Sunday, August 23, 2009

Barn Swallow Nest, Wren's Nest, and Deer

Athena of the Triborough Bridge Red-tailed Hawk Pair
Following up on the conversation between Mai and John Blakeman, Karen Anne Kolling of RI, has some questions of her own--

Hi, John,

I was interested to read your letter in Donna's blog. I have wondered
sometimes what would happen if a captive hawk flew away from a falconer
in terms of the leather(?) attachments on their legs. Would the
attachments come loose or would the hawk bite through them eventually?

It seems that at least the Riverside hawks came through the storm this
week okay, as Lincoln refers to them on his website. I have not seen
any updates on Pale Male and Lola from any of the blogs I read. I am
wondering how a bird, particularly a big bird who must have a hard time
finding a nook to shelter in deals with a severe storm. Do they outfly
them and then return? Or take shelter?



Anklets with snap rivets
Button Topped Field Jesses
Equipment images courtesy of
And John Blakeman's response--

By federal law, falconers must fly their birds with "field jesses," which are loosely hanging out through a metal grommet on the leather anklet around the hawk's leg. In short, if the hawk "flies over the hill," it can easily pull out the loose jesses, or they just fall out themselves.

But most importantly, the flying jesses are not allowed to have any openings or slits at the tips, just a bare, continuous length of leather or cord. That way, it cannot get ensnared in a tree snag or anything else. A few hawks who flew away have been seen with their jesses several months after their escape.

It's an issue falconers are very attentive to.

And no, the hawks in the storm did not fly off to avoid it. They had to weather it. Just how they cling to a tree branch during a storm like the one in Central Park is a mystery. It's not impossible for a hawk to be killed in such an event, I fear.

--John Blakeman
Thank you, John.
Photograph by Carol Studebaker
Today Carol came hurrying up to tell me there was a deer in the field with shocked corn at Thresherman's Park. I flagged down a passing golf cart and we zoomed down to try to see the deer. In the meantime mowing of grass had started in that area and the fawn above with her fading spots was nowhere to be seen.
It's always something when it comes to deer and turkeys and my catching them in the act.

And now for another look at the Barn Swallow nest we've been f ollowing..
and it's raining.
One can see two sets of eyes for two birds, but is that possibly a third tail, leaning up against the back wall?

Or is it a wing tip?
Oh ho, here we go. Look carefully and you can see the peachy foreheads of four chicks. Perhaps the rain has brought the first chick back to the nest to keep dry.
As we know, Wisconsin is the U.S. capital of albinistic birds. See the odd white patches forming on the fourth youngster.
I had rather an odd feeling when I opened the side viewing door and saw three fingers inside. Of course it is a reflection, whew. that was a relief.
For some weeks every time I go out to the garden, a House Wren begins to scold me with great vigor. Sometimes from the log fence with a mouth full of insects or on his way out of the Wren House. He's been going in and out of the box for an inordinately long time this summer without my ever seeing any young Wrens.
I think it is possible that I missed them, but I still feel odd about that nest so I decided to open the side viewing door to take a first peek through the plexiglass at the nest.
Are those two eggs buried deep down in the bottom of the nesting materials?
Donegal Browne

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