Monday, March 15, 2010

Pale Male and Lola's Nest Since the Apocalypse

12-15-2004 The nest is gone, everything is gone. No spikes, no twigs, no nothing.

Why are we talking about this? I thought a bit of a recap overview might be nice as we're back talking about "THE NEST" and whether it will be successful or not this year. Why? Because it is Spring and with Spring comes the eternal hope of hawkwatchers that this year will be the one. You never do know know..... right?

(For whatever reason this photograph won't let me crop it so though not stellar you can see there are now some twigs up there but the nest isn't very wide nor high. but considering they've had just a month or so to work on it, they've been extremely busy hawks.)

Ohio's John Blakeman sent Marie Winn a note concerning the matter a few days ago,

The size of the 927 nest is more than ample this year. Any failure now cannot be a result of incubation heat loss through protruding metal spikes or even wind penetrating through the nest. The birds and the bowl of the nest are now far above the underlying pigeon spikes, and the nest parallels in size and shape of those in open trees. If there is an insulating warmth problem during incubation, it will be the fault solely of the birds themselves.
But they are experienced nest-builders, so there is every reason to believe they've properly completed adequate nest construction this year.
If there are no hatched eyasses this year, the only explanation I'll have will be the one that others proposed in previous unsuccessful years, that Pale Male now has geriatric semen insufficiency. He may be shooting blanks, dare we say.

But we can't know that for a month now. Here's hoping that once again eyasses grace the heights of 927 Fifth Ave.

One other conjecture, one that I've raised also with The Franklin Institute red-tails in Philadelphia. Both Philadelphia and New York had lengthy periods of deep and persisting snow in January and February, right when the haggard formels of both nests normally put on weight and capture sufficient food to support three eggs. Given the somewhat challenging hunting conditions in the New York and Philadelphia winters (and likewise here in northern Ohio) I would not be surprised to see red-tail clutches of one or two eggs, instead of the more typical twos and threes.

--John Blakeman

03-28-2007 Pale Male and Lola are about to do a nest switch. Note she can incubate and still have her "chin" resting on the top of the twigs. Also the side of the nest where Pale Male is standing isn't as high as the front section.

In the meantime I'd written something as well about the nest and the chance for success-- Karen Anne Kolling then sent it to Marie and John,

03-28-2007 Lola vacates the bowl and Pale Male goes in and does a turn. He is standing, I'd say, astride the eggs and so in the lowest portion of the bowl as he turns but his head, part of his back and tail still show.

Marie and John,

Ref John's letter on Marie's blog today, Donna has seen the nest innards from the roof, and below are two comments from her blog. I doubt, just logically, that PM would be afflicted by a physical problem coincidentally with the trashing of the nest and the structure being built, just imho. Kind of adds insult to injury to blame him for what the denizens of the building did.

Karen Anne said...

That's a very impressive nest. I keep hoping they will eventually get it thick enough to offset whatever that structure underneath it has done to disrupt the reproductive situation.

Blogger Donegal Browne said...


That is what I hope as well, but when I was on the roof looking down, it seemed that the bowl itself receives a new lining each year as the grasses and bark from the previous year have deteriorated but as more and more of the sitting hawk disappears each season it seems that the bowl itself isn't rising just the sides of the nest. Also the bowl is right up next to the wall where previously the "eyebrow" masonry was flush up against the masonry of the wall itself, now there is a space because of the cradle. Cold air can blow under the cradle and be forced through the smaller space at the back with more of a rush right up into the edge of the bowl. They could be putting more twigs in that space which might help Let's hope that Pale Male and Lola have felt the breeze and have made that section extra thick.
Lola certainly had had her head in the bowl for extensive work the other day. Fingers crossed.

01-04-2008 A photo of the bowl of the nest with the previous season's eggs in it. Note the blur of white on the bottom left edge. That is a portion of the overhang just above the nest. The bowl is circular and so continues further out of frame. You can't see it in the photograph but I could leaning further over. As the side rim is lower than the front rim, so is the back edge of the rim sparser and less thick still. The back edge of the bowl is quite close to the wall.

At which point John Blakeman responded--except I'm not sure how I got his response and so haven't located it yet. It will show up eventually But if you go to Marie's site, the current top post has some lovely thoughts on why we do what we do every year just as the hawks do too. Check it out

01-28-2008 The day the pigeon spikes were clipped from the center section of the nest Lola had just been making passes at the workman above her head. She then landed on the nest and I surmise she is standing on the back rim of the nest which must be a little more substantial than it was three weeks before but it is still not of the height of the front edge and also possibly less thick than that front "wall" of twigs as was observed earlier in the process.

02-28-2010 Pale Male and Lola's nest 927 Fifth Avenue
But look at the nest for 2010 and compare with 2007.


Let us hope that though more of the sitting hawk disappeared from sight each year that in the meantime with the previous years debris beneath the inner bowl as each new year's lining was added that the bowl itself has become more and more impervious to external factors as time has passed.
I wasn't digiscoping in 2006 so I don't have any photos that are comparable to the following years, but looking back at my field notes is illuminating. The sides of the nest weren't much higher that the rim of the inner concavity itself as I was able to see Lola's head, neck sometimes her back and almost always her tail when she had her brood patch on the eggs and was in complete incubation stance.

03-14-2010 Here are two views of the Ms nest from last season (and we hope this season) photographed 5 days apart.

03-09-2010 Can you find any "nestorations" that might cue us that work was done on it during those five days?

Photo Courtesy of Gene Mancini of the Franklin Institute
FIRST EGG DAY TWO AT THE RED-TAILED HAWK NEST ON THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE IN PHILADELPHIA (Note the bits of newspaper and is that a portion of waxed paper or plastic bag up left? They seem to use lots of evergreen as well in this nest .)

And the link, courtesy of Robin of Illinois--
Much more to come--Sandhill Cranes and guess who I saw sitting on top of a certain oak tree in a certain field? Plus updates from all over--life is just getting in the way of the important stuff, like HAWKS, but I will catch up and so will you.

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

Here's John's response:

Karen Anne,

The continuing annual failures of the 927 nest, following the nest removal and nest support device escapades, are still unsolved. I noted that there is a lot more material up there this year, that the nest rim, at least, is standing higher.

The nest now has the bulk and shape of a typical tree nest, so I would presume it could now handle winds from any direction or velocity.

And in honesty, my suggestion of geriatric decline of Pale Male's gametes is not well supported by the record of many very old (15 -- 25 year old) wild haggards reproducing every year.

Per chance, I just hope this nest succeeds this year. Its success or failure will be unexplained. Perplexing altogether (like a lot of stuff in New York City).


John A. Blakeman