Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pale Male and the Octavia Go For It, Clarence the Cooper's Hawk Makes an Appearance, and Quicksilver and Squirrel the Kitten Fight Over the Watering Can

Courtesy of
Pale Male and Octavia do a little sky courting.

 Al Olson, a newer hawkwatcher in Central Park, reports that copulation is well underway and he has seen Pale Male gift the New Girl with two pigeons and and a squirrel in the last few days.  Al commented,  that she was a "lusty eater".  

Woooo hooo!

All's well so far.  Keep your fingers crossed!
 It was seriously snowing and as is usual in this circumstance the juncos, sparrows, and assorted others were at and under the feeders stocking up.
Some of the larger and more "me habituated" birds were on the back step availing themselves of sunflower seeds not in the sunflower seed feeder.  Even though not one was at that feeder.  What did they know that I didn't?  They were seeking a more sheltered spot to feed?  Better in the weather or was it something else?
I was pleased to see the male Cardinal, as I'd begun to think he'd been lost, not having seen him since the previous snowfall though his mate had been around frequently.
 The Mourning Doves though feeding on the step seemed more vigilant in the direction of the yard than they were about me. 
And there was a sentinel on the wire that Friend often watches from when he's looking out for Doorstep while she feeds.
And there was a timidity about some of the sparrows on the sparrow pile that I found suspicious.  As they appeared suspicious that there was a predator out there somewhere.
The next time I looked most of the female sparrows had disappeared, and the males had congregated at the top of the pile.

Two minutes later when I looked again, guess who was sailing across the back yard from the right and landed neatly on the sparrow pile, now devoid of visible sparrows.
It's Clarence the Cooper's Hawk and he's giving me the eye.  I admit I'm not sure Clarence is male but the other juvenile Cooper's that has been haunting the yard is slightly larger.  We'll go with that.

Plus this hawk, much like Pale Male doesn't seem to mind me  at all. 
He stares at me and I stare at him.
 Then he's back to hunting.
Then the other side.
Then he leans ever so slightly.
And he's off!
He goes for the side perch.
And peers.  There are no doubt rustling sounds coming from the pile and he's hoping to flush someone.  No luck.
He waits.
And watches with intensity.
   Then peruses the entire area.
1:51:23PM And he's off once again.  Note how low he stays to the ground, masked by the rise in the ground and the snow bank.
1:51:24 PM And he stays low though shifting his angle of flight.
  1:51:25 PM Once masked by the boughs he rises slightly for the gap.  These guys are incredibly quick and agile flyers. 
1:51:25PM  He tips sideways past the boughs without dislodging any snow.
1:51:25PM And then the little bugger does a perpendicular turn straight up to who knows where.  Check the times.  The last three moves were all done within one second.

I'm so glad he isn't out to eat me.

 Quicksilver was attempting to gain access to the carrousel cupboard.  It is never too early to scout possible nesting cavities just in case a female African Grey happens to wander through the back yard or even the living room come Spring.
11:56:48 AM And Squirrel the Kitten is watching him.  Squirrel is quite partial to cavities himself.  He's constantly being accidentally shut in closets.

Note the bottom of the watering can up center in the photo.  It's about to become important in the next chapter. 
 11:59:05 AM When I returned to the kitchen a little over two minutes later, this is what I found.  They aren't supposed to be doing this.

Exactly how they came to these  positions I'm not sure.  Though Silver often perches on the handle of the can and obviously thinks that Squirrel shouldn't be there. 

(By the way, I've started clipping the tips off Squirrels claws.  Squirrel only does paw play with Silver.  After having his nose sharply pinched by Silver leaping at his face, he keeps his face, and therefore his teeth away from Silver.  It may not seem that way from the photos but I really monitor all this very closely. )
  This is interesting.  When Silver goes into the crouch similar to his position in the water bowl before hopping to the edge and shaking water on the kitten, Squirrel pulls back.
 11:59:13 Silver can't reach Squirrel so as is typical he bites what is handy.  A warning?  Misplaced aggression?  I don't know for sure.  I haven't found a way to test it yet.
 11:59:21 AM  I can't see what Silver is doing back there but whatever it is, the kitten doesn't trust it and pulls half back.
11:59:25 AM The banging starts and Squirrel goes into full retreat.  Silver is banging his beak into the watering can with about an inch of water in it with great force.  It resonates very nicely.  This is an anti-cat trick of Silver's of long standing.

When Silver was only about 6 months old, he got off his perch in the living room while the resident human was in the shower. Bad parrot! Suddenly said human heard a banging on the bathroom door.  The human opened the door and there was Silver with Bowie, one of the NYC cats who was standing a few feet away watching the proceedings

Silver learned two things.  If you banged on doors humans opened them and an added plus, that the cat who might be shadowing you was taken aback.   He's used head banging on resonate objects for both ever since.
11:59:26 Silver keeps banging and the kitten retreats even further.
 11:59:32 AM  I say, "Hey guys, what are you doing?" Evidentally neither of them had registered that I was there, so typical to their individual species,  Silver stops and looks at me from behind the side handle wondering what the upshot of my presence will be, i.e. he'll just find himself back on his perch or will this rate a "time out", and Squirrel pretends he had nothing to do with any of it. 
And last but not least inn from Robin of Illinois, prosthetic fins for a Loggerhead Turtle after a likely shark attack.

Keep your eyes open you never know what you'll see!
Donegal Browne


Sally said...

Donna I love to read the antics of Silver and company! How is Pye? Must be minding his own business like a sensible mature kitty. The coopers hawks is fascinating. I have them in my yard fairly often and have twice seen one fly off with a feeder bird but never seen them stalk and maneuver as you do.

palemalemarcher said...

Were they House or Tree Sparrows atop the brush?

palemalemarcher said...

Were they House or Tree Sparrows atop the brush?

Donegal Browne said...

Hello palemalemarcher,

The brush pile belongs to a colony of House Sparrows, Passer domesticus.
Love your moniker, spend anytime in Central Park lately?