Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Don't Eyasses Talons Poke Holes in Their Nest Mates? Plus Mystery Eggs, the Fascinating Tool Using, Machine Destructing Kea, Cornell Lab Red-tail Hatch and More on Eradibait
 I've always wondered how eyasses on the nest manage not to eviscerate each other with their taloned toed, out of control feet. 

Yesterday Boo and Scout (Yes, the NY Times baby names for the hawks poll has chosen two of the protagonists from To Kill A Mocking Bird.) were napping and very restless.  Obviously their pin feathers were irking them and Rosie was tending to them by preening. They'd finally settled down when suddenly a foot shot out of the eyass pile like a punching fist.  Not that even Rosie wasn't rather surprised herself by the explosive foot appearance and she stared at it for some time.

And that is when I noticed that the "shooting foot", (Ah ha!) had its toes and therefore its talons folded in.  Part of the explanation I'm assuming for why the eyasses don't poke holes in each other while tossing and turning in their sleep on a regular basis.

And for those of you who have written in  asking  about the "hatch window" for Pale Male and Zena of 927 Fifth Avenue-- We have a couple days yet before there will be any possibility of  seeing any signs of a hatch.  

Remember the count on this nest is quite fluid.

We start the count  from the first overnight of the formel on the nest as we've no cam or overlooking window to see the bowl of the nest and whether she is actually sitting on anything.

Also the bowl of the Fifth Avenue nest is very deep.  We won't be able to see the eyasses at all until they are at least upright if not completely ambulatory.  We have to wait to see feeding motions.  Ordinarily these are initially the formel standing on the nest edge making poking movements into the bowl.

By the time that clue is seen sometimes the "hatch window" has been passed but we still haven't been able to confirm a hatch.

Part of the "charm" of Pale Male's nest site is the finesse it takes to confirm eyasses on that nest.
 Photo: Donegal Browne
 Another mystery discovered yesterday, was this nest in the clematis with its seemingly none matching eggs.  The last two years the nest in the clematis has belonged to Chipping Sparrows who were predated by Cowbirds.  But when I accidentally flushed the sitter of this nest yesterday, she took off like a flash, without any real identifying characteristics beyond it was smallish, and for whatever instinctual reason, I doubted it was a Chipping Sparrow nest.

I looked in the nest.  Wow, that's weird.  The Cowbirds didn't match up their eggs with the sitters very well this year did they?   Which made me wonder if the White-throated Sparrows had the nest and the Cowbirds who predate that nest yearly only lay Chipping Sparrow-ish looking eggs.

So what do White-throat eggs like like anyway?
      Photo courtesy of Todd Ratermann
Well it turns out they're greenish with lots of brown speckles.  
Some obviously with more brown speckles than others.  But some of the ones in my nest have hardly any speckles at all.  Time for another look around the web.

 Another nest of mixed looking eggs but still more speckled than the ones in the nest of the clematis.

DRAT!!!   Perhaps tomorrow I'll be able to try for another look at whoever is sitting on the clematis nest.
                                          Kea Eating Rental Car

Contributor Robin of Illinois, with always an eye for avian tool using topics sent in a video link for a comparison of a Caledonian Crow and a Kea Parrot in such matters..
Notice that the Kea in the stick test was unable to use her beak to poke the stick horizontally into the hole because of the shape of her beak/mouth. Therefore she got it in the hole with the assistance of her foot and then was able to adjust it to a horizontal position so it would release the food.
 And the text with background of the study:

Which got me interested in New Zealand's Kea Parrots altogether.  Here are the links for a three part Attenborough piece on the extremely smart, ingenious, havoc wreaking, butter loving,  team working, sometimes predatory, (the only known parrot species to be so) endangered Kea Parrot.

 A heads-up from Sally of Kentucky-  The Cornell Lab Red-tails have a hatch!

Sally also forwarded the information on Eradibait, the supposedly non-toxic to everything but rodents rodenticide, to her supervisor at the wildlife rehab facility that she works with and below is the response from the folks who make Eradibait.  (It had occurred to me that perhaps it wasn't available as yet in the U.S.)

Thank you for your enquiry. Ilex Enviro-Sciences distribute Eradibait in the
UK & Eire only, however we are aware that although product approval  is not
currently held in the USA the owners of this unique rodenticide, Zea
Sciences Limited,  are working on registration issues with the EPA
[regulatory authority] and hope to offer the product very soon.
Best Regards
Therefore, if we believe in the 7 degrees of 
separation theory, does anybody know anybody who 
might know someone who knows someone who
could talk the EPA into putting Eradibait 
onto the fast track for testing?  
No I don't mean skipping
relevant necessary testing but rather perhaps 
putting Eradibait a little closer to the head 
of the line for testing in the first place. 

By the way, check out the comments on the previous post.  Long time blog contributor Betty Jo of California, has a heads up concerning another nursery sold invasive plant that like Garlic Mustard is wreaking ecosystem havoc.

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