Saturday, May 22, 2010

Red-tail Updates: Riverside Park Pair, St. John's Cathedral Nest, Unisphere, Brooklyn

Photo by Mitch Nusbaum

From astronomy buff and hawkwatcher Mitch Nusbaum--

The Riverside Pair: There is a new nest in the same tree in Riverside park as the previous nest. A passerby told me that the pair have been mating atop the Normandy.

Though we'd love for the Riverside Pair to double clutch this season, it may not be what happens. In the past when their three eyasses died of rat poison they began a second nest and there were sporadic reports of copulation but they, in the end, did not have a second brood.

There is an arc of hormones that leads to nesting and when the sequence is disrupted, as in this current case the nest falling to the ground killing their three young, the descending cascade of hormones creates a similar set of behaviors. In some cases the hormones continue descending and a second clutch does not occur even though initial behaviors appear that that may happen.

In other cases, such as in the disappearance of the eggs in the Trump Parc nest of Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. in 2005, a new set of eggs was laid, eyasses hatched, and fledged. It isn't completely clear why double clutching occurs in some cases and not in others.

More from Mitch-- Meanwhile at the Cathedral nest, at 4:30PM Saturday, 5/21 One of the parents made a visit. After she left 1 eyass was up and about at 4:40P. That eyass is sporting an Orangy chest. Photo above taken at 4:50PM...

From professional photographer and birdwatcher Francois Portmann also at the Cathedral nest later the same day as Mitch only a little later on 5/21-

Sad news for the Divines!
I was watching the nest Thursday morning and saw only 1 eyass,
today (Saturday, 5/21/2010) I went back early, curious about the 2nd nestling!
At first, same scenario with one chick,
then an adult flew in around 6:30 with a twig and started to reach deep in the nest
and pulled up a dead eyass! Perhaps trying to get it off the nest but looked too heavy and let it go down out of sight again!
It was brief but clearly showed the dead eyass (have it on video footage)
Frounce? Rat poison? Weather? Who knows?
Would be interesting to test the carcass if the pair manage to get it off the nest!
Sorry to be the messenger

In actuality the Cathedral nest started with three confirmed eyasses this season, Bruce Yolton and I saw three eyasses while both of us happened to be watching the nest at the same time. He saw three through his viewfinder and I saw three through the birding scope. It appears that nest has lost two young this season as, has the Briarwood nest.

And the Unisphere nest has lost one eyass as per Peter Richter's report, http;// , which follows--

After visiting the Unisphere yesterday evening, I noticed one of the eyasses (probably the oldest one) had fallen out of the nest and perished. I couldn't get to the body because of a fence surrounding the Unisphere during the rehab. period for the fountains below it. I will try to retrieve the body another day when the contractors are there.



Better news from excellent birder Rob Jett--

This week I surveyed the three known Brooklyn nests to see how the
hatchlings were progressing.

The easiest nest for viewing is the pine tree at the edge of Nelly's
Lawn in Prospect Park. For a second year in a row, the parents are
raising three offspring. When I visited the nest yesterday afternoon,
Nelly was busy feeding her brood. They all seem healthy and have
started to grow adult body feathers. Their wing feathers are also
growing in rapidly. In the video I shot one youngster is already
attempting to flap-hop to the opposite side of the nest.

I found a new and fairly decent viewing spot for Alice and Ralph's
Ravine nest. Over two days I monitored their nest for an hour each
time and was only able to confirm a single hatchling. Although, the
nest is very deep and the viewing angle quite steep, so there could be
another chick. The chick that I watched is well behind the ones at
Nelly's Lawn and likely most of the city's Red-tailed Hawk chicks. It
is still mostly covered with down with maybe an inch of adult feathers
seen emerging from its tail and wings.

At approximately 75 feet up in a Linden tree, the Green-Wood Cemetery
nest is the highest and most difficult to get a chick count. My friend
Marge and I watched the nest for a long time this week and only got
fleeting glimpses of an erratic, white wing flipping up above the edge
of the nest. Big Mama was sitting at the nest watching her offspring
the entire time we were present. Perhaps in another week the chick(s)
will be large enough to view clearly. I will keep you posted.

I have a short video and a couple of pics here:


Though the loss of young hawks on the nest saddens us, we must remember that in reality the fact that urban hawks exist at all is rather a miracle in itself.

Remember in these times particularly, to be glad and filled with wonder that we have any hawks at all in our lives. Consider the many dangers of the city, combined with what might be considered the "normal" dangers to raptors even without those urban dangers.

Allow your heart to fill with wonder and joy while even one pair of wide wings soar across the skyline, for, without doubt, every single hawk or falcon or owl that graces the skies of New York City or any other city, is a major miracle with talons. Feathered miracles that prod our own souls also to persevere, to adapt, to soar above what attempts to stifle us, to keep our spirits earthbound, and tempts us to allow ourselves to be less than we can be-- And teaches us to remember to love the earth and her creatures in a new way, all over again, everyday we see one.

Donegal Browne


Sally said...

THANK YOU for the updates! I haven't written my article yet.

Donegal Browne said...

You're welcome Sally.

As to the One Fifth Avenue Hawks, it is believed that the nest blew away before it could be completed and used.