Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pale Male, Ginger Lima, Red-tail vs Crow, Chicken Eating Robin, Cooper's, Thirteen- lined Ground Squirrel, & John Blakeman

Photo courtesy of palemale.com

Ginger Lima is still bringing grass and other nest bowl material to the bowl. I'm very pleased that the bowl lining is being thickened just in case there is an cold air leakage from the bottom they may have been affecting the egg viability since the carriage was installed.

Next up-
Here is nest watcher Brett Odom's answer to Melody's question about the exact position of the 888 7th Avenue nest site, and the place where the Peregrine suns herself--

The old nest is located on the east side of the building. The building is L shaped and the east side actually has two sides to it. It is the side closest to 7th Avenue, right above the Redeye Grill.

I was driving along High Street when I saw the bright buffy breast of a Red-tail on the top of a pole with three Crows diving at him. I pulled over, jumped out of the car, and the hawk had taken off with the crows in hot pursuit
. I re-spotted them across the street in a small tree. Off I went to get closer.

Typically the crows are cawing their brains out and the Red-tail is a yearling still sporting a brown tail. Though now the hawk is in a tree there is no diving at him as I assume the branches make diving dangerous to the crows.

Eventually the hawk has enough.

And he takes off over the field adjacent to the local high school which has a wooded nature area behind it.

A glide...

...a nip through the branches of a small tree...

...and back out the other side.

He goes for more elevation.

There isn't much in the way of a belly band on this hawk.

He heads for the trees and guess who is perched on the tip top of a tree? Another crow.

My question is whether this crow is a member of the family of crows that is pursuing the hawk or the sentinel of another family of crows that "owns" the nature area territory.

Young hawk goes for a descent into the trees. I look for the sentinel crow. She's gone. I look for the hawk and I've lost sight of him while looking for the crow. More eyes, I need more eyes.

Seed Robin sees a chicken bone that has been put out for the crows.

Seed Robin as it turns out is also Chicken Eating Robin. I want to know why this particular Robin has such a varied and opportunistic diet while the other Robins in the yard waited out today's early snow, waited for the melt, and then went about foraging in the yard like Robins "should". Like Robins have traditionally done all my life. I've tried feeding Robins other things during late snow storms. They stoically were not interested one bit. American Robins eat berries, fruit, worms, bugs, and the like

I assume from the fact that young Robins trot along behind their parents while they forage as juveniles, that Robins are learned eaters.

How did this Robin learn to eat seed and cooked chicken? Perhaps as Pale Male had the unconventional something that allowed him to become the original urban hawk, this Robin has a similar unconventional something going for him?

I do hope he nests nearby and I can see if he will feed his offspring from the buffet that he's been eating from himself.

I looked out the patio door and there was a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel sitting on his haunches. But instead of taking off like a shot at my movement beyond the patio door, he just stared. I ran to get the camera.

I came back. He was still staring. And kept staring. At this point, I got the feeling I could wave my hand in front of his eyes and he'd fail to notice. He's not poisoned or anything is he?
Hmmm. His toes are dirty at the tips and he's got dirt on his nose.

Still staring.

Ah, look to the left of Stunned Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. That hole is fresh. Did he just dig himself out of an overwintering burrow and it's taking him a minute to "come to"?

An ecstatic experience? Epilepsy?

Then without any particular change in the environment, except that I moved, as I had been already for many minutes with a response from him, and he zipped off in a flash like one of his species "normally" would.

Got me.

Later, I was coming back from the post office and pulled into the driveway. For whatever reason I looked over the roof of the house into the top of one of the backyard Maples. And there, sun streaming through his feathers showing me the barred rounded tail, about to take flight after a group of Robins in the adjacent maple was a Cooper's Hawk! He started an attack flight, I threw open the car door for a better view, CLANG, and he veered back over the roof and headed away at speed.

When I looked up again, the Robins have now changed trees and are in the tree that the Cooper's Hawk started out in. What happened?

More eyes!

John Blakeman responds to my remarks about Bald Eagle Cams and the Cain and Abel Syndrome in Bald Eagles.

The Cain and Able Effect, where the older or larger eagle eyass slays the younger sibling seldom occurs in Bald Eagles. It's universal in Golden Eagles, which are extremely aggressive, but seldom in Bald Eagles, which are much, much more social. That's not to imply that younger or smaller Bald Eagle eyasses never die on the nest They do, but seldom from outright sibling aggression or from parental neglect or feeding preference for larger, more aggressive eaglets. Little Baldies that seem not be fed usually get enough food at a future feeding.
John Blakeman

Thank you John, I'm glad the syndrome isn't nearly as prevalent as I'd thought.

An example from PBS of a limited episode of the syndrome, not for the fragile.



Karen Anne said...

I forget if I mentioned that the robins don't use my deck feeders, which contain bird seed and shelled unsalted peanuts.

Every few months a robin will land, check things out, and decide that nothing is interesting except the bird bath. I've put out berries from time to time but they just rot.

However, a robin did eat a couple of peanuts a few weeks ago. Didn't develop into a habit, though.

Donegal Browne said...

Well Seed Eating Robin has definitely developed a seed habit. I don't have peanuts out so don't know if he'd get hooked on those too. Did you peanut eating Robin eat peanut halves or are they in smaller chunks than that?

Today, guess what? Seed Eating Robin was standing out in the yard watching Mrs. Seeding Eating Robin browse the seeds--and yes she ate some. I could have a small flock of seed eating Robins by the end of summer. Bizarre.