Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1 Fifth, and Junior and Charlotte Updates, Portmann Pix, and Red-tails With a Definite Ax to Grind (What IS Going On Here?)

From Francois Portmann, another memory-- Athena coming out of the East River after a bath.

Photo by Zach Lemle
From Zach Lemle, who keeps an eye on the 1 Fifth Hawks--

It's got a half a squirrel or bird in it's talons... early dinner I guess.

Zach, could that be Archie making a delivery to Whitney?

And an update from Brett Odom, chief watcher of Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte, the Southern Central Park Hawks-

Hey Donna. I just wanted to provide you with an update of Charlotte and Jr. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide any conclusive evidence today of an egg or even brooding behavior, but I can relay the following:

For the past 6 days I have not seen either Charlotte or Jr. However, this morning when I walked into my office I saw Jr. just as he landed on the nest ledge. He walked behind the glass and when I looked through my binoculars I could tell that Charlotte was also behind the glass standing up on the nest. Jr. then walked out from behind the glass and flew off. I continued watching Charlotte and I could tell that she was engaged in eating motions. She was definitely pulling the flesh off of something and eating it. Junior must have just brought her a meal.

Now, I am not sure if Charlotte had been on the nest all this time or perhaps she showed up just a few moments before Jr. and before I arrived in my office. While she was eating I had to leave my office and when I returned I could no longer determine if Charlotte was still behind the glass on the nest.

Perhaps it is good news that I have not seen Charlotte for 6 days soaring above CP or sitting on the Essex House sign. Maybe this means she has been sitting on the nest all those days and I just cannot see through all the dirt and the grime on the window to see her outline. Also, she could be sitting behind the afore mentioned plastic bag which has further decreased visibility through the glass.


Photo by Francois Portmann
More bad raptor news from Francois Portmann, it appears that the Great Horned Owl nest in the NYBG has failed. Visit his site for some cheer including the above Mallard hen plus the relaxing seal.

This is the post I was working on when the news arrived about Athena. I'd been out driving from one body of water to another looking for migrating water fowl when suddenly I saw a pale Red-tail sitting atop a power pole. 99% of the time stopping and attempting to get a photo of one of these power pole hunters is an act of futility. The minute I pull the scope out of the car, they hot wing it out of there so I wasn't holding out much hope...

Following my best procedure so far, I pulled past the bird a good way as opposed to stopping before going past the hawk. I left the motor running and the radio playing. I then took the above photo before pulling the scope out to digiscope. Wow. The hawk is still there. Though you'll note something if you look carefully that I didn't see at the time.

There are actually two Red-tailed Hawks sitting on poles next to each other. This rarely to never happens even with bonded pairs.

I pulled the scope out, put the camera on, focused, and big WOW, the hawk hadn't even looked at me yet. What's the distraction that is making me so unimportant?

Okay, that's it. I'm getting the look. But no. It's then I notice another Red-tail make a couple of very short passes over this one. There is a high wind by the way. An attempt to copulate but the wind is buffeting the hawk so he can't get into position?

As it turns out that would be a big NO!

Because when Two lands he goes into a very aggressive posture. One appears to be ignoring Two. Or the hawk version of ignoring anyway.

Because when One turns his head, suddenly his head feathers have taken on a distinctive puffed "hairdo", his hackles are raised so high.

Interestingly, Two then takes off...

...and goes back to his previous perch on the other pole.

Then Two comes off that perch again and does some more passes at One.

One either raises his hackles and stares or pretends not to notice Two.


...Two then flies down and perches directly below One.

One appears to lean over and watch Two who appears to he watching for prey.

Two goes back to his original perch. ???

One appears to take a moment to look at me.

Two takes off his perch and screams the famous KHEEEeeee, trademark call, while passing below One.

Still screaming, he starts to circle back gaining altitude.

Here Two comes, One is still giving him his back.

More back.

One gives a look.


And then BAM, contact.

One is knocked off the perch.

Back he comes.

BAM! More fisticuffs. I've never seen this much contact in the city, ever.

Two comes off the perch. Note One passing the left pole.


By this point I've lost track of who is whom.
(Somehow I skipped a photo right here, the bird heading for the top of the pole, I think One, perches and then comes off the pole like a bullet after the other hawk.)

Then back to jockeying for position.

Is a tail feather being pulled out?

More screaming.

Continue down to Park 2 below in the next post.

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