Friday, April 16, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk Updates--The Late Athena of Astoria, Mama and Papa in Briarwood, Rose and Vince, and Isolde at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The late Athena feeding her eyasses, May 2009

Wildlife rehabilitator Cathy Horvath, with an update on Athena's necropsy--

Hello everyone,

We just got a call from the DEC about the necropsy of Athena . It seems that she did not pass by getting hit by a car like the doctor that examined her had thought. She was poisoned by eating a rodent. Again.

I couldn't believe it, but all the testing that was done so far points to poison. There is one more test that they would like to do with the liver , but it is a very expensive test and they have to hold off for a while. They will be sending us the findings that they have so far, then we will post them to everyone . This is too to0 sad. So everyone please keep happy thoughts in your hearts that Athena's eggs hatch . Thank you to everyone for all the help and effort it took to gather her eggs up. It will be an amazing thing if they hatch !


Cathy and Bobby

Thank you Cathy. I kept wondering what had occurred that caused Athena to be hit by a car after avoiding them all these years. And as it turns out, she hadn't lost her awareness of motor vehicles, but rather once again it is likely rat poison that has caused the passing of another of New York City's much watched and loved Red-tailed Hawks.

I still have my finger's crossed that we'll get a little miracle of a hatch from she and Atlas' eggs.

From Jeff Kollbrunner, long time watcher of Mama and Papa in Queens--

Hey Donna,

Here are some images of the nest, two are when Mama was still sitting on eggs taken on 4/5. The other two images were taken on 4/12 when I could see two of the nestlings at about 3-4 days of age with Mama.

Best, Jeff

As the first hawk progeny in Manhattan came from Pale Male, who is obviously pale as are some of his fledglings, we've always wondered where the darker hawks who mated with the pale ones came from. When I looked at this photo of Mama, it made me think of Isolde. There is something similar about their eyes. And as Mama and Papa have been in business for at least 16 years, it is possible that they have supplied some of those mates.

The other day, when I got Jeff's update that there were actually three eyasses on the Briarwood nest, I asked how often Mama and Papa produce three eyasses. Here is his response.-


Mama and Papa typically have two eggs/nestlings on a fairly regular basis. The anomalies are as follows, they produced one egg/nestling on two separate occasions (seasons) and that was when there was human interference with those nests and they had to rebuild and have second clutch. Last year they had two nestlings and one perished in the nest at about two weeks and the second nestling successfully fledged. However, they have produced three eggs/nestlings more of late, this years nest and two years ago all three successfully fledged.

All the best, Jeff

That is a sweet hawk expression if I ever saw one.

Some thoughts on Rose and Vince of Fordham from Pat Gonzalez our contributor who keeps her eyes peeled at the New York Botanical Garden--

I saw Rose and Vince at the Garden two weeks ago flying above the museum building. But sadly, I've never seen them sitting on the nest there.

They both have been working on the nest at Fordham and mating at the NYBG, (Look at my youtube video. That day, I saw them mate three times.)

With this in mind, could Vince possibly be sterile?


It may be that Vince just isn't quite old enough to be highly fertile and therefore no eggs were produced. I'd hate to call him sterile exactly, as that seems to be insinuating a more permanent condition. Though technically that could be the temporary case as he is still very young. Perhaps a possible immature sperm count would be a good way to put it.

Next up the nest at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

Photo by Mitchell Nusbaum
Hawkwatcher and astronomy buff Mitch Nusbaum's comment-Around 3:00PM, Thursday, a hawk, who I assume to be Isolde was visible from this spot. What could she be doing? (I do think it is Isolde. D. B.)

Different formels have different styles and Isolde very seldom spends much time perched on the lip of the nest unless there has been a hatch. Though neither Mitch nor Rob Schmunk, , (click the link for Rob's latest post), last I heard, have seen the poking motions of feeding. Isolde may be waiting for an eyass to make its way fully out of the shell or the eyass is unencumbered but has not started to beg as yet. They ordinarily don't start begging immediately.

I'm back in NYC though currently it is the 40's and raining actively. I'll try to get over and check on the Cathedral nest tomorrow, Saturday.

Donegal Browne

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