Thursday, April 04, 2013

More Thoughts on Rose of Fordham, Great Horned Owls, and the Collins Hall Nest

Blog reader Linda Maslin, of Blue Bell, PA, emailed me a link, above, to a picture and article about the Red-tailed Hawk which died of secondary rat poison in Madison Square Park in mid-March of this year, asking if that hawk might indeed have been Rose.

Linda,  if the hawk in the photo is the hawk who was poisoned she is not Rose.   Rose's belly band was more like paint dripping as opposed to spots and she also was banded.  
Fordham is in the Bronx and Madison Square Park is in Manhattan so the distance is not impossible but unlikely, as in March as territorial lines are hardening up by then.

But once again thanks for sending it.
Best, D
       photo Donegal Browne-- Rose of Fordham in a happier season.
I'd also emailed Chris Lyons of Fordham, a major watcher of Rose and Vince, asking if he thought that their son, named Alpha Son, who joined Rose in Great Horned Owl baiting might also have met his end with Rose?  If  indeed, that is as suspected, she died in a battle  with the Great Horned Owl DadBoth Alpha Son and GHO Dad, are currently missing from the New York Botanical Garden.

Chris wrote-
I'm not clear about this whole Alpha Son thing, but I doubt Junior [Great Horned Owl Dad at NYBG,  DB] could take both of them out at the same time. 

 I haven't seen Vince in the last week either, but that doesn't mean anything, with breeding disrupted.  I would assume I'll see him with a new mate at some point, but normally the Fordham Hawks are well into nesting by now, so maybe it's too late for this year.  
I hope the Collins nest won't be abandoned, but that'll be up to the new missus, whenever she comes along.  Always possible, I guess, that an established pair could show up and claim the territory.   It's too good a territory to stay vacant, that's for sure--more worried about the owl mother finding a mate.   We know a lot less about how many unattached GHO's are in NYC.   

Photo Donegal Browne
The Collins Hall Red-tailed Hawk nest at Fordham University


I'm leaning more toward Alpha Son hitting the thermals for  the RTH adolescent migration.  Though as its now been proven that Red-tails do have a tendency to return to their natal territory for breeding,  we may not have seen the last of him.  I like that thought very much.

I would think that unattached GHO's in NYC would be rare.  They technically don't migrate.  Though Central Park does tend to get a GHO visitor in the winter, probably on a little winter vacation from another borough.  Or even from the NYBG.

The Garden's Great Horned Owl Mom and her single owlette are going to be going it alone this season I'm afraid.  I don't know that a male GHO would pitch in like T2 did last season at the Franklin Institute.  But one never knows as no one had ever seen a Red-Tailed Hawk stepfather before either. :)

Just got a pic from a blog reader of the hawk that was poisoned in Madison Square Park in mid March of this year asking if it may have been Rose.   It would have been very unlikely to have been her due to distance at this time of year but the hawk in the photo had a definite spotted belly band as opposed to Rose's more streaked model.

As to the Collins nest site, if things work like Pale Male and 927,  and  Isolde at the Cathedral,  the remaining hawk holds the territory until another mate is chosen. In fact Vince may have "disappeared" to go looking.   James O'Brien believes he saw Isolde leave and go get Storm'n Norman not long after Tristan's death.

 Of course Vince's new mate would technically have the choice of nest site being the female, but she'd have to be a bit off to choose another spot.

 In actuality Collins hall is arguably the best RTH building nest site for fledging and branching in the city.  As far as I know, in no other building nest site in NYC are the young able to move back and forth to the nest at will, and easily do true branching in the adjacent trees as they do in tree nests in non-urban territories.

I'm still holding out hope for Vince finding a mate for this season.  When Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. successfully double clutched it was even later in the year.

Please do keep me updated.  Fingers crossed!

Best, D

Happy Hawking
Donegal Browne

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