Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Fordham Eyasses Do Jimmy Cagney from Chris Lyons


From Chris Lyons a major watcher of the Fordham nest gives us a White Heat Red-tail update--

I'd been away from the campus for the better part of four days, and wasn't sure what I'd find when I got to Collins Hall this morning--I saw just one eyass on the ledge of the pediment, and looked around vainly for any sign of fledges. Quite possible all three were in there, and only one was visible. I went back to work, figuring I'd try again at the end of the day.

It was almost 5pm when I returned, and I saw a very different scene--and something I hadn't witnessed at Collins for several years--and when I do, it always reminds me of Jimmy Cagney in "White Heat."

Movie refs aside, it's hard to be sure how far along this youngster is with the flying lessons. Showed no propensity for flight while I was watching, and actually slipped off the top of the world several times, disappearing from sight in the process--but kept climbing back up again.

It's going a little more slowly than I thought last week--of course, it's hard to be 100% sure that none of the young have left the nest and then come back again. But I'm thinking this one is the first out, and quite possibly took the dive yesterday, or this morning, and then managed to get high up enough on a nearby tree to flap up to the roof, close to the comforting presence of his or her siblings (and of course in the vicinity of where the food has always been dropped off).

They don't actually climb out of the pediment, best as I can figure. In the early stages of flight school, they do like to use the roof of Collins as a practice runway.

All three look very healthy, and my only worry is that after they're flying, they'll get too close to the continuing construction project on the new dorms, over by Webster Ave, a few hundred yards to the west of Collins. Still enough work going on there for that to be dangerous for naive young hawks. But those buildings are nearly completed now (the first occupants are slated to move in this September), and based on past observations, Rose tries to herd her kids in a more easterly direction, towards Edwards Parade and Keating Hall.

I saw squirrels foraging directly below Collins Hall today--while they might be safe from Vince and Rose there, because adult hawks have their prey drive switched off when in proximity to their nests--they better watch out for young Cagney here. And heaven help any dirty rats that show up--they're gonna get rubbed out, see? Top of the world, ma!

There is no question that the Fordam nestsite is arguably the most eyass friendly site in the city. And in a year where many eyasses have been lost Rose and Vince have so far shepherded their brood very skillfully and a big part of that is location, location, location-- which includes an obviously deep prey base.

Much more to come from the email box, not up to full speed health-wise quite yet but I'll get there. Lots of goodies on the pad waiting to be launched from Jeff Kolbrunner with some photos of behavior I'd asked about in Ravens, Cathy Horvath with the answers to my many duckling questions, Cheryl Cavert with the Kay and Jay Tulsa report, Francois will no doubt reappear again soon, and many others with updates and curious offerings as well!

D. B.

No comments: