Friday, May 20, 2011


2007- Pale Male takes out the garbage

I was just getting up from my computer to go to bed, when I thought I'd make one last peek into my mail box and discovered this email from hawk blog follower, Josh Edgars of Brooklyn-

Dear Ms. Browne,

I read on Urban Hawks [Bruce Yolton's blog. D.B.] there are three actions that tell people that eggs have hatched on a hawk nest: eating on the nest, walking around the edge of the bowl and staring into it, and feeding movements.

I'm almost sure that I've seen photographs of the first two things on your blogs when there haven't been chicks on the nest. Has it been your experience that these things are proof positive there are chicks?

Thank you for your answer in advance.

Josh Edgars

Hi Josh,

Great to hear from you again.

I'm not disputing Bruce's experiences in any way, but from my personal experience with failed nests on 927 and the Trump Parc nest of Charlotte and Pale Male Jr., the first two behaviors are either hormone or time span triggered and always occur around the time the hatch should occur, but may not have. Only the third, feeding movements, as far as I know, is actual proof there has been a hatch, beyond the sight of a white fluffy head of course.

Look up at the 2007 photo at the top of this post. Lola has finished eating her meal on the nest and Pale Male is now about to take the garbage and dispose of it. There was no hatch that year.

2007- Lola stares into the bowl.

In 2005 or 2006, a hatch was thought to have occurred to high excitement, falsely, because of staring-into-the-bowl behavior.

After watching Isolde stare into the bowl one year with slight movements of her head as if she were watching movement of some kind in the nest bowl, I thought that perhaps staring with slight movement on the part of the watcher might be proof of a hatch. But later I watched Lola do the same thing with a finale of a quick move and a beak snap. I then realized she'd been watching a pesky fly in the bowl and she'd nabbed it when it took flight.

In this year's case Marie Winn has observed what she believes are possible feeding movements. That's the gold standard of proof if repeated. Tomorrow will tell the tale.

If there is a hatch, the feeding movements will be repeated in numerous different and specific sessions and hawk watching fans of Pale Male all over the world will be bursting into tears of happiness, laughing for joy, or dancing in the streets because finally, finally after all these years of travail and guilt and disappointment there will once again be eyasses on the nest at 927 Fifth Avenue.

(There have been a number of posts today so scroll down to make sure you have seen them all.)
Donegal Browne

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