Friday, August 24, 2012

Looking For Zena 8/21--Jeff Johnson Searches for Another Personal Sighting of Pale Male's Mate

Late afternoon sortie into the Park the East 80th Street MET grounds entry. Oreo antenna check with nobody there. Metadata Time 1648.

Minutes later as I'm crossing The Great Lawn to sweep the west side I saw a Red-tail in the SW Beresford tower. Metadata Time 1652.
                                   Extreme enlargement.
By the time I reached the 81st Street CPW entry the Red-tail had flown. Metadata Time 1706.
 Beresford NW tower check also no joy. Metadata Time 1706.
 Back near the East Side drive an Oreo antenna check with no joy. Metadata Time 1714.
 Then moving south to go toward the top of Cedar Hill I was amazed to come upon Pale Male nested in a tree fork SE of that crossed sword King (Prince ?) Jaglello statue. Metadata Time 1715.
 He was patiently scoping things out from his perch. Metadata Time 1718.
SE of King Jaglello scene with Pale male in the upper left corner of the frame. Metadata Time 1719.
I  continued on to the Sailboat Pond checking the 927 Nest hoping that Zena would make an appearance. Metadata Time 1744.
I waited on the west perimeter of the Sailboat Pond and was a little creeped out by the "Hitchcock" like gathering above me. Metadata Time 1746.
 Ventured back to the south MET grounds and found Pale Make in some dense tree cover. Metadata Time 1823.
 He moved to an adjacent tree. Metadata Time 1824.
 He seemed to be preoccupied with something. Metadata Time 1825.
 Closer frame shows him using a lot of beak motion. Metadata Time 1626.
 Moving to a more westerly direction it's obvious now that he's having  dinner. Metadata Time 1830.
 I didn't see him carry anything up there which doesn't mean anything as I didn't have eyes on him until a few minutes ago. He had plenty of time to hunt and cache his meal.Metadata Time 1832. 
Pale Male scene south NET grounds. Metadata Time 1833.
 Back to the Sailboat Pond still hoping to see Zena with no joy. Metadata Time 1843.
Checking back with Pale Male who has decide to visit another tree.  Metadata Time 1859.
Another check of the 927 Nest at theSailboat pond with no one visible.  Metadata Time 1908.
 I make a last sweep along the south perimeter of Cedar Hill on my way out of the Park and there's a Red-tail shape gently bobbing in the top of this pine. Metadata Time 1927
 Pale Male taking in the setting sun !  Metadata Time 1928.
 Looking at him from a more northerly  perspective. Metadata Time 1931.
 South Cedar Hill scene with Pale Male in the almost spindly top of a pine. He launched due east a few minutes after this frame was taken. Metadata Time 1934.
 I hastened back to the Sailboat Pond hoping Pale Male ha a date with Zena planned but no one visible even as an overflight  at the time this frame was taken. Metadata Time 1940.

Had to depart scene disappointed with not having spotted Zena.
Many thanks Jeff, for taking us along on the trail of Pale Male and  as Zena is out there you will find her, and as you'll take us along we're all very much looking forward to it.

Speaking of Zena, earlier today I mentioned I'd had a couple of possible hypotheses as to where Zena might be when she was missing beyond the first and unthinkable, that she had been poisoned.
One thought was that as two of her fledglings had disappeared, well for her as they'd gone off to rehab to be healed that perhaps she'd gone far afield to look for them.  She may have.
But also, first, do you remember when one of Mama and Papa's eyasses disappeared from the nest and the theory was that the little one had been stolen in the night by a Great Horned Owl?
Mama then became so super vigilant that she even lost some of her trust in her major watchers for a short time and began to sleep off the nest, (the weather had improved thank goodness) because it gave her an advantage in protecting it. 
 She became hyper-vigilant.

Now for part two of my thought which has to do with new Red-tail parents-- in these cases the behavior of new Dads, Vince at Fordham and Norman at the Cathedral nest.  Both were very young as Zena is when they first became parents.

While Hawkeye and Tristan were older very experienced Dads, who provided ample food for the family they also had more of tendency to be in evidence around the nest area not only to the eyes of their mates but also to the poorer eyes of hawkwatchers than did their replacements. 
First lets take Vince.  Vince was an excellent provider for Rose while she sat the nest.  He caught on to that part of the role right off but then he seemed to go missing for great swathes of time.  Eventually it was discovered that for at least part of the time during those mystery absences that he'd flown over to the NY Botanic Gardens and was sitting quite close to the Great Horned Owl Nest having a staring contest with the Great Horned Owls in the daytime.  

For whatever reason it appears that Vince knew the owls were a possible threat and he was letting them know he was in the game and he was serious.  He was being, as we've seen before, the hyper-vigilant new Dad and taking the possible war to their front door.  And he did keep Horned Owl Dad awake in the daytime when he would have no doubt much preferred to sleep.   
Next up our crazed Storm'n Norman of the Cathedral Nest.  Previously Tristan and Isolde had always had periodic attacks from their neighbors the Kestrels, the Crows, and the Peregrines from just outside the territory.  Mostly a pesky annoyance but still conceivably dangerous if the resident pair weren't paying close attention.

Norman, who took awhile to catch onto the fact he needed to feed Isolde before he completely stuffed himself would also be gone for great gaps of time while Isolde would come up for air from behind St. Andrews elbow hungry and obviously be looking for him.  (Eventually Norman did get the food thing down.)

We later realized that Norman had been extending his and Isolde's territory and had been spending great amounts of time defending those new boundaries.  Attacks on the nest took a steep down turn along with the rise of sketchy food deliveries.
It is a small sample but perhaps we could say that young hawk parents have more of tendency to defend borders and menace possible enemies in their early parenthood than older Dads who at least anecdotally become more interested in hands on, or shall we say talons on care of the young. 

It was reported that once the Fifth Avenue fledglings were off the nest that Zena rarely if ever participated in their feeding or training. 
 Is it possible that as a young mother, having spent many weeks caring for and beak feeding youngsters, that once they left the nest, her urge like the young dads, was more toward the defending-the-territory-and-menacing-possible-interlopers category?

Aggression towards interlopers is wired into Red-tails.  And the young have lots of energy to bring it on.  Whereas does it make evolutionary sense that the older more experienced parent might do better in the training role?

Therefore perhaps Zena was far less in evidedence once the young were off the nest because she was defending the perimeters of the territory whilst the hawkwatchers were sticking close to the nest and the "action" of watching Pale Male mostly feed and train the young? 
Remember that Zena did come and watch over the second poisoned fledgling when she was on the perimeter of the territory and may have been watching from distant perches all along as she guarded the perimeters of the territory and with her hawk eyes also watched the fledglings both from carefully selected perches.

Then when the two poisoned fledglings "disappeared" this could have made Zena even more diligent in looking for them somewhat further afield as well as defending the territory even more scrupulously.  Placing her even further away from the familiar well trodden routes of hawkwatchers.

It's a thought.

If you've not been by earlier today, there are two previous posts you won't have seen,  so keep scrolling down.

Happy Hawking!

Donegal Browne

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