Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pale Male, Lola, and the New Girl, Valkyrie Plays Tennis, and No She Isn't the New Girl

Photo by Francois Portmann
Pale Male's New Girl
A reader had suggested that Valkyrie (also called Dominatrix), might be Pale Male's New Girl (Photo above) as they were both rather dark.

I asked photographer Francois Portman if he might have some photos for us to compare and yet again Francois came through with the goods.

Valkyrie is the next photo down. Compare the belly bands, the amount of white on head and under beak area, "eyebrows", and the dark patagial mark of the two hawks.

What? You came in late and missed the part about the patagial mark?

Time out. We'll recap.

Patagial is the adjective derived from the noun patagium.

Yes, and?

The patagium is the expanse of skin on the fore edge of the wing running from the head to the wrist. In this case, there is a dark patagial mark on the patagium. (Red-tailed hawks have a light under wing with a dark patagial mark which no other hawk species has in North America, making it a dandy field mark when the bird is in flight.)

Photo by Francois Portmann- www.fotoportmann.com/birdblog/
Directly above is a three view merged photo of Valkyrie of Tompkins Square Park.

Okay as long as we're talking about the patagial mark. How do they compare? Hmm.

I think New Girl's might be a bit darker particularly as the photo with Val's is taken from below against a bright sky likely making it appear darker than it might be if she were in the same position that New Girl is.

What about the white patch on the neck under the beak which supposedly all Red-tailed Hawks have. Check out New Girl first.

Looking at New Girl, one questions if the above is true. Do all Red-tailed hawks have that patch?

Whereas Val, check her neck out, comparatively has quite a visible bright white patch.

And the "eyebrow"? New Girl's, when you can see them, does appear more tawny.

And one of the biggest identifying factors to nail a particular hawk's identity--the belly band. And as Francois pointed out, just look how different they are. The difference is not only the saturation of color but also the shape appears completely different on the two birds.

THE CONCLUSION- We've definitely got two different birds here.

Pale Male just charms these floating females out of the sky whenever there is a need.

"I believe their guestimate of the new mate's age is off by quite a bit, with her light eyes."

Without a doubt Robin, by 4 years old, New Girl's eyes would be getting onto as dark as they are going to get.

Here's the link to the piece, (which includes a quote from John Blakeman about Lola's likely cause of death).

Whimsy of Valkyrie of Tompkins Square Park Playing "Tennis"
by Francois Portmann

Charming and hilarious besides.

And from Sally of Kentucky, another long time contributor, sent in this link of a supposed drunken owl in Germany standing in a stupor by a roadside. She believes the owl was far more likely to have had a head injury after being hit by a car as opposed to drinking schnapps. I have to agree.

German Police Pick up Drunken Owl

I'd not noticed before, and perhaps as we'd just had a blizzard it may be a somewhat new or irregular behavior, but at 8:30am, with the day still coming on, Doorstep Dove, Friend and another Dove, conceivably one of their youngsters from last summer, were out on the heated bird bath, warming up for the coming day.

Donegal Browne

No comments: