four years.

I never thought otherwise, but I wanted to be sure. The adult male found dead in the Botanical Garden during last year's Bronx-Westchester CBC was clearly some other bird.

Sorry I don't have any photos. Nothing much to photograph today, and last Wednesday the light was poor.

Chris Lyons

(Chris suggested that perhaps Richard Fleisher might supply some photos, which he did even before I asked.)

Photograph by Richard Fleisher

From Richard Fleisher longtime watcher of Hawkeye and Rose, now nesting at the New York Botanic Gardens

All three NYBG chicks have fledged. First one went Monday, second on Tuesday and third today. I am attaching a large number of jpegs (all have been reduced in size). I will send in two files. All but three are of the fledglings, the rest are Hawkeye after he went after a Robins nest located near the library building.
Richard Fleisher
(So far only two have been posted, above. All will appear when I get a glitch out of my system.)
Many thanks Rich!
An update from Jules Corkery, long time and main watcher of Athena and Atlas at the Triborough Bridge nest--
Hi All,
Early this morning we saw one of the triborough bridge babies venture out onto the metal pipe only to wobble a little and get himself back onto the nest. All three babies were fat and comfy this morning looking out onto their world.We went back around 12:15 this afternoon and parks staff were scrambling to get a box in which to put one of the little guys who moments earlier had flown off the nest. He glided north across Hoyt Avenue North - into the trees that surround a small section of paved area that people use as a volley ball court. (A few years ago one of the fledges landed in the same area and spent a few days hanging out of the 2 rows of fencing that separate the pavement area from the row of backyards on the next street.) The wind was blowing east and it's lucky that he didn't glide any further east as he might have landed on21st Street!There was a volley ball game happening and the only person to notice any of the chaos was a young boy of about 10 years old. Fortunately,the little fledge got himself to the ground and was nicely situated Ianthe strip of land between the two fences - it's about 5 feet wide and50 feet long and overgrown with grass and weeds. However, he was very close to 21st Street and if the volleyball players had realized he was there they could have easily spooked him out into traffic.So, the little guy was boxed up, put in the truck, and the rangers were called. We witnessed this from a fair distance away as we didn't want to add to the bird's distress and because of this we never got a close look at him. What we could see was that he was definitely upright and alert. I also called Park's central headquarters just to make sure that in all the confusion they actually got a call.
I understand that the Horvaths will be taking him in for a while. Good luck, you guys! It looks like the construction of the new fencing around the deep end of Astoria Pool is completed. I would recommend releasing the fledge in the same area in which last year's fledges were released. This area remains a relatively quiet part of the park, has high tree cover,and is accessible to the high diving board (or should I say high dining board). Max, the District 1 Manager of Queens Parks & Rec, is on vacation right now so I'm not sure who could tell us if there are other plans for construction at that end of the pool. Regardless, Atlas and Athena will be glad to get their little one back in the care as soon as can be.
Many thanks Jules!

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