Saturday, July 28, 2012

Two Together in Rehab and Opera Star Tries for a Squirrel

Opera Star pursues squirrel for lunch west of the Hamilton statue behind the MET. Metadata time 1235.
Photos and Italicized commentary by Jeff Johnson

Poisoned Fledgling Update- When Cathy Horvath was asked today if the two poisoned Fifth Avenue Fledglings were being kept together in rehab, she responded, 

"They are not being housed together but they are in the same quiet room ."

Just another example that Cathy knows exactly what she is doing.  

As hawks once off the nest are not particularly into cuddling but rather more into play which includes tussles and mock killing.  And as even very ill hawks can have fiesty moments, remember  when Trooper finished her long drink, it's best that they can't bug each other.  But they can still see each other and be companionable as they would if they were perched in the same tree. 

 Second, Jeff sighted Pale Male today with Opera Star, so no worries about either of them.  As to Zena, she's been keeping an extremely low profile since the threesome fledged off the nest so there isn't a change there.  It isn't like we saw her repeatedly on a daily basis so it isn't surprising that we've not seen her lately.  

Pix of Pale and Opera Star will be posted next up after this post.  

Now on to Opera Star and the Squirrels! 
He's getting a lot of exercise at least. Metadata time 1235.
 He's still intent on getting a squirrel. Metadata time 1235.

 If looks could kill there would have been at least three deceased squirrels from this stare. Metadata time 1244.

Great shot Jeff! 
Opera Star still hunting. Metadata time 1253.
 Opera Star in a tree NNW of Cleopatra's Needle. Metadata time 1254.
 Opera Star repositioning himself. Metadata time 1254.
Opera Star resting on he north perimeter of Cleopatra's Needle. This is the same Red-tail despite all the color variation you see from frame to frame…I had an eye on him the entire time.
 Metadata time 1258.
Opera Star looking very much like a younger Pale Male here. Metadata time 1300.
 Still along the north perimeter of Cleopatra's NeedleOpera Star persistent in his resolve to bag some prey below. 
Metadata time 1302.
 Dives into the brambles around Cleopatra;s Needle chasing something. Metadata time 1304.

 Opera Star making repeated attempts to get something in the underbrush. Metadata time 1304.
Opera Star takes a moment to relax and reconsider his hunting tactics.  Metadata time 1313.
He then launched to the west so I went south to look at the 927 Nest during the time I had allocated for this afternoon's fledge spotting. No one was visible.  
 Departing scene for the afternoon I left by going northeast around the back of the MET. This possibly feral cat was prowling around where many supplementary meals had been offered to Trooper before she was successfully caught and fostered into rehab for treatment. Maybe the cat had also been dining on these or leftovers or just smelled the faint traces they left behind. Metadata time 1349.

Returned to the Park at 1800 and did a 927 Nest check but no one was visible. Metadata time 1813.
Getting over to Central Park West hoping to find some Red-tails I came upon this Blue Jay hang a drink from a schist dimple which had collected some recent rainwater. Metadata time 1840.
Blue Jay drank this way time and again for about three minutes. Metadata time 1840.
No Red-tail joy on this excursion… I heard a Red-tail call from this portion of a tree on the corner of east 85th and 5th but never got eyes on it. Metadata time 1920.

Jeff, was that a begging call or the signature Red-tail keeeeee? 

Perhaps we've not seen much of Zena since the young fledged because she has been busy patrolling the perimeters of the territory?  This is very often the case with first time Red-tail Dads.  Just ask Isolde up at the Cathedral.  The first year he was a dad, he spent so much time expanding the perimeters of the territory and glaring at the raptor neighbors he sometimes forget to hunt for her.


What is the only family of birds that do not have to raise their heads to swallow water?

Updates on the Fifth Avenue Fledglings at Rehab as they come in! 

Next up from Jeff Johnson--
                                           Pale Male and Opera Star Hang Out! 

Donegal Browne

Friday, July 27, 2012

Part 2 of Jeff Johnson's Observations for July 26 or Which Fledgling Is That?

 Photos by Jeff Johnson
 Trooper on Wednesday, looks down at the container of water before she plunges in.

While we wait for more news about Trooper in rehab (scroll down for the updates regarding her capture by Ranger Rob this morning, and becoming a patient, along with her already hospitalized  sibling, under the wonderful rehab care of Cathy and Bobby Horvath),  lets continue investigating the mystery as to who the bird  in the water actually is.

Some reported this bird as Opera Star and some as Trooper, the sick fledgling.  Disagreement on the identity of a sighted Red-tail are not all that rare even with watchers with many years of looking at Pale Male for instance.
Scroll down for Part I if you've not seen it yet to get up to speed.

It appeared to me from Jeff's photos that the fledgling in the bath was Trooper as he'd reported but some thought it not at all likely because of how energetic the bathing bird appeared.

Here is what Jeff had to say today about the episode.

It's right to point out the seemingly impossible energy displayed by the bathing fledge as being Trooper. I appreciate it being questioned and at the time I looked at these on my MAC I was thinking the same thoughts. At the very least I should have made a disclaimer about possibly losing situational awareness when shocked to see a fledge plop into its private pool. I didn't have a frame showing two Red-tails…one on the wall and another in the pool. I would have shot one for scene context since I'm shooting image data not NatGeo cover images. I had no frame of a second Red-tail let alone a fledge in the tree or on the wall at any time. Last September I had twelve year old  Abyssinian cat die of feline hemangiosarcoma. It's a rare a blood cancer that there is a specific blood test required to find it. My cat Romeo was looking like the papered show cat he was right until he had to be euthanized. He had masked his disease for a year until it was too late. From seeing how resilient Trooper proved to be, I thought she was in a brief rally of spirit and masking her condition too. In light of not seeing two fledges I elected to go with the proof I had that the fledge in the pool was Trooper. Following are all th frames of the fledge in the pool for possible better ID. They all  have pushed enlargement.
Trooper Pool 1st Frame. Metadata time 1600.
(Keep an eye on Trooper's activity and the time changes.)
 Trooper Pool 2nd Frame. Metadata time 1600.
 Trooper Pool 4th Frame. Metadata time 1600.

 Trooper Pool 5th Frame. Metadata time 1600.
 Trooper Pool 7th Frame. Metadata time 1601.

 Trooper Pool 9th Frame. Metadata time 1601.
 Trooper Pool 13th Frame. Metadata time 1602.
 Trooper Pool 14th Frame. Metadata time 1602.

Trooper Pool 15th Frame. Metadata time 1603.
 Trooper Pool USED 17th Frame. Metadata time 1603.
Trooper Pool 24th Frame. Metadata time 1604.
(Have you been paying attention to the time changes?)

Note that the fluffy feathers abutting the leading edge of  her wing are not wet.

Trooper Pool 25th Frame. Metadata time 1605.

 Trooper was not bathing.  
 This is bathing.  See the splashes of water flying through the air?  

True the sparrow wallowing in the water is not a Red-tail but all birds wallow to a lesser or greater extent when bathing as far as I've ever seen.  Red-tails have been known to even plop up and down in water.  Whatever the case they make splashes and there are none in these photographs.

These photographs are of Trooper drinking and drinking and drinking.  I posit that she drank, beak down, filled it with water, head up swallow water, rest a bit,  look around,  then do it again,  for a solid five minutes.  Unless of course Jeff somehow avoided all splashes in his photography which is unlikely.

Trooper of course was  dehydrated from the poison and from not eating and obviously desperately thirsty but perhaps she was not aware what to do about it.  

Eyasses get all their moisture from food, as likely fledglings do as well for awhile until they figure out drinking. Or in this case, even "remember" that drinking was one of the answers to her discomfort.   Poisons do tend to also disrupt thinking, the brain is poisoned along with everything else in the body.

 Photos and italicized commentary by Jeff Johnson
Refreshed Red-tail. 1606 Metadata time. 

 I'm sure she did feel a lot better after her very long drink--- and refreshed and cooler from sitting in the water.

Now here are the rest of Jeff's photo picks of that day.

She decides to go aloft and sunbathe on the wall. 1606 Metadata time. 
Sidling back and forth along the light fixtures of the roof she begins some low voice begging. She must be pretty weak despite all the energetic water play she's just done. 1618 Metadata time.
Time for a Red-tail squirt. 1630 Metadata time.
She flies back to her favored tree perch at the back of the MET.1651 Metadata time.
 In this frame she looks very frail. 1738 Metadata time.

Indeed she does.

In case  there was still any doubts that the hawk in the water was Trooper, see that her feathers near the bottom of her belly band are wet. 
Back of the MET scene looking south. 1743 Metadata time.

She's decided to hide among the branching and foliage. 1836 Metadata time.
Her tree from looking east toward 5th Avenue. 1842 Metadata time. 
Going back to the north side of the MET by the Temple of Dendur I check for Opera Fledge where I saw him last night. It surprises me that there's a silent Red-tail in the same area of the tree (upper left corner).  1849 Metadata time. 
Red-tail close. 1849 Metadata time.
It looks to be Pale Male when viewed  from below. 1858 Metadata time.

That is absolutely Pale Male and he is wearing his very anxious face.  He's just gone from three fledglings to one.  I feel terrible for him.  He shouldn't have to go through all this at his age.
It still looks to be Pale Male when you factor in CS6 auto color saturation. 1901 Metadata time.

Pale Male didn't seem to be going active so I went back toward the west looking for Opera Star. I got back to where the ailing female was still in her tree but now peeking around. Not begging that I could hear. 

I want to comment here that since about 1500 there have been ongoing efforts by one hawk watcher and a Park entity to lure the sick fledge down from her perch so that she might be safely captured and treated for what ever is afflicting her. No frames were taken of these efforts to safeguard their noble undertaking. It's pretty sad that such a "blind" exercise must be pursued to promote the welfare of wildlife while providing a ruse of deniable guilt for the Park as an institution. 1907 Metadata time. 

Let me clarify something.  According to the laws of the land, the wild animals of the United States belong to all the people of the United States.  That doesn't mean you can grab a hawk and take it home.  Without authorization from the powers that be, that would be stealing from the rest of us.  BUT, any citizen may lay hands on a wild animal who is in danger.  

Say a fledgling is standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue, you may run out and grab it.  Then once you are both out of the street, you take it to a safer place in Central Park, and let it go.  That is perfectly legal.

Or if an animal is obviously ill, as this one is, or if it were injured,  it is perfectly legal to get hold of it and then you have a certain number of hours to get it for medical care.  That is within any citizens rights, and I personally would go further than that by saying for me at least, it is an obligation.

Therefore whoever, unless expressly forbidden personally to touch these animals due to prior behavior or just personally fearful due to possible displeasure of an employer, were within his or her rights to try to safely capture Trooper and get her to rehab.  That is Federal law.   And therefore drama shouldn't be necessary.

Off my soapbox now.

 Going back to the Temple of Dendur I went to see what Pale Male was up to. I found a Red-tail on the NW corner of the MET roof. It looked to have dark coloration. 1914 Metadata time.

 It pranced all along the edge of the roof .  1915 Metadata time. 

 In this frame it looks like it could be Pale Male if CS6 over-saturation is considered. 1915 Metadata time.
In this frame the Red-tail looks more like Opera Star. 

(Can't be Opera Star as in the previous photo, the red unbarred tail of an adult is visible.  Due to what looks like a possible window reflection attack in previous frame, if that is what it was, despite the color issue, I'd lean toward the hawk being Pale Male.  Male Red-tails seem to be instinctively hair trigger wired in some way that makes them have a tendency to attack their reflection in windows when out of season they appear to know the image isn't another hawk.  Glands.  What can one do?)

Soon after this frame was taken the Red-tail swooped up into the air about three feet and disappeared south across the MET roof. I thought it might be a sign of Pale Male about to deliver a meal to the ailing fledge so I proceeded back to the west side of the museum. 1916 Metadata time. 
 Going to the back of the MET the female was looking very frail. 1937 Metadata time.

To my disappointment Pale Male never made an appearance and I had to depart scene. I saw him perched on the NW corner of the MET as I left, so I hope he delivered a meal after all. 1940 Metadata time.

Daughter Samanatha did not find either Pale Male or Zena today in her search of  the territory today, the 26th.  Neither did Jeff Johnson, though he watched Opera Star attempting to hunt for a good while.

 Obviously just because Jeff and Samantha didn't see Pale Male or Zena on the 36h doesn't mean they weren't there of course.  

Sometimes they just make themselves scarce.  

Besides the fact they may have been looking far afield for the missing fledglings even though likely one or both saw them both leave with humans. 

Now that I think of it, as far as I know, and I do find it very interesting  that in all the rescues of fledglings, large and small, over the years by hawkwatchers in Central Park, not once has an adult Red-tail attacked the Good Samaritan.

By the way, if you did happen to see either Pale Male or Zena on the 26th or later, let me know, some folks are becoming concerned about them.

 And for those who missed it the first time it was posted, click on the link to sign a petition directed to the DEC concerning rat poison and hawks--

And please pass the link along to others who care!

Next up Jeff Johnson's time on Thursday with Opera Star.  Well probably next up, unless there is more breaking news!  

 Good I hope.

Donegal Browne