Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Monday Adventures of the Fifth Avenue Trio of Pale Male and Zena, Plus Queen's Raptors, Morningside Hawks and Monkeys in Mayapur (What?)

 Pale Male and Zena's fledgling photos by Jeff Johnson and his commentary is that in italics.

Our watcher in Central Park, Jeff Johnson,  has come through once again with marvelous sequences of behavior.  Put on your seat belt-- here comes the  The Monday Adventures of the Fifth Avenue Trio!
I didn't see Pale Male or Zena at all this Monday afternoon. I began looking at 1420 starting at 79th and 5th with zero success. Approaching the little glade north of Kerbs Cafe because I had circled back to cross the Sailboat Pond, I saw a fledge there on the ground. He/she had its wings down in a confrontational mantling.
I got two frames shot when all hell broke loose in the viewfinder. A second fledge streaked in attacking the mantled fledge on the ground. 
Surprisingly, there were not a lot of war cries or screeching sounds being made. I just let the motordrive go because I could hardly follow the pair in their fight. Of all the frames I took I have 21 that I think are fairly clear about what took place. Rather than include them all here I'll send them in a separate Email so you can decide what's relevant.
(The "fledgling fight" is fascinating and typical for this age Red-tails.  It is a blog in itself so that sequence will be in the next post.  STAY TUNED.  D.B.  Back to Jeff.)
 It appears to me that the fledge on the ground had a bird meal that the second fledge was attempting to take away. After getting a closer look at the  "fight" I can see it was much less aggressive than I thought. Almost every frame shows that the first fledge seemed only intent on keeping the other fledgling from getting the bird meal by using a "hold the football" tactic. 

 Following this little scrum one of the fledges which I think was the "attacker" did not get the bird meal and moved away behind a nearby scrub to sulk or think of a a better plan.

Knowing young Red-tails it was likely both as you say, you never know when getting another shot at the meal, which includes revenge,  plus perhaps a third option as well.   

Note the large rock area, easy spotting of prey for the fledgling if dropped there,  with a low area obscured by understory for possible eating.  That is a perfect site for a food delivery.  And having either lost the prey or not been able to wrestle it from her sibling, the fledge may stand there and look "obvious" for the next possible delivery.

 One very very like it was used in Morningside Park for food drops for Big Sister and Little Brother, the fledglings of Tristan and Isolde.  Hawkwatchers called it the "Picnic Spot".

Fledglings Primus and Segundus of the rural M nest would stand in the most obvious, highly lit areas, of their nest tree, a huge oak, when they felt it was time for the folks to bring  their dinner.  As they didn't beg when I was around, a sight cue for the parents was very big with them.
 "Winning" fledge begins to eat keeping a wary eye on the other fledgling behind the bush.
 For a reason unknown to me after about five minutes the fledgling decided to move his meal further away.

 It made a yard or so of progress then went into a ground effect wing walking procedure to put twenty feet between itself and its sibling, before finishing the meal.
 Slowly the "attack" fledgling worked its way closer to the eating fledge but it never got anything.

One of the veteran Hawkwatchers told me that none of the fledges had eaten yesterday because no food had been dropped or delivered. 
I'm not so sure about that…two close frames I reviewed from yesterday showed gum ball sized crop protrusions…I know golf ball size means well fed…but two of the fledglings ate something yesterday. 
Still, if Pale Male and Zena are being less prone to provide "take out" for them, it would explain some of the food squabbles seen today.
An hour after seeing the previous bird meal incident another tussle happened by the Kerbs Cafe north patio.  I was on the wall above "Alice" and got only three usable frames. Clearest frame of the two fledges seems to indicate a pretty aggressive encounter because they're both face to face.
I'm told the dispute was over a sizable rat one of the fledges has caught. It doesn't show up in my frames. An amicable solution was found and the two parted company. Veteran Hawkwatchers assured me they had seen the fledgling actually doing a successful hunt of the rat and also that the bird meal I'd seen earlier was probably a Pale Male delivery.

Did anyone say why they thought the bird meal from earlier had been a delivery and made by Pale Male?

This may seem infernally picky but if one wants to be taken as a bone hard reliable reporter of behavior one must sort what one hears from other watchers, consider the source and ponder the words used.  

It is very easy to slip into assumptions which match previous possibly unsubstantiated reports. 

The following came as an addendum to Jeff's report but I'm going to slip it in here so we can talk about it-- 

Hawkwatchers tell me that Zena sat on the nest today but I never saw anyone there myself. It's said Zena never does any hunting or providing for the fledges.  Pale Male does all the hunting and drop off or delivery.
In this case I question that only Pale Male is feeding the fledglings.  We have no way of knowing if Zena is or is not making deliveries for instance.   All we can say is no one we've spoken to has seen her do so yet.

You were quite astute in questioning the supposed flat fact that none of the fledglings were fed yesterday.  You had noted that there did appear to be small bulges in their crops which made you wonder if the statement were true.  I suppose it is possible that the small bulges were indigestible leftovers  which might come back out as a pellet or they could have been a toad the fledgling hunted and ate herself or a small rodent a parent brought.  We'll never know. 

(Though by tomorrow I'll have nicked some of the photos in question of crops to look at from the Sunday report which I seem to have missed in my box, my apologies Jeff.  We'll slide it in, never fear.) 

Okay, as I'm being all snarky about this, I'll continue. ;) 

How could you have known instantly that "the fledglings weren't fed yesterday"  was not a fact.  

As Indiana Jones says, I paraphrase very loosely..., In science we look for facts not truth.

Unless all three of the fledglings were under strict observation every second of the 24 hour period constituting Sunday, which totally isn't happening in Central Park,  we cannot say the fledglings of Pale Male and Zena weren't fed.


And if you want to be strictly strict about this,  we can't really even state that the three fledglings that we've been watching, are actually all the same birds that came off the 927 nest. 

They aren't banded or marked in any way, now are they?

 But not even I am that snarky. 

Considering the number of watchers and the fact there are no other nearby Red-tailed Hawk nests and none of the rehabbers have let us know they're releasing a fledgling to be fostered I'd say we're pretty safe on that one.

 We've probably all jumped to conclusions at times and we have to monitor ourselves against making possible unfounded statements which after traveling through a person or two can turn into "facts".

I wanted to make the point because every year there are new enthusiastic hawkwatchers and sometimes even veteran watchers can make assumptions which may not in reality be facts. 

For instance  I could possibly surmise that at these fledglings age and hunting prowess that the previous bird meal might have been a delivery but to say it was "probably a Pale Male delivery" is completely unfounded if no one saw Pale Male make the delivery.  Besides the fact that we don't even know for sure the meal was even a delivery in the first place.

Convoluted, I know, but its 2:30 in the morning and I'm fading a little.  Hopefully everyone will see what I'm saying. If not email me and I'll try again.

 I trained as a field biologist and my very serious, very picky old school scientist profs were death on this sort of thing.  I'd have gotten clobbered for it.  Therefore everyone,  to avoid getting clobbered by the old guard, or anyone else who might want to take you down a peg or two, assess the information you are given very carefully which I note Jeff,  you do tend to do. Thank you.

Done being snarky now.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program of The Monday Adventures of the Fifth Avenue Trio!!!
 I'm told that the rat was shared between the two.
 Forty-five minutes later the Kerbs Cafe Duo flew in from different quadrants to perch in their favorite tree.
 Left Fledge close
Right Fledge close.
 While the Kerbs Cafe Duo did some half hearted begging the third fledge slipped into a very low branch by the walkway north of the cafe patio.
It's remarkable how well the Red-tails blend in with tree bark, ground scree, and patterns of dappled light or shadow. It isn't just coloration that accounts for this…feather texture in the way light is reflected and the way the pattern changes with wing shape matters too. Leftside Fledge Duo flew up to perch about thirty feet directly above the "third" fledge.
  It was almost invisible unless looked at belly on. People were standing four feet away totally unaware of fledge 3.
 Then Rightside Fledge Duo flew off to  a more distant tree (upper left corner) and I had to depart scene myself.

Wonderful Jeff, thank you.  Looking at your photos and it may just be a trick of the light, you'd know better,  it appears to me that one fledgling is lighter headed than the other two.  Is that the case?

Do all three have a peachy breast or is one white-breasted?

Any noticiable variation in their belly bands?


Even if we were only able to tell them apart when there was more than one present for comparison it would be a help.

I suggest that if one is more lighter headed than the other two that that bird be called P.  As she takes after Pale Male.

And if one of the others has a stand out feature of Zena that she be called Z.

Catch my drift?

I'd love to find field markings so we could differentiate them from each other.  It always helps define habits and personalities if we find ways to tell them apart

Next up,  if you haven't had enough fledglings, you can check out the Queens Raptors Blog for stats and photos of a number of other nest's progeny--

"As of 6-28-12 all the hawks from the 6 nests I have been keeping up with are fledglings. In total there are 11 fledglings (Astoria-3, Flushing Meadow-2, Woodside-2, St. John's-2, NYHQ-1, IDCNY-1)..."
 For MORE click the link

 Attention Sally of Kentucky, regarding your question about urban hawk early fledges, go to the above link and scroll down a bit, there is a post about an early fledge of 7 to 10 days.  That is very rare in a tree nest because there are branches which help the youngster to get back to the nest.

Attention Linda of PA, regarding your question as to whether the Fifth Avenue eyass who came down on the awning had to go to rehab.  No, she was perfectly fine and was relocated from near busy Fifth Avenue to a safer spot in Central Park.
 Photo by Rob Schmunk    http://morningsidehawks.blogspot.com/
 A lovely shot of one of the three Cathedral Fledglings.

 Rob Schmunk's find of the day.   

This fellow, Rob surmises having watched hawks for many years, is a male as he's on the smaller side of the Red-tail continuum.  The fledgling also appears to take after his mother Isolde who is a beautiful dark formel. 

For more on Isolde, Stormin' Norman and their threesome off the Cathedral Nest of St. John the Divine--  http://morningsidehawks.blogspot.com/


 Blog contributor, Holly Walters, (left),  currently in India working on a project concerning sacred space, just happened upon a troupe of grey langurs (below) helping themselves to a local garden, Mayapur, West Bengal. 
  You'll possibly remember that grey langurs are occasionally a people mugging species of primates.

Happy Hawking and Monkey-ing too! 
Donegal Browne

1 comment:

sally said...

Thanks you for these marvelous posts and thanks to your source contributors!!!!