Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Will the County M Red-tailed Hawks Use the Same Nest and Prairie Wolves Consider College

Photo: Donegal Browne
2009, County M parent watches over the branching eyasses
New hawkwatcher Kim Gilmour, who took an interest in the Wisconsin County M nest last season, has some questions about what might happen this year--


I have property on the corner of Cty M and Dannenberg Dr. in Milton and watched with fascination the hawk nest located across the highway from Glacial Estates. My husband and I had spoken with you several times and I was able to witness the fledgling with you one evening.

My question to you is will the hawks be back to use the same nest? And if so when would they return to freshen the nest or lay the eggs? I am hoping that there will again be inhabitants so that I can watch and hopefully photograph them this year.

I appreciate your information on this and if you feel they will again use this same location look forward to seeing you again this season and I assume you also will be interesting the viewing and photographing as well.
Kim Gilmour

Photo: Donegal Browne
2009 Secundus M

Hi Kim,

I am so pleased you got in touch! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your company last season.

As to whether the hawks will or won't use last season's nest in the oak in the middle of the field again, unfortunately there is no cut and dried answer. Though I'm with you in hoping that they do.

There is a lot of uncertainty on the hawkwatchers minds in a number of locations at the moment. As Red-tailed Hawks take twigs to more than one nest site at the beginning of the season in order to give the female a choice, you can never be sure which it will be until one begins to look more like a serious nest than the other and eggs are laid in it.

Photo: Donegal Browne
2009 Primus and Secundus M

Soon if they haven't already started they will be working on two nests, Red-tails are wired to build this time of year and they’ll off refresh the previous seasons nest while a little or a lot of work on a second site that gives the female a choice of nests. Keep an eye peeled for their activities. There was another nest, which possibly was last seasons alternative nest just the other side of the railroad tracks.

Yes, they will return to the old nest if it is in the running for possible use. They may first appear, stand on it and check it out, then rearrange some of last year’s twigs and then go off and find fresh material, to make as Sally of Kentucky says, "Their nest-orations." At the same time they may be hard at work making a second nest also.

In past years, Pale Male and Lola took a few twigs over to the Beresford but as far as anyone could see, the site wasn't a real alternative. A secondary nest can end up being just a jumble of a few twigs or can actually look like with a little work that it would be ready for eggs.

Be aware that last season's nest is deep. First off they had me thinking that there was no one up there for quite awhile even though they were in the process of incubating I later realized. Then when I finally knew that they were incubating, they fooled me again about their hatch date by not feeding the eyasses while I was watching for quite some days.

Also eventually watch for Mr. Ms disappearing trick while sitting on the eggs. Often an incubating bird will scrunch down and completely disappear into the bowl of the nest. Last season Mr. M would take twigs from other parts of the nest and pile them in front of his face when he looked out so he could peer through the jumble and keep an eye on me while I couldn't really keep an eye on him. If I'd move to the other side of the nest, he'd take twigs and barricade that view, sometimes taking the ones he'd just used on the other side.

I’ll go back to my notes and try for a slightly more specific time frame for you. I do remember that the incubating bird was well snowed on at least once.

I look forward to seeing you again on the verge of County Trunk M.

Hooray for Hawk Season!


Photo courtesy of The Chicago Sun Times
Urban Coyote at Quiznos

From blog contributor and hawkwatcher Nara Milanich,
THEY'RE BAAAAACK and in a mini-pack this time--


Dear All,
Columbia Public Safety reports the possible presence of coyote's on the Morningside Campus.

Three animals identified as coyotes were observed in front of Lewisohn Hall this morning, 911 was contacted and NYPD responded. NYPD spotted one of the animals and confirmed it was a coyote. The one coyote that was seen by NYPD and CUPS went behind the CEPSR building and it is believed exited the campus.

An additional sighting by CU facilities was called in approximately 10:00 AM this morning but was not confirmed. All members of the community are advised not to approach these animals.

If there are any sightings, please call Columbia Public Safety immediately at 212-854-5555 or Barnard Public Safety at 212-854-3362.

Thank You,
Dianna M. Pennetti
Director of Public Safety

Three Coyotes together might be a little harder to capture than the singles that have arrived in the past. And remember folks, as it is advised not to approach them, and even if you find yourself shopping next to one in Whole Foods, no petting allowed.

Donegal Browne

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