Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Does Pale Male Recognize His 2012 Fledglings? And the Monarch of Central Park Still Knows How to Impress a Girl!

The two fledglings of Pale Male and Zena who were poisoned not long after this photograph was taken and are now back in Central Park.               Courtesy of  


I'm thinking of the Franklin step-dad, stepping in as a stranger, to raise another male's young, contrary to everything we thought we knew about RTHs. 
PM's hormones may be waning, and that may signal to us that these young RTHs are now strangers to him, but he was seen flying overhead and watching. As you've said, and time has proven, as we are able to see more of the private lives of the hawks, never underestimate a red tail! 

Who knows?He may indeed still recognize them in some way, and pick up the training (and supplemental feeding) with his two surviving progeny. 
I was considering whether the two young'uns might stay in the Park, over-wintering there, with PM's help. Just because we haven't seen that kind of behavior before, doesn't mean it can't happen. Franklin's T2 is certainly testimony to that! 
I'm glad they painted the toenails and suspect that Rob will be keeping a careful and caring eye out, to see if they stay or leave. That was an excellent idea. WINORR is the BEST! And Rob is too.
And your blog is too! Thank you. 

Indeed, one must Never Underestimate a Red-tail!

But in this case I've a little snippet of past experience that makes me believe that Pale Male likely does recognize his previous progeny.
Back in 2005, I was watching the 927 Fifth Avenue Nest.  Lola was sitting on eggs and Pale Male had just dropped in  for a visit.  When suddenly, out of-- it seemed nowhere-- but likely from Madison the next Avenue beyond Fifth, a third Red-tail  appeared perched on the overhang directly over the nest and looked down at Pale Male and Lola.  Pale Male looked up and in a nanosecond he'd zipped up to the third Red-tail  and instead of bowling him right over backwards, Pale landed with a quick turn, less than a foot away from the new hawk, leaned over towards him and glared.  Third hawk, appeared to realize his transgression, looked utterly startled and hot winged it out of there.  Unexpectedly Pale Male didn't give chase.  He calmly floated down and landed on the nest again, as if nothing had happened. Not a whiff of the usual hot-pursuit-adrenalined-out-look hawks usually get in instances like these.  
Remember this was the time of year when the territorial boundaries are utterly rigid and no birds except perhaps some pigeons or a few dickey birds are allowed to loiter.  Even Gulls and Turkey Vultures learn to keep clear.  But in this case something was very different and after much thought as to "Why?", I began to think it was possible that the third hawk was one that Pale Male recognized and likely a youngster from the previous year who had come to check out the old homestead.

That said it does not necessarily follow that if Pale Male did recognize these two from the 2012 nest that he would necessarily pick up their training from where it was left off.   But then again, as Robin pointed out, T2 certainly surprised everyone didn't he?  
Though Pale Male may be a touch distracted at the moment with courting his now "New Girl", Octavia.  There are so many twigs and amorous flights and so little time.  
This of course does not keep the youngsters from watching Pale Male as he hunts.  Often the way adults teach techniques to their fledglings anyway.  
Though when the youngsters are six months younger the adult will make sure their attention has been taken from tussling with each other and killing rocks and twigs to the training at hand.  
At this point these two are old enough to pay attention on their own.  Therefore it may not be obvious that they are being trained but I believe their hawk eyes will be focused on the adult hawks in their environment.

And please God, no poisoned rats!

Photo courtesy of 
Pale Male and Octavia in courtship flight.  See the hanging talons?
 That's right!  Plus it's never too early to nail down one's mate for the upcoming season. 
Donegal Browne

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