Tuesday, April 02, 2013


 Photo courtesy of http://www.palemale.com/   
 Pale Male patrols his territory late in the day,  Sunday.  
Chris Lyon has continued the search for Rose of Fordham to no avail though he has been in contact with some birders in the NYBG who have some possibly relevant information 

Stranger and stranger...here is the birders' report--

Last week we found the GHO nest. The female is very visible. In the 3 past years Junior Owl male has mated, he ALWAYS sat outside the nest guarding and watching. I have not been able to locate him in approximately 4-5 weeks. I assumed when they nested he was with her but now that we found the nest we cannot find him. Many birders looked. No Junior male owl. How long has Rose been missing? She was the owl that "jumped" Junior that day when harassing him with her Alpha son.
Could it be Rose and Junior had it out with no winner?

I saw Vince yesterday- looking lost.

Chris Lyons response-

Possible--I haven't spotted Rose in about six weeks or so, since I saw her engaged in courtship flights over on the campus.   Even though GHO's tend to be proportionately stronger than RT's, Rose might have had enough of a size advantage to even the scales.  Maybe they engaged at twilight or dusk, where light conditions wouldn't favor either combatant.   Because he was timid during the day, she might have gotten overconfident, and come a bit too close.   Whoever won, it could easily have been a victory of the pyrrhic type.  

Maybe he'll still turn up, but it doesn't sound good--at this point, I see no hope at all of Rose showing up alive.  But where are the bodies?  Could any maintenance people have found them?   Of course, there are big raccoons in there who'd happily dispose of the spoils of war. 

 Chris forwarded the above.  And below find his note to me
Figured you'd want to hear about this.  Of course, it's still purely speculative, but that would be some coincidence.  
Red-tails and Great Horned's love the same types of habitat, and most of the time, they live in relative peace, because they work different shifts.  In Van Cortlandt Park, I have seen RT's confront GHO's in the daytime, and it's always a stand-off--the owls just hold their ground, and the hawks know better than to get too close--I have also found the body of a large immature RT near an active GHO nest, and that was no coincidence.   But immature hawks are less prudent than adults, and Rose was an exceptionally well-seasoned adult, so what could have happened here? 
Rose was in her prime, healthy, and fully in control of her territory--while a battle with a rival female of her own species is possible, I think she was too well-entrenched not to come out victorious in a conflict of that kind.  She seems to have been exceptionally aggressive towards Great Horned Owls, and got away with it for years--perhaps the willingness of the NYBG owls to put up with her harassment made her over-confident--and with a nesting mate to defend,  Junior would be less likely to tolerate her incursions.  Even a relatively small and meek Great Horned Owl is a Great Horned Owl--the most ferocious raptor in North America, able to kill animals many times its size.   It would really say something for how formidable Rose was if she managed to make a draw of it.  But without any physical evidence, we may never know.  

And my response to Chris...

 Thank you Chris.  Oh dear.  It's possible it is a coincidence I suppose, but it is very suspicious. Particularly as both were birds in residence for some years who have disappeared in a relatively similar time frame.  That doesn't make it fact by any stretch of the imagination but this scenario though sad is far better than if Rose had been poisoned.   Better to go out fighting in a blaze of glory, if one is a hawk, I would  think.  Particularly as it appears she had a definite issue with the Great Horned Owls.

 How is Great Horned Mom going to be able to incubate and feed her owlettes or even keep the eggs warm as she'll have to hunt if she is widowed.  Unless of course,  Mr GHO has found a very hidden spot to watch over things.

Poor Vince.  He's not yet given up and started to court a new female.  Which cements the fact that he doesn't know what happened to Rose either. He wouldn't though if she was off in GHO territory and he was guarding their territory closely as males are prone to do at this time of year.

If Vince takes a new mate, I'm assuming he will this season though a little late as there are always available mates in the floater population, and if Rose did meet her demise doing in the male GHO, she'll have given the gift of some GHO safety to Vince's offspring.

 I doubt very much that Rose's death was due to a female RTH.  Vince would have helped in the battle.  And having seen many an incursion into PM's, Tristan's and Norman's territories,  one RTH is no match for an experienced pair.  Besides in that case, Vince would know what happened to Rose and not be looking for her.
You are so right.  We may very well never know what happened to Rose with finality but at this point I fear too, that we must  bid her farewell.  She has left us her biological legacy of  many well raised human habituated young hawks to return to their natal areas when mature and continue to raise their families in our urban landscapes.

Rest in peace beautiful fierce courageous Rose.  We shall miss you.

 Rosie returns from a break on Monday and gives the window a stare as Bobby slowly leaves the three eggs.  

At dusk Bobby returned with a rat for Rosie.  She got off the bowl and left again leaving the rat behind.  

And Red-tail expert John Blakeman answers some questions in an article in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer-


All appears to be going well at the Franklin Institute nest of Mom and T2 also.  They also now have three eggs.

The number of eggs in a season ordinarily depends on the prey depth and the hawks ability to avail themselves of that prey.   The deeper the prey depth, and the better the hunter,  the higher the number of eggs.   

Within reason of course.  They aren't ducks.

Al Olsen reports that the Fifth Avenue nest is progressing nicely.

Isolde as is usual this time of year, is keeping close in the nest behind St. Andrew's elbow at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.
CPW Hawk
Photo courtesy of Rob Schmunk,

Rob Schmunk has some lovely photos and updates on the new nest of the Red-tailed Pair at Central Park West and 92nd Street.  Take a look.   http://morningsidehawks.blogspot.com/

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

sally said...

Farewell Rose! Sorry to read this and like you hoping that it was in the natural course of events rather than man-made. Thank you for the updates. I hope Vince takes a mate soon and continues the legacy.