Thursday, February 03, 2011

IDing Pale Male and Pale Beauty, Doorstep Dove, Quicksilver Parrot vs Pyewacket Cat, Eaglet Hatch

Photo courtesy of
There are a number of possible ways to know if you're looking at Pale Male or his new girl, Pale Beauty but so far Red-tail Hawk expert John Blakeman has found, I think, the easiest way. Note the photo above. Pale Male is currently missing the tips of primaries on his left wing (from the back), right wing (from the front). As John points out, the tips will be missing until Pale Male molts in the fall which takes us all the way through breeding season when the ins and outs of the nest tend to make a quick ID a big help.

Photo courtesy of 2/03/2011
This is Pale Beauty, Pale Male's new mate sitting on the Oreo antenna when the sun turns the whole East Side gold, including deepening the color of the hawks. Look how much more saturated with color Pale Beauty's feathers become. Also note, she also has nearly vertical streaks in her belly band on her sides.

Photo courtesy of

And here is a photo from 1/24/2011, taken even later in the day, of two as yet identified hawks on the same antenna. The bird in flight has verticals on the side of her belly band and taking in consideration of light difference similar coloring with Pale Beauty. While the hawk still perched reminds me very much of Ginger with her much heavier belly band, dark head, and shoulder mantle.

Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

From Sally of Kentucky--

Hey Donna!

This has been such a brutal winter!! It missed me here this time thank goodness!

The new cams the Sutton Center placed to watch the eagle nest at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge had many folks watching during the blizzard conditions yesterday, February 1, 2011. Some of us suspected we saw a pip in one egg the previous afternoon, and sure enough, at about 16:12 cam time we had our first good glimpse of the newly hatched eaglet! We were all hoping the parents would be able to keep it warm, dry and fed in these brutal conditions with a snow encircled nest, sub-zero wind chills and no warming in sight! The male had brought what looked like a fish to the nest the day before and we were wondering if he heard pipping in the egg. Guess so! This morning little "Blizz" or "Snow", as some have called the eaglet, had been fed fresh prey and was looking dry and warm when we lost the nest cam feed.

I have attached several screen captures I took from the web site

One shows mama covered in ice and snow yesterday morning keeping her nest dry and warm.

At one point dad was on the nest while she took a short break and she actually stood and seemed to lay over top of him as if to add heat or keep the snow off the nest (perhaps she was warmer that way also).

I have shots of the eaglet and also one of it this morning while it was quite active and begging for food from its mama!

Both eagles from the Sooner lake nest were seen on the tower together today, presumably they have not yet laid a clutch at either nest site yet this year. -

Both eagles from the Sooner lake nest were seen on the tower together today, presumably they have not yet laid a clutch at either nest site yet this year.

KAY AND JAY UPDATE--From Tulsa Hawkwatcher Cheryl by way of Sally of Kentucky-- Kay and Jay of the Tulsa KJRH tower/Mazzios cell tower nests, we do not yet know where they will nest but seem to be working on the Mazzios nest again.


I'd been watching the bath to see if Friend and Doorstep would arrive for their nightly warming before roost ritual. It was getting quite late and i was becoming concerned with I saw that Friend was sitting atop the mid-yard bird feeder looking around. Is he trying to find Doorstep? She isn't on the bath, Where is she? I keep scanning. Then Friend looks toward the glider.

Whew! There she is. She's eating seed but from a protected area which makes me wonder if she has had a run-in with a raptor lately. Particularly as Friend is playing sentinel on the feeder where I've never seen him perch in the six or seven years I've watched them.

In a way he's doing what the adult Mourning Doves often do when they have newly fledged young to guard who are eating in the food area. They take a medium distance perch and if a raptor is spotted they use themselves as bait, luring the predator away as well as their flight warning the juvenile to take to their wings themselves.

Doorstep doesn't appear to be limping as badly as she was previously. She continues her foraging for a few minutes more, then flies to the bath for a drink. She doesn't tarry but follows Friend when he heads for the roost.


Acting as if his behavior was the norm, Silver walks leisurely across the living room carpet and proceeds to climb the sofa, with the cat napping in very close proximity.

Oh! The cat. And she's awake. He hastily lowers himself back down a few inches.

He thinks about it a moment, does a quick look back at me, realizes I, the animal behavior enforcer is watching so decides to head back up towards the cat.
Upon reaching the horizontal surface Silver arches his neck and says, "No, NO!" loudly and firmly, to Pyewackit.

They both look at me. Silver continues his stroll to look at the repair materials on the end table.

A beak cleansing bite of newspaper. Something he is allowed to do.

Chewing, he gives me a look.

Silver gives a look to the roll of masking tape, a chewing favorite if he can get it.

No really, I was actually just going to get another bite of newspaper.

He checks Pye, she has her eyes closed.

Back to business.

Note Pye's eyes are slitted open again.

Back to looking at the masking tape. He turns back.

Pyewackit has shifted and Silver must have heard her as he turns to look.
She puts her head down and he's back to the end table buffet

I ask what he's doing? Both look.

Silver freezes. He's seen the little plastic box of jewelry repair bits. He's wanted that for ever so long. Pyewackit looks at Silver who looks at the little plastic see-through box.
He goes for it. I say, "NO!" Pye puts her head down, one eye open and Silver just goes faster. Then I get up...

Yeah, it's me! I pick him up and off we go...

9:21pm Back to the TV watching perch.
R O U N D 2

Quicksilver flies off his TV perch and lands on the back of the couch.

I ask him what he's doing so he gives the couch a test pinch with his beak.

Then he looks into the gap between the couch and the wall. Greys are cavity nesters and chewers. They want to know what is beyond and get inside of things but in this case I can't help thinking it is a bit of a ruse. Notice the cat has put her head down as if she's asleep but she still has an eye open.

I ask them what they're doing. Pye shifts slightly, now both eyes are open, Silver stares at me. What?

Then he turns cocks his eye and peers down the gap again.

Silver does a quick turn and jump/flaps down onto the sofa and scares the cat off the couch. In my opinion, bugging the cat was one of the things he'd been planning to do since he flew over.

Then he leisurely gambols across the sofa to the papers I've been sorting.

And takes an arrogant bite.

He turns doing his devil bird impersonation and stares under the coffee table. I'm not sure what's going on but something tells me it's time he went to bed, I go to retrieve him, and just as he steps up on my hand, I look under the table and there is Pyewackit crouching to jump for the sofa.


Do watch the PBS Nature segment. Hummingbirds: There's Magic In The Air, if you at all have a chance.

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pale Male's Tail and Is Doorstep Dove Alright?

Photograph courtesy of
Sally of Kentucky, who volunteers at a wildlife rehabilitation center, has been trying to come up with field marks to help watchers identify Pale Male from his newest girl, the possible Pearl. She is also quite pale and looks very much like Pale Male in many ways.

Sally said,

See the dark thin bars on each of his tail feathers? It is obvious from the top as well when his tail is flared a bit. Those are the bars I was noticing the new pale Pearl does not have on her tail.

But Pale Male does.

At first I thought Sally was talking about the terminal dark bar near the tip of each tail feather of a Red-tailed Hawk which are lighter in Pearl than in Pale Male but not nonexistent. But Sally is looking at pale horizontal stripes all the way down each of Pale Male's tail feathers that appear to be almost ghost bars of his juvenile tail.

Double click on the photo above and look particularly at the tail feathers on the upper part of Pale's tail. Do you see them?

I looked out the door earlier today and there was Friend and Doorstep out on the picnic table. I'd worried about them as the weather has been so inclement and the snow very deep. I was happy to see they'd found the bird seed I'd spread especially for the ground feeders who don't use the feeders.

But what is going on with Doorstep Dove? (on the right). Is she just having a nap? But her feathers are fluffed and don't look to be in as good condition as they do normally. Compare Friend's smooth feathers on the left.

Look at the exposed under layer feathers on her back. Are there missing feathers? Damaged ones? Or is she just not caring for them properly. What's going on?

Her eyes slip closed and then she rouses herself and stands.

She seems to be having trouble maneuvering through the snow, and stops after a few steps to peck at some seed.

She starts to walk over to more seed. Is she limping?

She is limping and favoring her right foot. So far she isn't having to use her wings to keep her balance but she does seem to be wincing with each step.

Then she pauses with her right foot up and looks at me.

She then continues her walk to a more seed populated area.

As per typical behavior of Mourning Doves in the cold, both birds hunker down on their feet while eating and even while walking the small distances for the short trips to more interesting seeds.

Friend keeps an eye on me.

3:24:23pm Doorstep Dove is tending her right foot. Did standing on the heating element and/or warm water of the bird bath have a negative effect on her foot later during the blizzard? Or did she have a close call with the local Cooper's Hawk which could explain an injured foot and the strange condition of the feathers on her lower back. Was it just the extended cold, snow, and biting wind?

Because of her less then tip top condition, I'm concerned about Doorstep as the forecast for tonight is a wind chill of minus 30F.

3:26pm Doorstep Dove goes back to her original position and rests. Friend plays sentinel and periodically forages near her.

The squirrels appear to have retired to their drays to semi-hibernate through the storm. Not one has appeared yesterday or today. Notice that the English Sparrow twig pile has been drifted in 2/3 of the way up. The right wall of the "nest" is nearly covered in places.
A wave snowdrift walls the back step. Doorstep Dove got her name from snuggling up to the patio door during cold weather. She gave up the habit when Pyewackit entered the household. I assume because Pyewacket spends a good bit of time with her face a half inch from the glass. As Pye was attempting to predate the feeding area I felt everyone would be safer with Pye in the house as opposed to outside the house. Besides Pye being much better fed and comfortable. But every move we make as humans has an impact on what is around us in the natural world. Perhaps Doorstep would have been warmer near the door if Pye had never come in but perhaps not as the drift was created by wind swooping the snow on both sides of the drift.

I'm likely not getting to the front door until Spring.

Donegal Browne