Monday, June 22, 2009

Primus Gives Me the Sideways Head Plus-Hawkeye and More NYBG Fledgling Photos by Richard Fleisher

When I pulled off the road and cut the motor. I heard begging. Which is reasonably rare with these rural hawks. I got out of the car and the begging continued for a few moments and that is virtually unheard of. I'd only heard begging outside the car once in all the time I've watched this nest.

The begging seemed to have come from the big nearly perfect oak, a favorite of locals, that grows nearly on the verge of the highway. I got back into the car. The begging started up. Well it was coming from the oak's direction anyway.

I got out again. There was a pause and then the begging began again with added vigor. It seemed that the beggar had thrown caution to the wind.

I've often wondered how the parents had taught the eyasses not to beg when there were people standing around. It occurred to me that perhaps it had to do with some sort of special reinforcement. That perhaps like the babies of the deaf who do not cry because they don't get rewarded with food when they do cry, the eyasses had learned that they could beg their little birdie guts out and no food would arrive while humans stood watching.

On the other occasion in which I'd heard begging was on a day when I'd already been watching for 3 or so hours, and someone had gotten hungry enough to make a stink, reinforcement or no.

I advanced on the favorite oak and the begging is continuing. Still I can't see a fledgling. I walk into the vegetation that is growing shoulder high between the verge and the cornfield and set up the scope. The begger quits. Ah ha!

And there she is, staring straight at me. Reasonably peachy breast, and a direct stare, I'd say Primus, who I haven't seen for some days.
She looks across the cornfield. I look across the cornfield. No wonder. Mom is perched on the favorite hunting power pole. Primus has a rather flat crop, thus the insistant begging. At this stage of the game, the parents are still feeding the young, but they aren't quite as quick about it as they once were in order to help trigger some hunting responses on the part of the fledglings. Fledglings on the other hand find this tremendously irritating and can get downright grumpy about it.

Wait a second did Primus just give me the inverted head look? I do think she did but the photo was too late to catch it. Actually her curious stare reminds me of the some of the St. John the Divine Cathedral eyasses. That nest too was well within range for the eyasses to begin to recognize the watchers. Primus doesn't seem the least bit wary of me, but then she was always a bit on the brazen side.

She goes into a pounce stance and stares to my left.

Now she appears to be looking at me with a touch of pounce stance.

Now the eye over the twig look.

And back to me. Suddenly I get the impression that she'd just as soon I went elsewhere. Her eyes have gotten just a tiny bit slittier and there is something about the set of her beak. Of course she may have just remembered that my presence is holding up a possible food delivery.

She looks back over at mom and stares pointedly.

Then it happens-- the inverted sideways head look. A definite. It doesn't happen slowly it is a quick move. It's upright and then it isn't. Decidedly "cute".

She must be very relaxed around me to give me "the look".

Back to mom. Nothing looks promising. She stares with focus.

A bit of chest preening.

Mom has come off the pole and flies just inches above the new corn.
Bingo! She's snatched something.

WHAT? SHE'S EATEN IT HERSELF. (A hunting demo that doesn't have quite the ending that Primus was rooting for.)

Well Primus isn't about to try it. She still thinks that the food needs to come to her.

Shoulder preen. I can wait.

Her eyes get slittier. She glances towards me and then back to Mom.

She can't stand it any longer and starts begging--very loud, and very vigorously. Nothing arrives.

She stops a moment.

Wing stretch. Still nothing.

What is mom doing now?

Primus looks at me. Definitely annoyed. Perhaps considering if it is my fault that no food is coming this way.

She makes herself more obvious to the parent on the pole. Nothing.

Fine. Off the branch she goes and disappears into the nest tree. Not such a bad landing this time though not perfect by any means. I'd better go so that whatever should happen and has been put on hold can happen.

Photos of Hawkeye and the NYBG eyasses by Richard Fleicher
These photos of NYBG male by Rich Fleicher finally gave Chris Lyons, a chief watcher of Hawkeye and Rose at Fordham, the look he needed to confirm for himself that this hawk is indeed Hawkeye. Here is what he had to say on the matter---


Many wonderful photos of the New York Botanic Garden Fledglings by Rich Fleicher follow...enjoy!




Jules Corkery on the 2nd Triborough Bridge Fledgling

Hi allTonight after work we went looking for the second Triborough Bridgebaby fledgling. We could hear him in the tall mugwort and young mulberry trees between the tennis courts and the south side of theTriborough Bridge but we couldn't see him. His call was clear andstrong and there was a parent perched on the pipe above the area so Ithink he's okay for now.

We will be out there tomorrow early to meetand greet any construction crew who are going to be in the area.We're really looking forward to getting an actual sighting of thelittle guy so we know he's okay.

Baby #3 is fat and happy - he spent the evening preening and hoppingabout the nest which now has plenty of room. He was definitely veryinterested in what his sibling had to say but had no intention ofleaving the nest tonight.

Hope you are all enjoying the rain - saw a beautiful cedar wax wing pigging out on mulberries this morning! I thought he might burst!

Binoculars for all,



Carol said...


Thanks for doing a great job documenting our red-tailed hawks here at The New York Botanical Garden.

Wonderful images -- we have posted some today on our blog, Plant Talk, with an announcement of our final bird walk of the season on Saturday, June 27, at 11 a.m. Come see the fledglings while they are still hanging around.


Donegal Browne said...

Hi Carol,

I forwarded your comment to Rich to make sure he saw it right away. And thanks for the tip on the final bird walk! You're so right, the window for fledgling viewing is sometimes very short, so we have to come and look while the looking is good.