Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What About Hawkeye's Mate Rose?

(Pretend that there is a photograph here of Hawkeye and Rose standing amiably together on the Fordham Stadium lights. My photo program is currently frozen. What can I say?)

A response to yesterday's post from Chris Lyons, one of the chief watchers of Hawkeye and Rose at Fordham

I'm seeing a hawk I presume to be Rose perching on various sites at Fordham University--perches she and Hawkeye tended to favor. I haven't been able to get a good look.

Only way she'd lose the territory would be if a rival pair pushed her out, and I don't know of one in the area right now. She does need to take a mate in the next few months, though.

I wondered too if she made the connection between Hawkeye being taken and her own capture and rehabilitation. I don't believe science has a definite answer to that question right now, but we can be sure she was mainly living in the moment, as animals wisely do, at least in her waking hours. Anybody who has lived with a bird knows that when asleep, they give every sign of having a dreamlife, like us. Her relationship with Hawkeye was the most significant of her life, by far, and I don't see how she wouldn't be seeing him in her sleep. But perhaps over time even those memories fade. And perhaps it's rank sentimentality to ascribe such feelings as love and loyalty to what some scientists consider little more than feathered instinct machines--

On the other hand, there was Loren Eiseley's story of a pair of American Kestrels--hope this link works.
(It worked for me. D.B.)

Chris, thank you for the update. It's good to know that Rose is in place watching over the territory.

The female of the Houston nest seemed to have abandoned the territory after her mate died and her fledglings disappeared. She of course was young and the territory did turn out to be ill fated for hawks. I've always hoped she found a new mate and a safer place in which to nest.

Rose and Hawkeye did have a long string of successes and they seemed well bonded not only with each other but to their territory and preferred type of nesting site so I think there is a very good possibility that she will stay.

Isolde made a great attempt to keep the nest site behind St. Andrew's elbow at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine but likely the workman over her head, the scaffolding, and Norman's inexperience may have convinced her that taking a year off or at least changing nest sites was the way to go.

There is hope of course that once the work is finished that she and Norman may return but then again perhaps the highrise apartment building south of the Cathedral may have made it a far less desirable spot for nesting than it was previously. One never knows exactly how changes affect a hawk pairs breeding ground criteria.

Chris when did Rose and Hawkeye begin their courtship flights? January? I would think that she will have chosen someone by then if not before.

I hope the new guy isn't as inexperienced as Norman was. I'm afraid he was rather a trial for Isolde. There were times that if glares could kill, he would have been very, very dead.

Oh yes, there is no question that birds dream, and I do believe that Rose could be dreaming of Hawkeye and I can't imagine that she wouldn't. He was her other half for so many years. And they seemed to very much like each other's company. They were often seen perching a few feet from each other. Something that doesn't happen at all often in some hawk pairs.

There have been studies done on birds which prove they have a REM sleep state. And in my personal experience which is anecdotal of course, it does appear that my parrot dreams. When my African Grey, Quicksilver, was very young and a newcomer to the household, it seemed that occasionally he had nightmares. Everything would be quiet in the apartment, blinds closed, and all peaceful with nothing to cause him to startle, and suddenly he would make a little squawk and fall or fling himself off his perch to the bottom of his sleeping cage.

As an adult the only time he makes that parrot squawk and dumps himself off his perch is when a hawk flies by the window. Could he have seen a hawk at three or four months old and was dreaming about it? Not likely. That instance in the cage was the first time he'd displayed that behavior while he was with us. Or is it possible that that action and the dream of a hawk shape is wired into African Greys? A particular physical reaction is wired into some poultry for behavior when certain outspread wing shapes appear, which they've never seen in real life.

Though, perhaps it is different or expanded in African Greys--When Francois Portmann discovered the Houston Dad was grounded, he called me and I ran out of the house with one of my cat carriers to have something to put the grounded hawk in once we got hold of him and to transport him to the Animal Medical Center. And as I'd run out of the apartment without money, on my way back to the hospital I stopped by my apartment for a minute to get some. I'd set the carrier down in a darkened area so as not to stress the hawk and gone into another room for my wallet so I'd have cab fare, when a family member happened to walk (perhaps six feet away) in the proximity of the carrier with Silver on her hand. The carrier was on the floor, Silver was on a hand, and obviously the hawk didn't have his wings spread in a flight shape inside the box. None the less Silver shrieked, flung himself to the floor, and started to run in the opposite direction.

All I can figure is that Silver smelled the hawk. Something that would likely be disputed by most scientists as the assumption is that all birds have a lousy sense of smell.

Though that particular carrier is still an issue though it has been scrubbed, bleached, and sanitized within an inch of it's life. Not only does Silver still freak out about it, but the cats run from it as well. I have no explanation other than some sort of associative trauma reaction from the previous experience of discovering a hawk on their home turf.

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Chris said...

Belatedly responding--I don't believe Silver (or any parrot) could smell a hawk, but he could probably pick up on sounds you couldn't--such as the scraping of sharp talons on the surface of the carrier, or warning vocalizations the human ear can't distinguish.

I don't know what kind of carrier it was, but if he could see into it at all, he'd probably be able to figure out there was a raptor inside it. Bird vision is superior to ours in ways we can barely begin to understand--that's how birds of the same species can immediately recognize each other, often at great distances, even though to us they look identical. So recognizing a potential predator is no great feat, even inside a carrier.

I rarely got to see Hawkeye and Rose do their courtship flight, but I assume they started around the same time as other Red-tails in the area.