Friday, March 26, 2010

NAME THOSE HAWKS, Doves Don't Do it in Public and NYC Red-tail Updates

Hi Donegal,
I read recently on your blog about ravens - so I wanted to share these photos of a recent encounter I had with a redtail and raven (maybe?).
Last week I was in Arkansas visiting my daughter and while she was in class, I headed to one of my favorite places on the Caddo River near Arkadelphia ( 70 miles southwest of Little Rock). As I was getting ready to drive off, a redtail hawk flew into the clearing I was in! I quickly parked again and jumped out with my camera at the ready

... the redtail soon took off with a couple of large black birds following loudly in pursuit (ravens or crows?).

After about 90 seconds, the redtail circled ever higher and disappeared as the forest became quieter again.
Several weeks ago when I was in the same area, several hawks (Coopers or red shouldered, my photos were not clear enough for me to tell) were also being harassed by these black birds. I suspect they have a nest in the area the redtail flew into this last time.

I will also send along an update on Kay and Jay and their nest!
All my best - Cheryl

What is it about Red-tailed Hawks that makes them so rideable? Though this one looks to be heading down which might make it a little more difficult for the rider to peck at her head.
Cheryl, I think what you have here is a battle of Crows vs Red-tailed Hawk.
I got out my handy dandy Peterson's Field Guide and refreshed my memory about the sizes of the birds in question.
Red-tailed Hawks range from 19 t0 24 inches. American Crows come in at 17 to 21 and the Common Raven at 22 to 27 inches. Therefore looking at the size difference in the photographs I'm coming down on the side of Crows and Crows are infamous for taking on Red-tailed Hawks. Though smaller, given enough Crows they can become a real danger for Red-tails.

And yes, one of the NYC Coyotes was nabbed, from Robin of Illinois-


From hawkwatcher Peter Richter--

I posted a few updates on my blog-- Athena is now incubating eggs at Astoria Park, nest building still continues in Woodside, and I can't seem to figure out what is going on over at 1 fifth avenue. I plan to visit the Unisphere tom. where I believe I will find the female sitting on eggs, and 1 fifth avenue again Sunday to see if anything is happening with that nest. If you could ask your readers to come up with some names for all 3 pairs (Unisphere, Woodside- I'm considering Harry and Sally, and 1 fifth avenue), I'm getting tired of calling them male and female!!!




From graduate student Zach Lemle who lives near the 1 Fifth nest.

Things are very heavy with school at the moment, I only have 6 weeks left until graduation so the work seems to be coming to a head. I was away for a week and when I got back in was raining so I didn't see either of them for a few days. I saw one fly past my window once this past week but I have not noticed as much activity as I had in the previous weeks. Admittedly I haven't had as much time to pay attention but I'll spend more time looking.

As for names, to me the most logical always seemed like George and Martha, if they live in his namesake park they might as share their names. Archie seems a little silly to me (but that's just me!).

And speak of the devil, I just saw one of them land on the green cornice on one of the NYU buildings across the park, I'll see if I can get some new pictures. Speak soon.

- Zach


I wondered if life might be getting in the way of hawkwatching, it happens to us all now and again.

As to the names George and Martha, I’m pretty sure that there is already a George and Martha in town. So though apropos to these birds, someone beat us to the punch.

If these hawks have started sitting the nest, which they very well may have, there will be less action compared to when they were working on the nest. They'll switch several times a day for the female to eat and have breaks but that's pretty much it for activity during incubation unless you see the male hunting or an intruder comes into the territory. And unwelcome visitor can cause lots of screaming and a hot pursuit.

THE WISCONSIN REPORT--Still no sign of the County Rd. M Red-tails but other birds are doing their spring thing...

I'd seen this young pair of Mourning Doves a few days ago warming themselves on the cement curb, than again as the male, the tall glass of water on the right, was driving the little plump bisquit of a female across the road.

"Driving" part of the dove family courting ritual, consists of the male following the female closely, every minute of the day so no other males can butt in. Mourning doves are rather polite about driving actually, giving the female some feet between himself and her tail. Pigeons on the other hand are so close when driving that they practically walk on the females tail.

They then flew up to the corner of the roof of an adjacent house, the female leaning over in an invitation to copulate and the male is about to take her up on it, when she notices I'm still watching.

Then he notices what she has noticed and gives me a look.

Then walks away from the hen still looking at me.

Then they are both staring at me--waiting. It is then I remember I've never once seen Mourning Doves copulate and it is clear why. They just aren't going to do it if you're looking. Feeling like some Peeping Tom, I drive away. I've no doubt they then got back to the matter at hand.

A swatch of rabbit fur (?) in the garden.

With the thaw one can see this well used rodent trail to the garden, that previously was covered with snow.

A closer look. It is beginning to get dark but the Robins are still calling at full voice.

I look up at the moon, in the sky of azure and clearly outlined against the blue, the Maple buds are swollen and about to burst. And today was the first day in which the male squirrels have begun to chase the females.


Earlier today at the NYBG, I saw a young red-tail hunting, or rather, trying to hunt by the twin lakes.

I've uploaded three photos on to my flickr page. Here is the direct link to one of them.

Also, attached is a pic of a coopers hawk deeply entrenched in the wild wetlands. It was impossible to get a clear shot. Nextime, I'll ask him to move. : )

Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

Driving, I've seen doves do that on my deck railing. I always thought the male was saying, come here, sweetie, and the female was saying, in your dreams :-)

Your man in NYC, Bill said...

Lyrics to "Lullabye of Birdland"
(Geroge Shearing/Bobby Troup):

Have you ever heard two turtle doves
Bill and coo when they love?
That's the kind of magic
We'll make with our lips
When we kiss.

Shy, indeed!

Donegal Browne said...

There is a bit of that isn't there. The females keep walking faster and faster. They seem much more interested in finding yummy morsels than dealing with the guy behind them...well up until a certain point anyway.