Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pale Male and Zena's Fledglings and a SUPER Find by Robin of Illinois Which Could Concievably Nix Many Bird vs Plane Strikes!

 Unattributed Red-tail Photos and  fledgling commentary in italics, by Jeff Johnson, un-italized commentary is mine.
 Fledge spotted in a treetop along N perimeter of Cedar Hill. Metadata time 1737

 Close view…camera facing ENE. Metadata time 1737
 URT (unidentified Red-tail) coming in out of the SSE low at 800 feet then sweeps SSW.. Metadata time 1739

Jeff, I love URT as shorthand, it will be remarkably handy in so many situations concerning Red-tailed Hawks particularly during Hawk Season. 

Though this hawk is a URT, we can reasonably think (though not state as "fact") that she is likely to be Zena, Pale Male, or a fledgling.  Another mature Red-tail would probably have the owners of this territory giving her the bum rush.

 Same Red-tail gaining altitude and circling maybe riding thermal lifts. Metadata time 1739.

Thermals, yes indeed.  The currents of air created by the urban landscape, which helps an urban Red-tail make the most of their caloric intake,  as well has the very deep prey base in the city are advantages that  Red-tails in rural, flat land environments don't enjoy.

I've begun to posit that these advantages may help to offset the likely more numerous dangers to life and wing encountered in cities.

And another advantage for NYC Red-tails, and other raptors who have attracted knowledgeable watchers in urban areas, is the higher concentration per square foot of possible human aid in times of need.
Vectors for the dark brick "Oreo" building. It's the same Red-tail I had eyes on it all the way. Metadata time 1740.
 Red-tail from out of the SSE goes to perch on SW railing of the Oreo building (looking from mid lower Cedar Hill east slope). Metadata time 1752

To answer Ed of  Boston's question--Why is the Oreo Building called the Oreo Building?  

 Look at the building with the vertical strip of windowed white, "the frosting", with right and left adjacent strips of windowed brown, the "two chocolate cookie" parts of an Oreo.
It stayed on the railing at differing compass points for over twenty minutes. At one point it hopped off the railing to investigate something out of sight on the terrace. 

 I thought it to be Pale Male chasing rodents and spotting for prey in the Park. It was pointed out to me that this would be atypical behavior for him though, because he much prefers the antenna one level up and if he ever hunted on a rooftop it would be for pigeons instead of rats or mice. Metadata time 1756.

Yes, Pale Male often does perch on the antenna of Oreo, as have his mates, but I also have photos of him on the terrace fence which abutts the right edge of the photograph and even, though less common,  in the position of this bird in your photograph.  It could be Pale Male

On the other hand, possibly telling is the fact that the URT (Unidentified Red-Tail) in question, hopped down onto the floor of the terrace beyond the railing.  

 It is possible that there are previous leftovers from a meal that Pale Male had stashed for Zena during the time he was bringing her meals.  As Pale Male often eats anything that his mate leaves when she has finished including bits that might not seem terribly eatable to us such as primary feathers.  Therefore most leftovers that could have been left there, though perhaps looking promising to a fledgling, upon closer inspection, might not have taken much time to be found nothing but desiccated remains.  

Though as that railing overlooks the southern canopy of the park we can't totally discount that any of this territory's hawks could have been keeping tabs on any of the others from that perch.  

Hedge hopping fledgling skims over the treetops from out of the WNW.  Metadata time 1813.
 Hedge hopping fledgling executes nice turn due south about twenty feet up. Metadata time 1813.
 Hedge hopping fledgling begins nice movement to flare onto a tree limb at the crown of Cedar Hill fifty feet behind me . Metadata time 1813.
Hedge hopping fledgling made it look easy.  It looks to be the mottled belly female. Metadata time 1813.

 Hedge hopping fledgling gets restless. Metadata time 1813.

Fledgling behind me is quiet and the Red-tail on Oreo is still rail sitting. Though it's not begging the fledgling appears to focus its attention in the general direction of the Oreo building. Metadata time 1816.

As to the non-begging of fledglings, they may be getting more savvy about when begging will actually do some good and when they're just wasting their breathe.  
 Red-tail moved to north rail. Metadata time 1820.

Alright!  Standing looking through the railing without a reason for being down there would be very atypical for a mature Red-tail.  If you watch Pale Male and Zena, unless  they are doing something specific, making a drop off, hunting, dealing with the fledglings, they perch in a spot where they can see if there are intruders, prey, whatever and they can be OFF in a nanosecond.  As we've seen the girls (below).... and taking his shape and bearing into account, I'm betting that is Opera Singing Pale Male IV, looking through that railing.
 Photo courtesy of
 These two couldn't in any way be related to dinosaurs can they?  You bet!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!

 Red-tail takes wing from Oreo railing to NW roof parapet one building south on 5th Avenue. Not hearing any calls. Metadata time 1823.
 Fledgling behind me content to perch and observe quietly. Metadata time 1823.

Closer look at Red-tail on NW corner doesn't appear to be Pale Male. Metadata time 1844.

Nope not Pale, too much belly band. 
Red-tail on NW corner launches due west toward Park. Frames taken at base of Glade Arch as I was on my way to the Sailboat Pond. Metadata time 1844.

927 Nest check with nobody visible. Metadata time 1851.

 Getting back to Cedar Hill there was a fledgling having a nice dinner in a low limb of a tree on the east slope of Cedar Hill.. Metadata time 1857.

It is so strange, it caught my breathe.  When first I  brought up the above photo I felt for a second that I saw the late hawk watcher, photographer, and  Grand Hawk Bench Greeter, Rik Davis,  through the leaves far back on the path.   

Which of course is impossible at least in the flesh.  Then I realized that as Rik had spent so much of his life manning the Hawk Bench that perhaps it is only fitting that his spirit may now roam freely, with ease, and even with a Puckish wink,  along the paths of Central Park with the fledglings of Fifth Avenue.
I should have remained on Cedar Hill rather than look for other Red-tails elsewhere.I don't know if this is a delivered or caught meal. Metadata time 1857.

Oh Jeff, the hawk watchers great lament regarding their location at any given moment-- "should have".   I can't tell you how many times it has happened to me.  But keep in mind sometimes a little scrap of something you noticed in the place where you were may help solve another Red-tail puzzle later.  Sometimes much.
 Looks to be a small rat being enjoyed. Metadata time 1859.

 Metadata time 1859.
 Looks to be he striped belly female (camera faces uphill). Metadata time 1903.
 Metadata time 1909.
 Red-tail in Dog Hill tree at east perimeter near 78th Street. Metadata time 1912.
 It seems the more I see of these fascinating Red-tails the less I am able to understand (let alone anticipate) their behavior. Had to depart scene as it seemed more was about to happen.
Indeed, Jeff, indeed.

And a wonderful find from long time contributor and reader,  Robin of Illinois--a better way for geese and humans!, (When it comes to plane strikes, and it isn't hard at all !!!)
"They found the captive Canada geese reacted most quickly to an approaching model aircraft with alternating pulsing lights. Meanwhile, the geese were slower to respond to an unlighted model and one designed to resemble a predatory bird. Ultimately, they recommend mounting lights on aircraft that emit light in the ultraviolet/violet range of the spectrum to alarm the geese."

Donegal Browne

No comments: