Friday, July 06, 2012

A Disputed Meal, Red-tailed Hawk Fledgling Style

  All photos in this post by Central Park Hawk Observer and photographer Jeff Johnson

Here is the promised tussle sequence of the two fledglings of Pale Male and Zena disputing a meal.  It is believed by some watchers that one of the fledglings was a recipient of a parental delivery of food.  

One fledgling claimed the prey and then her sibling came along and tried to take it from her.  This pretty much par for the course with Red-tail fledglings.

 It is hard to tell but Jeff Johnson, said he thinks it likely that the original holder of the meal is the one  who ended up with it.

Note the feathers raised on the top of the head. 

Note both sets of feet with their talons tend to remain on the ground.

And the feet are the business end of a Red-tailed Hawk.  You'd think that they'd bite at each other but in my experience hawks seldom if ever bite anything but their food.

  Doesn't the aggressor appear to be enjoying herself? It apparently doesn't get much better than beating your sibling repeatedly with your wings from behind.

 This appears to me that the quick look back may be a sign that the holder of food is tempted to let go and continue the free for all face to face.

 But she remembers in time not to be tempted into letting go and hunkers down to withstand the onslaught.

And stays that way.  DRAT!

It is a very hot day and both fledglings are panting from their efforts.

Note that yes, the holder of the prey is mantling it with outstretched wings, but the non-holder has her wings expanded as well to release some heat.


And she's back!  Possibly tempting the food holder to take a cheap shot at her back and thus release the goodies?

Not a chance.

And not a feather or a drop of blood appears to have been lost in the interlude.

Jeff Johnson wrote,
I still can't get over how the two fledglings wrestling over that bird meal seemed to be engaged in a life or death struggle...yet looking at the frames shows that they were almost always just bumping one another back to belly. Talons and beaks were not slashing...the one with the bird really looked like he/she was just "recovering a fumble...protecting the football". 

There is a previous post of today so if you've not seen it do continue to scroll down.

Still more to post of this week's Fifth Avenue Fledgling Activities--STAY TUNED!

Donegal Browne

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