Saturday, April 24, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk Updates-- A Hatch in Tulsa, At the Unisphere, The Divines at the Cathedral, the A's Nest Plastic, and the No Kill Zone

Photo by Cheryl Cavert-Kay on the nest with at least one eyass

Hi Donegal,
After about 3 weeks of patiently waiting and watching Kay tend to something in the nest bowl, finally today I was rewarded with a glimpse of Kay and Jay's little fluffball!
Also I've sent along a photo of Kay from last week, perched one evening at the top of their nesting tower - such a fierceness about her as she guards her home!
All my best – Cheryl

Cheryl, how wonderful! They've done it again!

Have you watched Kay feed? Early on did she only feed in one position or did she shift and feed in another? Currently your eyass or eyasses are likely up off their haunches and would move easily and you wouldn't be able to tell so easily. (Look at my recent blogs with Isolde feeding, she shifts positions as we suspect there are at least two eyasses in that nest.) I just wondered if they had an other eyass up there. I noticed that there appeared to be a lump on the right side of the nest that could just be nest but might also be a back lit eyass curled up asleep.

Photo by Cheryl Cavert-
Fierce Kay

Photo by Peter Richter-
Andromeda on the nest with Plastic

When I saw this photo on Peter Richter's blog, , I wrote and asked him if he knew if the plastic was something that Atlas or Andromeda had put there or something that had put itself there? Here is Peter's response--

I have no idea how it got up there, I guess it could have been thrown out of a car or fell off a truck on the bridge and the wind just happened to sweep it that way. I can't imagine why they would bring it up there, it doesn't seem like it would serve any purpose for the nest, and it was stuck on the left side of the nest originally. It if would have ended up in the lining of the bowl I could see how it would be possible they brought it up there, but the way it is lodged on the side makes me think wind and sloppy humans are the culprit.

When Bobby went to investigate the nest in the Woodside Projects last year he noticed some pieces of plastic covered wires in the nest. I could see the hawks bringing that into the nest as it looks like a twig, and is more flexible and easier to maneuver than a twig. But plastic sheeting would just be too weird for them to use. Atlas is an experienced nest builder and he has been doing most of the work on this nest. His young female looks like she may be ready to lay eggs very soon. I'll probably end up there this weekend to see if she is ready to go.

Regards, Peter

I couldn't imagine why they'd put the plastic up there either just wanted to confirm. Though I couldn't imagine why Charlotte and Junior put a long chunk of foam rubber??, Insulation??, Swimming noodle??, Something, on their Trump Parc nest either. Then again they seem to be our Bohemian Hawks-- nesting in a place with a fourth wall, no green space for the eyasses to fledge into, and well, how shall I say it—they do things outside the box.

Photo by Peter Richter-Cathy comes into the nest.
Check out Peter's other wonderful photos of the Unisphere nest at
(This pair was named for our wonderful rehabbers Cathy and Bobby Horvath.)

Also concerning a previous topic, long time observer of Rose and Hawkeye and now Rose and Vince, Chris Lyons of Fordham, responds to the theory of a no kill zone around Red-tail nests.

I once saw Hawkeye and Rose stand off a strange Red-Tail who had gotten within a hundred feet of their nest on Collins Hall. Neither was ON the nest, but both were right by it, making agitated sounds, and bobbing their heads aggressively. Hawkeye then flew directly at the intruder, who prudently departed the vicinity in a hurry.

So yes, it would be an overstatement to say that all aggression is completely switched off within the no-kill zone. They don't hunt within the zone, but they will defend it.

Another time, watching a Red-Tail nest in Van Cortlandt Park, where the female was incubating, I saw a squirrel climb onto the underside of the nest. The female's hackles went up as she heard the rustling sounds beneath her, and she seemed kind of freaked out, but she made no move to go after the squirrel. Hard to say what might have happened if he'd gotten into the nest itself, but he wasn't that bold.

The squirrel's behavior, in the immediate presence of a major predator, tends to suggest that he instinctively knew he was in little or no danger as long as he was in that zone--it's almost impossible for a Red-Tail to catch a squirrel on a tree anyhow, at least if it sees them coming. If he'd actually frightened her off the nest (and inexperienced breeders often will panic temporarily), he might very well have had hawk's egg for lunch.

I also once saw a Southern Flying Squirrel glide right past a Great Horned Owl at dusk--very near the owl's nest. Raptors are impressive, but you really have to give it up for rodents sometimes. ;)


I thought I'd put up some of the updates without most of the Cathedral update as the photos from my latest visit to the Cathedral to watch the Divines, Isolde, Norman, and the invisible eyasses, is labeled CONFUSED and I was completely. It is taking me awhile to sort things out so in the meantime I know that Rob Schmunk who was also there got a dynamite shot of Isolde and Norman switching so you can check that out at-- ,
while I try and figure out what I've got.


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