Friday, January 30, 2009

Falcon In Tompkins? Pale Male's Grandson?

Photograph by Francois Portmann,
compiled by Sarah Norris

Volume 3, Number 14 The Weekly Newspaper of Chelsea January 30 - February 12, 2009

One of the compiled notices was this one.

Imbolc Fire and Falcon Naming CeremonyOn wings of ice Imbolc comes Emulc, or “Ewe’s Milk,” the time when sheep began to lactate in the dead of winter, halfway between Solstice and Equinox....So come ye, and nurse on the spirit of the season! And for a double dose of festive revelry: Help us name the East Village falcon, grandson of Pale Male who’s been seen daily at Tompkins Square. Let him be called Chico in honor of the bulldozed garden, Chico Mendes Mural Garden, which in turn was named in honor of Chico Mendes, the great Rainforest martyr. Hosted by Dias y Flores Community Garden. Light a taper for Candlemas and spin around for Ground Hog’s Day! Sun., Feb. 1 from 2-6 p.m. Free. 520 East 13th St. (btwn Aves. A & B).

As there were some issues of confusion in the section. I wrote to Sarah Norris who had compiled the material the note copied below.

Dear Sarah,

I was interested to see the section of the The A List, January 30 - February 12, 2009 which includes--"Help us name the East Village falcon, grandson of Pale Male who’s been seen daily at Tompkins Square."

The only Falcon that I've seen in Tompkins Square is a tiny male Kestrel. He's about the size of a Mockingbird, eats sparrows, and is so quick 98% of people would never see him. Plus he is the wrong species to be related to Pale Male in anyway.

Pale Male is a Red-tailed Hawk not a Kestrel. Kestrels are Falcons. Pale Male and other Red-tailed hawks are classed as buteos, The raptor seen daily by most visitors to Tompkins Square Park is another gorgeous Red-tail, a first year female, named Valkyrie.

I write one of the urban hawk blogs in the city, and have been reporting on Valkyrie, who is a daredevil with personality to spare, (and other nature news) for some months now, illustrated by photographs by Chelsea professional photographer Francois Portmann, .

Pale Male Irregulars reports on many urban raptor pairs around the city during the breeding season in particular but also wintering raptors such as Valkyrie. See attachment for photos of her.

Is she the bird referred to in the A list?

Also seen in the park often, but less frequently than Valkyrie, is a first year male Red-tailed Hawk. Naming him would be lovely, for as far as I know he's not been named as yet and could very much use a name.

Best regards,

Weathering Winter






Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crow Excavation

This sequence began with two Crows alternating acting sentinel, with attempting to unearth and eat something frozen in the snow at the base of the Goodie Stump. Then one of the Crows spied me and decided to abandon the effort but this Crow stayed a little longer.

What freshly struck me about this activity, is that they didn't use their feet in any excavating kind of way. They stoood on them, their feet, or they may have stood on "it", the frozen food, but there was no, scratching, digging, or other use of toes, toenails, or feet to aid the beak in the effort that I could see. Nor the body movements that would have entailed.

Why don't Crows use their feet like that?

Many other birds do--various species of sparrow, Tohee, chickens, to name just a few, but some birds like Crows don't.


Donegal Browne

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mystery Teeny Ski Tracks, Doorstep and Company, plus Site Alerts

Doorstep Dove eyes the House Sparrow. For some reason Doorstep seems to check the sparrows out far more carefully than do her counterparts.

Earlier in the day, there had been a raptor somewhere close outside. The squirrels scolded for hours and there wasn't a bird to be seen. I went out and looked and could not find her for the life of me. Which makes me suspect Accipter, but aren't they all supposed to have migrated out?

The day has been cold and the birds have been having to lay low. They are hungry, and I've rarely seen birds peck this fast.
Doorstep still up center, with no legs. Metaphorically anyway.

Suddenly the ground flock headed out a a quick swoosh, and while looking around for them, I say that little what? Looks like a ski trail for an animal that wears three skis.


Another look. Being practical did someone slide on their claws down the hill? Squirrel? Or is it really a three legged fairy who is into winter sports.

From Brooklyn's Peggy M--

Click here: Unique Bird Photography Bird Art

Have you seen any of these? I thought you'd enjoy them because they are fantastic.

Brooklyn, NY

And a site recommendation from falconer Joanne of Emrys Raptors

In particular readers might be interested in clicking Health then click Diseases as this last year was rather fraught with them, in NYC at least, and there is also a good starter glossary of terms related to raptors.

My apologies in advance--The blog may be a bit spotty for a few days as my Mom passed away last Saturday, and I'm taking care of the arrangements.