Saturday, July 07, 2012

And What Did Pale Male and Zena's Fledglings Do on the Fourth of July Part Two!

Photos and commentary in italics by Jeff Johnson  Non-italicized commentary is mine.

In a stand of trees immediately east of this hunting lesson was another fledgling having its own hunting lessons by attacking twigs. It actually looked more as if the fledgling was dancing with twigs.
Fledge Twig Ballet 1:
 Arabesque, with lovely elevation...

Fledge Twig Ballet 2: 
Demi plie'

Fledge Twig Ballet 3:
Ballon, Relev'e! 
Fledge Twig Ballet 4:
And Grande Plie'! 

Closer to the north patio of Kerbs Cafe a fledge was beginning to feast on a rat (lower left corner}.

I moved around to the left of the frame and got low to get a close look. In the ground behind the fledgling is a blue plastic litter tray that Lincoln Karim has buried to ground level and keeps filled with water to help provide cooling and hydration for the fledglings while they learn their survival skills.
 The squirrel chasing fledge (upper right corner) has evidently tired of it and now decided to steal some of its sibling's rat dinner. It has flown to perch in a tree above the rat eating fledge. No one seemed to know if the rat was a fledge hunted kill or a parental delivery.
 I left the twig hunting fledge and rat eating fledge to move back out to the Pond in order to check the 927 Nest again. No one was in the Nest and I could very clearly hear that budding opera star fledge. Though the begging seemed to come from behind the Kerbs Cafe on the south end (indicated). North end patio is where the Cafe Duo usually show up.
An aside- Note the building with the green roof in the photograph above.  Long time Central Park Hawk Watchers will have seen it in pictures about a billion times.  Ever wonder what it was? Anthony of Ithaca NY did so here goes--

 Photo courtesy of
It is the location of The Central Park Model Yacht Club.  That's where they keep their small yachts.  And at least one exquisitely detailed pirate ship.

  Guess who?.
Up behind the Cafe was Pale Male…The Monarch of Central Park. 
This is the first close frame I've gotten of him. It was an honor to finally "meet" him.
We have affection for all our urban raptors and every one is special.  

But there is something about Pale Male.  
This guy has a charisma and a place in many hearts.  And it isn't just because he is paler than the other hawks so that everyone can recognize him.  
He really is special.  
And a part of that is the personal relationship he has with so many people.

For instance when Marie Winn author of Red-tails in Love and Central Park in the Dark is doing an interview having to do with Pale Male, she always asks the interviewer to meet her at the Hawk Bench as they always want to see Pale Male.  Invariably they ask, "Where is he?", and she answers, "He'll be here.", and in a very few minutes of her sitting down on the Bench he'll fly over.  It is his way of saying hello to her. 

When the hawk watchers had a memorial party for Charles Kennedy near the Bench, one of the original Regulars (the one in the movie with the blonde pony-tail), Pale Male and Lola, his mate of longest standing to date, sat on the Oreo building and watched the whole thing into Civil Twilight, when ordinarily they'd have gone to roost already.

There is a reason Pale Male is called the Monarch of Central Park.
But now back to his kids...some of which will likely return to the city after their juvenile dispersal (New research proves that Red-tails do return to the area of their natal territory, as we've always said but couldn't prove.) and follow in his wing beats.
Two trees north of Pale Male. his "fledgling" opera star was begging away at max output.
 Pale Male abruptly launched himself out of the trees like a rocket and flew straight way up to his 927 Nest. He's just left of center in the Nest bowl. Metadata time read 1654. [4:54 PM]
That sort of behavior on Pale Male's part ordinarily means there is something out in the territory that he wants to seem NOW.  And one of the best spots to view the territory is the 927 nest.  From there he'll make eye contact with Zena and signal if he wishes her to return.  
If it is an emergency, say there are intruders coming, he will fly back and forth in front of the nest or other area in which he needs her, to summon her quickly. 
 He can also check on the whereabouts of all three of the fledglings at the same time.  Plus he'll memorize prey patterns for later use in food procurement.
 Feeling like I'd met some-honest-god royalty I left the back of the Kerbs Cafe carefully keeping the camera slung and hanging…you don't want to be a male with a telephoto lensed camera lurking around the woods next  to the women's restroom at the Cafe. No sooner did I reach the north side of the Cafe but I find that I missed the Rat meal fight which had looked to be developing earlier. I saw only the aftermath and am unable to say what transpired.
Thirty-five minutes later I was shooting frames of frolicking squirrels when a chorus of fledge begging started anew. Fledges were zooming in short bursts from tree to tree just north of the Kerbs Cafe. One of the parents must have been close. It seemed as if all three fledges were involved but they moved so erratically I didn't ID any of them.
  Fledge Antics 1:
 Fledge Antics 2:

Fledge Antics 3:
From previous experience with hawk expressions like this one, I'd say that this is a fledgling with a plan and he is determined it's going to work come hell or high water.   His siblings just better watch it if a delivery is about to commence.
  Fledge Antics 4:
 I had to depart scene before I was able to see what was developing.
Much more still to come!!!
 Donegal Browne 
 P.S. Just this minute  in from Diane of Falls Church, NY--
 Just dropping a line to let you know how much I am enjoying your current postings which include Jeff's photos and commentary.
Love Lincoln's foot bath and anxious to learn more.
As Always,

PS  Did you know that Narrowsburg, NY had to cancel their fireworks display due to nesting/resident eagles.  There is an article in the NY Times: Symbols Clash, Fireworks Lose Out to a Hamlet's Bald Eagles.   I know Lincoln would love this.

 (Lincoln has a particular, often verbal, and understandable antipathy to fireworks due to their possible dangers to wildlife.)

And a Good News P.P.S. from me by way of  Jules Corkery a chief watcher of the Astoria Park Hawks, Atlas, Andromeda, and their three new fledglings, there was concern as a big, possibly very intrusive 4th celebration was taking place in the park where the youngsters are making their living--

I see all 3 Astoria Park babies this am. They've gotten through fireworks, a carnival, a giant generator...true New Yorkers.  This winter I would like to work on reducing some of this disturbance for next year. Ideas and contacts are welcome.


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