Friday, June 26, 2009

More Photos of the NYBG Fledglings and an Update from Jules Corkery of Astoria Park

Photo by Richard Fleisher--
Two New York Botanical Garden Fledglings

Check out the ankles on these birds and their relative body size. They are very likely just about their adult sizes. A male and a female? Also likely. And it's a stand off, but only a momentary one.

Photo by Richard Fleisher

Miss NYBG has control of the prey, while Master NYBG waits and crowds in when possible looking for an opportunity to grab a bite for himself.

Photo by Richard Fleisher

Photo by Richard Fleisher

Photo by Richard Fleisher

Master is getting closer, closer--slowly, slowly...

Photo by Richard Fleisher

Miss grabs up the squirrel in her beak with a weather eye on Master.

Photo by Richard Fleisher
She starts to put it down...
Nope, he's was still doing a slow stealth toward the prey--- just a little too close.

Yes, sometimes the larger fledgling will eat the entire prey dropped by the parent. But do note that the smaller fledgling does not have a completely flat crop so he is getting food. Most experienced parents do seem to pay attention to who is getting what and act with that knowledge. Also take into account that the larger bird, likely the female, does need more calories to live than the smaller one does.

Which leads me to one of the thoughts I've been mulling. Now keep in mind that females, they are predators after all, are stealth hunters as well as the males are but it seems to me that in NYC many of the males, especially the smaller ones like Pale Male, Pale Male Jr. and the late Tristan, are particularly patient, clever, and sneaky when it comes to hunting. (Storm'n Norman, previously of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, excepted.)

Is it possible that having a much larger sister growing up is good training in stealth and using chance opportunity to advantage? Therefore preparing the small males to be even better hunters than if they'd not had to compete with a bird much bigger and stronger than themselves. Maybe, just maybe it does.

At least I like to think so when a much larger sibling eats all of the first dinner drop.

And from Carol Capobianco of the New York Botanical Garden--

See some of the images of the fledglings on our blog today:
Our final bird walk of the season is on Saturday, June 27, at 11 a.m. Come see the fledglings while they are still hanging around.
(More info on the NYBG bird walk on their blog, link above. D.B.)

Triborough Bridge Update from Hawkwatcher Robert McMinn--
We didn't see any juveniles last night but we did find an adult (probably the female) perched on a low branch over Shore Boulevard watching for rats on the rocks. We sat about 30 feet away with our feet hanging over the wall and after about 10 minutes we saw her shift on the branch and knew she was about to make a move. She flew past us within a few inches of my knee and landed clean on a rat just below us. Once it stopped moving she flew it to a tree, devoured it in moments and immediately flew off again, presumably to hunt.

And from Jules Corkery on the same nest--
Hi All
Last night we saw both Atlas and Athena bringing food to the high diving board and also leaving food on the bridge pipes above the tennis court.
Baby 2 - has been hunkered down in a Norway spruce on 19th Street and 24th Road. He's being fed and has been practicing branching and triangulating birds and objects in his environment. He stayed there overnight but hopefully he'll be in the park soon. The Greek family that lives in the 2 story apt building next to the tree is aware of the birds and is excited about these special guests.
Baby 3 - was sighted this morning on the back fence of the tennis courts. He also is fed and calm. Atlas was above him on the bridge pipes. Once we saw Baby 3, who is visibly smaller than Baby 2, we knew which was which.
The fireworks will take place this Sunday, 6/30 on the river between the Hellgate and Triborough Bridges. I spoke with Bobby today and hopefully, Baby 1 can be brought back early next week.
Will keep you posted.

Without question Jules and Company get to meet many neighbors whom they might never meet and have quirky adventures in Astoria due to trailing the progeny of Atlas and Athena. And just think how many people are introduced to the wonders and mysteries of urban hawks in the process.

As Jules says, "Binoculars for all!"

Donegal Browne


Sally said...

Dear Donna,

Thank you for all the great updates. The Triborough Bridge is Astoria, the same nest, right? I was thinking it was. I would think the unisphere would have lots of branching opportunities with all the cross-bars and countries to fly to. I guess they are too far apart to branch to effectively?

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Sally,

Yes the Triborough Bridge nest is in Astoria, Queens. Sorry, I should have been clearer on that.

A few blocks from the nest, is Astoria Park, which is a large green space that we always hope the fledglings make their way to, as soon as possible. That's the place with the high dive that Atlas and Anthena often use for juvenile food drop offs. It is fenced in and very safe for them.