Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mama and Papa Red-tail, the Nesting Raven Pair in NYC, and the Blackwater Eagles

Jeff Kollbrunner, of a major watcher of Red-tailed Hawk pair Mama and Papa, and last year's single NYC nesting Raven pair has sent his first missive of the new season .

Some updates from Queens, NY. We visited the Ravens nest a few days ago to sadly discover it has been removed from the steel water tower. This must have happened recently, during our treks to search for Mama and Papa over the winter we could see the Raven nest from a distance and the last time we noticed it as best we can remember was about 4-6 weeks back. There are cell repeaters on the water tower and the nest was located next to one of these devices. We can only assume since it was high up, difficult and dangerous to access the cell maintenance folks must have removed it at some point. The Ravens were very vocal as they attempted to rebuild a new nest one level higher on the tower. Unfortunately, their branches were falling off the steel beams as there were no cables to anchor their branches.

Yesterday (Friday) we visited the nest site again, they started two more locations on the tower each more successful than the previous. The third location seems to be taking shape but very strong winds in NY today have done some damage and the size of the nest is reduced by about 30 percent since yesterday and the Raven pair was not present this afternoon. Hopefully they get back to work when the wind diminishes and can complete this new nest. I'm including photos of all three nests they have started.

As for Mama and Papa, there is a major construction project on the expressway in their territory. It appears that Mama and Papa are not happy with all the heavy equipment, destruction of mature trees and constant commotion to widen the expressway. We have found Mama and Papa building a nest high up in a nearby white pine tree, this is only the second nest they have built in a tree. We hope this will be their nest for the season since the construction project has placed a significant amount of rat poison stations in Mama and Papa's territory, some are less than 50 yards from Mama and Papa's nest from last season. With a contaminated food chain the further away from this area the better. Unfortunately, the new nest location still has proximity to the poison and we are very concerned for Mama, Papa and their offspring overall safety this season. We all know the impact of rat poison in the city to birds of prey over the last number of nesting seasons. I'm doing all I can to negotiate with those in charge of the project and have the poison removed but it is an uphill battle and I'm not making much progress. I have included a photo of their new nest for this season.
I hope to be updating my website soon so everyone can stay up to date on Mama and Papa's activities and images from this nesting season including updates and images of the Ravens.
All the best, Jeff

In from Robin of Illinois--The Blackwater Eagles have their first chick!


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