Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pale Male's Nest and a Saturday Miscellany

Photograph courtesy of

Pale Male arrives with another rat meal for the family. reports at least two eyasses. Not because any fuzzy white heads were seen but because at least two distinctive feeding spots were observed.

I had hypothesized that perhaps as Lola was partial to mammalian meals including rats that perhaps her infertility was due to long term low level rat poisoning. John Blakeman sent in an email commenting on my hypothesis with a suggestion as to how we might start to test it.


First, I'm so pleased that Red-tail eyasses have returned for the people in Central Park. Even without a nest cam, the show will be, once again, entrancing.

As I noted, the problem post-structure was Lola, not PM. In retrospect, I now think there's a high probability that Lola was made infertile early-on. The cause and nature of that reproductive debility will never be known. Whether or not it resulted from rat poisons is unknown. But it might have happened from a single ingestion of some other toxin, perhaps a heavy metal. Some toxicologist would have to speculate on this.

But your observation that PM prefers pigeons, and Lola liked rats, is important; something to watch at all the other nests.

Actually, all of this will be played out with Ginger. Watchers on the bench (if they can) need to be recording what prey is being brought to Ginger and the eyasses. If there are lots of rats, and in a second or third season no more eyasses appear at 927, there would be a quantified rat-infertility link.

--John Blakeman

Ladies and Gentlemen Hawk Watchers, if you would be so kind upon seeing a meal, either to a nest or an adult hawk dinner, to please email me with the date, time, and the particular prey of that meal, it would be extremely useful data over time.

And a note from reader Jeffrey Johnson, commenting on our little Fifth Avenue miracle. More words and opinions from readers in the previous posts comments sections.

Ms Browne,

There could not be more wonderful news than that of the feeding activity at 927. I have to admit I got a bit dewy eyed over it myself. I believe that all the years Pale Male and Lola suffered without offspring are entirely due to the destruction of the original nest and ham handed construction of the replacement. But bravo for Pale Male and Ginger !!!
Jeff J

It is amazing that after all this time Pale Male and a new Mom were able to do it again! Pale Male, too old? He's always had the right stuff and he still does.

See the small brown blob between the posts of the nest gate? That brown blob wasn't moving like the usual brown backyard birds so I took a series of photographs of it and have zoomed in.

A thrush.

Which thrush?

Gray-brown, not terribly warm in hue. Light neck slashes.

Eye ring.

I've always wondered what all those breast spots were about. It certainly helps thrush blend with bark.

The tail isn't any warmer brown than the posterior. A Swainson"s Thrush?

The local leucistic Grackle, fresh from her bath,
has a bit of corn.

Three baby bunnies, out for one of their first grass eating adventures. Very young rabbits have a white spot on their foreheads. It can be seen on the two that are closest together.

I walked into the kitchen. Note the perch, placed for an easy view of the great outdoors. But gosh, the perch is empty. Someone doesn't seem to interested in the great outdoors. Okay, where's the parrot?

Quicksilver has decided that he'd rather perch on the electric can opener with a great view of the side of the refrigerator. (Note I keep everything UNPLUGGED in the kitchen unless I'm on the spot actively using it.)

Donegal Browne

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