Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Iconic Pale Male, What's All that HEAD Touching? The Divinves Haven't flown the coop quite yet.

photo courtesy of

Pale Male looks 5 years younger than he did last year at this time. Though working every daylight minute he is back in the mode of what his body is telling him he should do. When there were no hatches , he looked very concerned all the time. Something was wrong and he didn't know what. I think he suffered from a great deal of stress through those six barren years. And stress debilitates. He didn't look nearly as good thenas he does not.

Pale Male as an adult has all the facial characteristics of a juvenile. The big round eyes, the soft rounded head are the constant characteristics of the "cute" of young animals which keeps us taking care of them. Keeps us vigilantly alert to their welfare. And I think those characteristics are partially why we love Pale Male.

photo courtesy of

Now the nest thing up. What is all this touching of heads. I'm sorry, I've never seen a formel and a eyass do that. and I;ve watched a lot of nests. There appears to be affection in touching.

And we come down and voila! who else is doing it. The touchy face or perhaps a pressure against the other. That didn't happen between Lola and PaleMale. Or Tristan and Isolde, nob did I see Hawkeye and Rose do it, though i haven't observed them nearly as much
photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of
I'd also been told that Red-tails did not preen their young. That isn't true they do. Observe.

Photo courtesy of
The Swallows maul Pale Male. One is being cheeky enough to ride on his back while pecking at him. Just one more thing in Pale Male's day.

Photo courtesy of
Dusk , April 7, 2011. Look at Pale's left foot, on the right from your view. See the markss Below see the zoom.

It appears that there are bite marks on PM's foot and ankle does it not? Lincoln Karim of does say that Pale Male was hunting rats at this moment.

Photo courtesy of

Then a month later I realize that Pale Male's foot and tarsus appear swollen.

Crop of previous photograph. There appears to be dark healed spots. Is the swelling from trauma or from infection? Though I admit Pale looks in fine fettle, bright eyed and hunting like a banshee. Take a close look. Those are some very hard working feet and have been for many years. Is Pale left footed and that is the foot that goes for the head of the squirrel or rat? As most humans are right handed, so are most African Grey Parrots left footed for instance. Perhaps Red-tailed hawks tend toward being left footed as well.

Thanks to Sally of Kentucky and Karen Anne Kolling of RI for their help in researching photographs and their scrutiny for bits on PM's feet

And from boffo bird photographer, Francois Portmann--

Hey Donna,
First peregrine fledges of 2011 in manhattan At 55 water street: Greetings francois

Photograph by Rob Schmunk

Initially when Rob and the other watchers had been observing for awhile, they began to wonder if someone had fledged while no one was looking. But eventually the second eyass and then the third eyass appeared. IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET! ANY DAY NOW!

THREE ODD BIRD MOMENTs TODAY-NONE WITH PHOTOGRAPHS THIS IS THE USE-YOUR-IMAGINATION PORTION OF THE BLOG. Suddenly today, there are Grackles with fledglings all over the back yard. It's become a Grackle Nursery with begging brownish fledglings doing what fledglings do---chasing their parents around waggling their wings and insistently begging, something that has not occurred here before en masse. I was observing a parent and fledge Grackle on the feeding floor. The parent spooked and flew up onto the electrical wire at the back of the land. Youngster froze, then looked around, saw parent on the wire and flew wings pumping straight at him like a dart, knocking Dad smack off the wire. Bird parents are really quite patient and forgiving about these incidents. Later, I opened the front door and there was a brightly colored bright eyed skeletal Robin skippity hoppity around the yard eating. You just don't see skeletal Robins. The look plumb even when they're dead. I'm thinking that possibly Skeletal Robin got shut into someones garage or other out building for a span of time without food and is now out and making up for lost time. And the third strange moment was while I was driving about 2 blocks from my house, and there lying beside the road at an intersection was a dead crow. It is very very rare to have road killed Crows because they tend to forage in threes or family groups and particularly near roads there is a sentinel crow watching from a high point to alert the other crows about oncoming traffic and other dangers. Perhaps this Crow wasn't foraging in the area but rather flying from one spot to another with food for a nestling, was a bit low, and was clipped by speeding car. The area is within Christopher, Carol, and Junior Crow's territory.

Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

I hope that wasn't a member of your crow family, poor guy.

I often see birds flying quite low across the back roads here. I really have to keep an eye out, because they can come out of nowhere at car level.

Sally said...

REgarding preening, I have seen Violet preen Pip on the nest earlier int he season, or at least doing something to him that looked like preening! Definitely touching him with her beak in a preening fashion at least.

And I saw a post on yesterday I beleive that showed Pale carrying a pigeon in the left foot, and he seems to be perching fine in the pictures, so at least we know it seems to be working!

Donegal Browne said...

HI Karen,

I too hope it wasn't one of the C Crows. I actually am not seeing them in the backyard because whenever one gets close to the yard, the smaller birds, many who have nests in the yard, take off after them. I haven't a chance to watch them walk, forage, eat, and decide who they are.

Donegal Browne said...

Yes, I too saw what looked like preening on the Washington Square nest come to think of it, in the middle of the night which seemed to soothe a restless Pip. I haven't seen the head touches though previously