Friday, December 18, 2009

Karen's Cooper's Hawks and a Report of a Poisoned Red-tail in Central Park

If you remember a month or so ago Karen Kolling of RI, sent in two photos of a mystery hawk. John Blakeman identified her as a female Cooper's Hawk. Well Karen has once again discovered a hawk sitting in exactly the same spot. Here's what she had to say.


I dunno if this is the same hawk, but I tried to get photos of more of her tail this time. The whitish stuff in the background that looks like a prison colony fence is my neighbor's dock railing.


John Blakeman responded--


This is a Cooper's Hawk, who thinks it ought to try some fish. Of course, it's an immature, still trying to figure out how to survive its first winter. (Joking, for course. It's looking, as all Coops do, for birds.)

From the size of the head, it's probably a tiercel (male). It's head sits well above the shoulder, with a real neck, making it a Cooper's, not a Sharp-shinned.

At least the bird has a rather discriminating landscape preference. Very nice view. (I design prairie landscapes, which actually convey something of a waving water image, at least in larger landscapes.)

--John Blakeman

And Karen's email to John Blakeman--


Do you think it's a different bird from the photo Donna sent you before? I think that one was possibly a female? If so, I guess maybe there are a few Coopers passing through... Who knew :-) And they both landed on the same bush (Japanese maple, actually), which gives them a good view of the cove, and is conveniently set up for me to take a photo :-)



This is the hawk photographed by Karen the last time she caught one in this spot. It was a dim day so I brightened the exposure a little bit on the photo hoping for some mental illumination along the way.

My personal take is that this bird looks to be a bigger bird over all (Handy of them to perch in the same spot like that isn't it? Much easier to compare them.) plus take a gander at the tarsus, her "ankle". Now look at the size of the overall bird and the tarsus of the bird who was photographed more recently-top of blog.
Those feet and tarsus look finer than the other birds. My surmise is also that the first bird was a formel and the second a tiercel.

Photographs by Karen Anne Kolling

Sally of Tennessee (Correction--Sally is of course from Kentucky instead of Tennessee just like she always has been in previous mentions on the blog. Sorry Sally.) brought to my attention a report on Lincoln Karim's website, According to the report Dr. Ward Stone the New York State Wildlife Pathologist examined a Red-tailed Hawk that was found dead in Central Park that was sent to him by the Park Rangers. The hawk showed signs of hemorrhage comparable to that caused by an anticoagulant rat poison.

Donegal Browne

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Doorstep and Friend Mourning Dove

(Sorry about the photo quality. I'm shooting into the dark through double paned glass without a tripod.)
It was about 45 minutes after sunset and so quite dark, when I looked out the patio door and gave myself a little mini heart attack. Was that Doorstep the Mourning Dove sitting out on the bath alone at this time of night? If so what has happened to Friend her mate. Possibly he had just left but I had a bad feeling.

Earlier in the day I'd seen Doorstep in the feeding area without Friend, a rare occurrence outside breeding season, and wondered where he was. I grabbed the camera and zoomed in to double check.

Whew, that was a relief, they were both there snuggled together on the bath much in the manner they had often sat together when first mated the winter of three years ago.

While I watched, Doorstep got up from beside Friend, went to the center of the bowl, leaned over, and drank.

Friend turns toward Doorstep, is startled by me in the doorway, and takes off.

Doorstep's head comes up, gives me a look, we bob heads at each other, and she too is gone to roost. I'm glad they were warm when they went to roost anyway. I suspect that they snuggle together on their roost perch too. It's a good thing as it's now only 7 degrees F.
Donegal Browne

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crow Sentinel, Eating, and Caching

Pyewackit the cat burrowed under the patio door curtain and I immediately heard Cawing. I gently slipped back the curtain on the window over the sink in the kitchen a couple of inches with one finger attempting to stay out of sight. No good. The caws become more rapid and insistent. Stealth being useless and stunningly the crow eating on the goodie stump is still standing there with a chunk of cheese and a lump of something else in her beak. Whatever the something else is, isn't staying in her beak. She leans her head down, perhaps to use the surface under her to help wedge the item in with the cheese. Unfortunately the snow is still too fluffy to create a surface for wedging and her food and her head disappears into the snow. The piece of mystery food doesn't come back out with her head and the cheese chunk. Was that an intentional stash or accidental dropping I don't know. She looks directly at me. Attempted stealth being useless, I grab my camera and head for the patio door curtain and nudge Pyewackit to scoot over.

The sentinel Crow somewhere to the right (north) and above Pyewackit and I in a tree, takes the cawing up another notch. Cheese Chunk Crow flies towards the small evergreen on the edge of the park. She lands on the bough you can see about mid-way up and sticks the cheese chunk into the snow, an obvious intentional caching of food.

She takes off and looks as if she is going to return to the food stump. The sentinel crow at this point is virtually screaming. Cheese Chunk Crow finally seems to take Sentinel in or at least take his "advice" and makes a turn and heads back towards the park.

Still cawing like a mad thing Sentinal watches her go. I suspect he is being so radically intense because Cheese Chunk Crow didn't hop to it when he first warned her of "danger"--Pyewackit and I looking out the the glass of the patio door. Then Sentinel looks back at me and realizes my camera is on him and that he is sitting on a branch which exposes him fully from our angle.

Still cawing he switches branches attempting to make himself more obscure by getting into a position in which there are some small branches that will break up his shape against the sky from this angle.

Suddenly he seems to see something, he leans over, and Caws even louder if that is possible. I suspect that Cheese Chunk Crow or another of the family may be making it this direction to get other chunk of cheese still extant on the stump.

A slight change of direction and heavy cawing. Due to the flight of the other crow on a flight past?

A second chunk of cheese sits on the stump--waiting.

Sentinel Crow, what a surprise, is still cawing but now he's more upright and eventually gives us the eye again. All his charges must be out of range...

...because in a few moments he takes to own wings and heads for the park himself. Quietly.
Photo by Karen Anne Kolling
And from Karen Anne Kolling of the Gonzo Deck in Rhode Island--
"Snow here too, just a little - that-a-way to the food dishes. "

Donegal Browne