Saturday, March 13, 2010

Who Are the 1 Fifth Hawks and Who is Mom and Who is Dad? Plus HUGE NEWS about Rat Poison in NYC

Photo by Francois Portmann
(Note the light eyes, this bird is only 2 or 3 years old.)

From Francois Portmann--The unbanded Red-tail of the 1 Fifth pair, possibly the tiercel. (For more photos in this sequence click on Francois' link above.) This is the other hawk of the oneFifth pair, maybe the tiercel!
There is some confusion about the female, the Tompkins girl, Valkyrie was not banded and the pic you sent shows a band.

(For more photos in the sequence of this hawk having lunch click on Francois' link above.)

Photo by Zach L.

Photo by Zach L.

From new hawkwatcher Zach L. , who lives in an adjacent building and has been vigilantly watching this pair--


I did not notice that little silver band around one of the hawk's legs. That clearly looks like it has been banded right? I realized that the band helps to distinguish between the two. The hawk on the red construction bracket has a band and the one I photographed in the tree yesterday morning does not. So at least I have close up photos of each of them. I've sent along two pics with arrows showing where the band is on one and where it is missing on the other.

- Zach

Yes Zach, that bird definitely has a band. Wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath confirms. Bobby also reminded me that if he banded the bird, a right leg band would mean she was female and and a left banded leg would mean a male. Yesterday I was thinking the band was on the right leg but today I'm not sure--perhaps I should be looking into a new pair of glasses.

Photo of the non-banded member of the pair by Zach L.

Zach also sent me a great photo of the nest building with an arrow pointing to the nest but so far blogger doesn't want to post it. I'll keep trying.


By Serena Solomon

DNAinfo Reporter/Prodcuer

UPPER WEST SIDE — With spring in the air, the Parks Department is pulling back on rat baiting for the sake of nesting red-tailed hawks throughout the city.

There are more than 30 nesting pairs of hawks throughout New York City and rats are a common source of food for the top predator. However, when rodents consume the poison put out by the Parks Department they pass on toxins through the food chain harming the hawks and their young.

"Red-tail hawks are a real success in New York City. Their numbers are increasing," said Sarah Aucoin, the director of the Urban Park Rangers that is part of the Parks Department.

"We want to ensure the nest and the young are viable."

Aucoin said the big problem with baited rats is the bio accumulation, where the red-tailed hawks consumes the rodents or feeds on another animal that consumed a rat.

"A rat may have a small amount of poison, but hawks feed on lots of rats and rodents," she said. The toxins accumulate in the hawk's body killing or making them sick.

The priority of the hawks does throw a minor wrench in the works for those fighting rats in the city.

Poisonous baiting that would have happened in Union Square, Washington Square, Inwood, Riverside and Central Park have all been put on hold.

"Rather than bait, we just use rat traps," New York Parks & Recreation spokeswoman Cristina DeLuca told DNAinfo via e-mail.

"Since we are only using traps in these areas, it does affect our ability to control the rat populations."

DeLuca encouraged the public to help keep the rat population under control by keeping the city's parks clean of rubbish.

Hawks have been long been a fascination for city dwellers, with one of the New York's most famous love stories staring two red-tailed hawks — Pale Male and Lola, who made their nest on the 12th floor ledge of a Fifth Avenue apartment block.

"It is really a symbol of wildlife, of how wild the city really is," said Aucoin. She said one of the ways to pick a hawk soaring high above the city is they tend to glide and not flap, with their wings catching the rising wind currents.

"Wherever you are in New York City and if you look up you will probably see one," said Aucoin.


(As it isn't mentioned you might want to ask nicely if the program is also in play in other areas where there are hawk nests, such as the New York Botanical Garden for instance.)

P.S. From the comments section--personally I'm particularly partial to the name Archie.

Your Man in NY said...
RE: Hawk naming... for the Washington Square Park/Number One Fifth Avenue pair... Georgina for the female, Archie for the male. Of course Georgina after George Washington, and Archie after the Washington Square Arch which stands at the entrance of the park just steps away from Number One. If Georgina is not acceptable, then Eleanor (Mrs Roosevelt lived at Number One) or perhaps Ethel (Merman once entertained at the night club at Number One)

Friday, March 12, 2010 12:05:00 PM EST

1 comment:

mental mosaic said...

That's good news about the rat poison!

This is my first visit to your blog. I'm heading to NYC in a few days and would like to see some urban hawks.

I'm having a hard time finding out exactly where the nesting pairs in NYC are. Would you mind telling me, or pointing me in the right direction?