Saturday, June 11, 2011

All the Divines Still at Home and the Miraculous Family on Fifth

Photograph by Rob Schmunk

Everybody is still a'nest at the Cathedral of St. John. No fledges today.

Rob took a grand shot today with all five of the Divines on the nest. That's Stormin' Norman on the right with wings spread. (He looks ever so much lighter feathered than his second year molt. Lighting?) Big Beautiful Isolde on Andrew's hand, checking something out , and the kids hanging out of harm's way and their parent's talons behind the head.

Photograph by Rob Schmunk

I had to include this photo. Look to the right side of Andrew's head. That, without a doubt, is the comedian of the group. For more go to http;//

Photo courtesy of
A classic. Girl watches the world go by in the shade of mom's wing and tail.

Photo courtesy of

Look! We have feet!

Just joshing.

Though do note how soft and unused these young feet are compared to their parent's hard working feet.

I've wondered if any mirroring was part of babyhood for a hawk with a sibling. The reason why I wondered this? An important part of courting in Red-tails depends on mirroring of movement as well as a kind of physical call and response with thrown prey.

I'm not sure what they are doing here. In some ways they appear to be looking at Girl's foot as if it just appeared unattached to anything else.

Remember young Red-tails have extremely active imaginations. For those who haven't seen it wait until they start killing inanimate objects. It is hilarious.

Also note that Boy is sitting flat on him bum with both legs stretched in front of him. This stage tends to be a bit comical live. It only happens for a short while. I assume by the time they start getting a real tail it just isn't all that comfy besides they'll be getting off haunches and walking like real birds by then.

Why am I calling them Girl and Boy? Scroll down to the next photo.

Photo courtesy of
Yes, one eyass is slightly younger than the other by a day or two, so that makes for a size difference but compare their beaks. Girl on the left, has a beak several times bigger than Boy's on the right. Different head shapes too. Females have a "hawkier" look, as Francois Portmann once aptly pointed out, than males, who tend to be rounder skulled somehow. The set of the eyes is different as well.

Photo courtesy of
The Stare. Remember Pale Male and Ginger Lima doing exactly this pose on the nest when they were courting? No question that females are the bosses of the nest in Red-tailed Hawk pairs.

There is a more than average difference in size for these two. And they are getting plenty to eat, note those crops so it isn't as if anyone is going hungry. Girl is shaped like her very large strong Mom and Boy shaped small and compact like his dapper Dad.

Photo courtesy of

Amazing split second moves here. Eyasses are wired to hit the nest when there is an incoming parent but also look how Ginger has tucked her left wing completely into a fold just in case somebody was slow in going flat.

Just the aerodynamics of nest entrances and exits are almost miraculously meticulous in Red-tails.

Today in particular I am once again reminded how blessed we are that these animals allow us to watch them go through their lives.

We owe them all the protection we can muster for that gift.

Do what you can.

Donegal Browne

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