Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pale Male Takes Up the Non-hunting Fledglings Problem

 Pale Male pushes off!
courtesy of

Wednesday-- from reliable, stalwart, long time hawkwatcher Katherine Herzog!

About 3pm today in the Ramble, one of Pale Male's newly released offspring was spotted by hawk watchers....after watching her fly to several trees near Evodia Field and Azalea Pond....she flew to a tree near the "balancing boulder" just off the path to the Boathouse.  Shortly, thereafter, pandemonium broke out with very loud hawk screeching.  Three Red Tailed Hawks had converged overhead in a  tree near the boulder and it was determined that the three were Pale Male, his new female consort, and Pale Male's youngster.

Pale Male had a Red-Breasted Woodpecker in his talons which his new female was trying her best to acquire....instead Pale Male delivered it to the youngster.  While PM and the female flew towards Fifth Avenue....the youngster clutched the fallen woodpecker on the ground.  After a few minutes and being surrounding by curiosity seekers as well as the hawk watchers, the youngster flew with the food to a quieter location - the rocky outcrop overlooking the gill....(where the bull frogs hang out).  She look her time, over 1/2 an hour to dismantle and devour the entire woodpecker, head, feet and all.  The rain drove us for cover and I left the park at 4:45.

I was aware that Pale Male had noticed the two birds on Saturday as he flew in circles over them shortly after their release, but, that he recognized them as his offspring and has provided food for at least one of them - is truly astonishing! 


But I am still not sanguine about the youngsters' changes for survival.  They are still flying low - like they were just before their poisoning (muscles atrophied during their long captivity?) and their hunting skills seem to have eroded. None of the hawk observers, who have been on almost dawn to dusk watch since Saturday, have seen any hunting behavior from either young hawk.
Will be interesting to see if Pale Male will continue to augment their food supply.


Katherine Herzog


1 comment:

NY Bill said...