Sunday, May 09, 2010

Francois Portmann Does Jamaica Bay, Red-tail Updates, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and What to Do With Orphaned Ducklings

Photo by Francois Portmann
Barn owl- what a pleasure to see a Barn Owl as they are becoming increasingly rare in many parts of the country. Too say nothing of Francois' gorgeous photography.

Photo by Francois Portmann
Glossy Ibis

Francois not only did Jamaica Bay but also put in visits to the Unisphere nest and that of the Ravens. His report--

Didn’t see the unisphere eyasses, parents were bringing food in and showing feeding behaviour.
There are at least 3 chicks at the Raven’s nest, just barely visible

Absolutely click on Francois' link for many more spectacular photos of the wildlife in Jamaica Bay

And now to the numerous Updates, Red-tail and Otherwise-- Good and Bad

From Bruce Yolton,

On Saturday, the Riverside Nest fell in high winds and all the eyesses perished immediately. I was not there but I received three independent reports confirming the sad news.

Both parents were not on the nest at the time of the accident and are safe. This pair has had the worst luck. Only one out of nine has made it through to natal dispersal in three years of nesting.

Due to changes in behavior by the parents, Jeff Kollbrunner, watcher of Mama and Papa, of the NYC Audubon HawkCam, http://www.jknaturegallery/, believes that that the eyass that disappeared from the nest was predated.

From Hawkwatcher Nara Milanich, whose fire escape as been used on various occasions as a roosting site for Isolde and Stormin' Norman--

--Tonight one of the two hawks (not sure which one) is back roosting on our fire escape. This is the first time they're back (or at least the first time we've noticed one) since the winter. Interestingly, s/he arrived later than used to be the case--I didn't check the time, but it was almost dark when s/he swooped by the window. Before, the hawks would arrive at or before sunset.

I assume the fact that one of the two parents is spending the night far from the nest must indicate the young family is reaching a new stage?

The parents have been spending more time away from the nest but there were high winds on Saturday. That is the day the Riverside Nest fell due to wind and I suspect that your hawk opted to get out of the wind by using your fire escape. In fact because of the late roost, he may have started in a tree and then switched to the fire escape after some buffeting.

I'd emailed Cathy Horvath about whether Sam's ducklings at Drew University were Mallards, as well as any advice she might have for the Super Secret Triage Rehab College Kids and their mad duckies. Here is Cathy's excellent advice. I pass it on just in case any of you find yourselves with some distraught orphaned ducklings some day.

If Sam can get a bag of dry dog food somewhere she can soak it in hot water till it gets mushy , then put it on a plate an they should eat that . We also clip grass for them to eat . Look around to find a mommy mallard . If she has similar sized babies you can distract her with bread and while she is eating drop the new ones in the mix . Luckily ducks can't count . Good luck . My babies are geese.

From birder extraordinaire Rob Jett, with an update on Brooklyn's nests--

I had time this afternoon to check on the Brooklyn hawk nests, plus one reported new nest site.

Big Mama and Junior, the Green-Wood Cemetery pair, appear to have hatchlings, although it's difficult to tell how many. Marge Hanaver and I watched Big Mama feeding at least one chick. The nest it extremely high up in a linden tree, so until the chick(s) get a bit bigger, they are very difficult to see. At one point, it did appear that Big Mama was alternating between two points within the nest, so it's possible that there are two hatchlings. I'll let you know when I'm positive.

Nelly and Max, the Prospect Park pair in the pine tree at Nelly's Lawn have three young. They appear to be between 1 and 2 weeks hatched. This is their second year with triplets. I'll post photos and a brief feeding video on my blog shortly.

Ralph and Alice, the Prospect Park Ravine pair have become impossible to view in their pine tree nest. I've seen them flying into and out of the nest, so I presume there are hatchlings, but the surrounding trees completely block the view. I'll wait a few weeks when any young might be climbing around and report back.

Marge and I also went to McCarren Park in Williamsburg to look for the reported nesting hawks. There were definite signs that nests were attempted in the lighting structures above both the baseball fields and across the road at the outdoor track. The track's lighting seemed a bit more substantial, but neither were complete enough for raising young. We spoke with a young couple who saw us checking out the incomplete nest on the baseball field. They said that they see "the falcon" around the park fairly regularly, but also suggested we check closer to the water. There are several large oak trees around the park, but nothing big enough to support a Red-tailed Hawk nest (or to overlook one, if they did build it). There are also several incomplete condos around the area that could have been selected as a nest site. I'll keep you posted.


The City Birder Weblog

Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

Re: "Due to changes in behavior by the parents, Jeff Kollbrunner, watcher of Mama and Papa, of the NYC Audubon HawkCam, http://www.jknaturegallery/, believes that that the eyass that disappeared from the nest was predated."

Is there more information about what behavior changes are happening? I did not see any entry on the website...

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Karen,

Actually Jeff was going to write a short piece on the changes in Mama and Papa's behavior but with the illness and then death of the second eyass that understandably went undone.

From what Jeff told me on the phone Mama and Papa were very unusually agitated and Mama had taken to using different perches at night. Mama was also seen on the cam previous to the first eyasse's disapearance, repeatedly tracking something in the sky. On the day and evening of the rain, Saturday, she left the nest repeatedly and it was thought she may have been taking defensive perches during those times to protect the nest. All of this of course is surmise as no predator was seen on the Hawkcam by anyone we know of.

Karen Anne said...

Two eyasses no longer with us? At least the third one looks healthy...

Donegal Browne said...

Today is May 12 and I finally was able to access the HawkCam here in Wisconsin. The remaining eyass was asleep, woke up, walked around, and went back to sleep. As of now, she is looking good. Fingers crossed.

Karen Anne said...

I just say her doing some test wing flapping. Looking good, cross fingers.

First sparrow fledgling of the season on my deck yesterday.

Donegal Browne said...

Haven't seen any fledglings beyond Doorstep and Friend's two yet. Thought Doorstep might be back on the nest again but not yet, full time anyway, as I saw the pair eating together this afternoon.

The yard is packed with Cowbirds, I feel for the Chipping Sparrows already.

Yup, Eyass still is looking good.