Monday, May 09, 2011

Good Poison News for Washington Square, But a Caution, Good Screen Captures of Violet's Foot, and Plans for Her Treatment

NYU's Myisha Priest has been pursuing the rat poison problem in Washington Square Park. Though the posted notices say that bait boxes were recharged on April 30th, the New York Times reported, and Myisha received an email confirming this, that the bait boxes in Washington Square Park were last charged on April 22. Officials say that the bait boxes will be removed from the Park in deference to the hawks, Bobby and Violet, who have just hatched an eyass across the street on one of the top floor window ledges of NYU's Bobst Library.

This is excellent news! Thank you, Myisha and all who took steps to bring this matter toward a possible happy ending.

But while the poison was out, either Bobby or Violet could have suffered and died of secondary poisoning just as Riverside Dad did while preparing for young.

Photo by Francois Portmann

On April 30th, 2008- Francois Portmann took this photograph of the Houston Street Mom as the clock was counting down on the hatch date.

It appears that hawk dads have a pretty good idea when the eggs are supposed to hatch and as the date draws near, they go into a hunting frenzy. They want to make sure that Mom and the kids have enough to eat when the time comes. Houston Dad surrounded Houston Mom with quite a number of rats. If rat poison had been set across the street from their nest on April 22 as was the case at Washington Square this year (the hatch date being closer to the rat bait charging), and Dad fed everyone with a high percentage rat diet, someone could well have gotten poisoned by the embarrassment of rat riches set for the birth feast.

Riverside Dad was poisoned during the rush to hunt and cache a large amount of food for his upcoming family. In 2008, all three eyasses were poisoned on the nest in Riverside Park.

In 2010 the Parks Department announced on in mid May they would not set bait out in the Manhattan Hawk Pair territories. One would hope that that was to happen this year as well but it was already to late for Riverside Dad.

Of course we think the answer for rat control is obviously sanitation but if they insist on using poison, it needs to disappear well before the dad goes into birth feast hunting frenzy right on through the time in which the tiercel is attempting to feed Mom and often three voracious eyasses.

Red-tail Dads are worked into a hunting frenzy and may not be as choosy as they are normally or it might just boil down to the higher the number of rats eaten, the more chance there is someone will die.

Rat poison needs to disappear from Red-tail territory by April to make sure the poisoned rats are gone before the Dads are doing double duty hunting and caching.

As the poison is disappearing from Washington Square now, please do write a cordial sincere thank you note to Park and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Also ask if poison is being removed from all the nesting territories this year. And if the same can be done during all seasons to come with the start date being earlier as it isn't only fledgling Red-tails who make mistakes these days with the tremendous potency of the second generation rat poisons.

Also let him know due to hawk Dad behavior and the number of poisonings in the last few years that the ban needs to be in place for the full breeding season--before the hatch, during eyass feeding, and fledging season.

To send an informative thank you note go to-

And a P.S. perhaps? Specifically asking why the bait boxes are still in Riverside Park.

Julia G. our capture queen, has reformated her screen captures of 05-06 and 07 for a much better view not only of the eyass but of Violet's injury. Notice where tiny eyass is looking.

Now where is tiny eyass looking?

And now?

Tiny eyass keeps her eyes on Mom face (the place where the food is distributed) at all times.

05-07-2011 Tiny eyass watches where Violet went.

05-07-2011 Bobby is on the right and Violet on the left. Compare his legs to hers than her left leg and foot with her right.

Robin of Illinois sends an update on how eyass is doing today, 05-08-2011--

I just got a good look at Violet's eyass as Violet was partially up, and rearranging an offending stick. The eyass is clearly thriving. Still no signs of life from the other two eggs.

Also it is my understanding that wonderful wildlife rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath will attempt to momentarily capture Violet for onsite treatment. They will take the constricting band off her leg, treat it, and get her back to the nest in as few minutes as possible. The attempt will be made sometime mid-week if all goes according to plan.

As we've been concentrating on the despair and exhalation of Urban Red-tail Hawks the rest of the biosphere has been going about it's business. Today one of my burning questions about Seed Eating Robin was answered. The Question? Does he prefer a particular kind of seed as his species historically doesn't eat seed? Look carefully. Today he preferred cracked corn.

The Chipping Sparrows are courting. Every time the male sees the female he begs piteously like a chick.

At the bath it was all about how many species could be in the bowl at the same time. In the water are a Starling and a Red-wing Blackbird. Upon her arrival the pacifist Mourning Dove decided that a drink of water would suffice on this visit.

And Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel made my day by standing up and showing me her cleavage.

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

Maybe it is time to reconsider whether red tails should be banded? I can understand banding when the numbers are minute, as with whooping cranes, but I wonder what purpose it serves for the higher population red tails, even though they are endangered, compared to any possibility of danger.

Whenever I see a band, I think of what it would be like if some other species attached a metal ring to my ankle for the rest of my life.

I'd like to see the Parks Department stop using poison year round.