Monday, March 17, 2014

Real Men Don't Kill White Deer! FOUND!! Arthur and Guinevere's Nest! What Happened to the Ms? The Sandhills Are Back in Town and John Blakeman on the Possible Nest Move of Mom and T2 of Philadelphia

There are a few unbelievably beautiful white and albino deer wandering the fields and forests of Wisconsin, between 60 and 75 of them.   These deer are thought to be the largest number of these creatures in the world.  And though it is the largest in the world it is a very small gene pool indeed.  Only one in 200,000 deer even carry the gene let alone manifest it. 
And the reason there are this many here, if you can call it many, is because the Native American tribes in the area hold them as sacred and did not and do not kill them.  Plus it is against the law for anyone to hunt them currently.

WELL....the farsighted Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, and the Deer Czar he hired for an exorbitant amount of money have decided it might just be grand to let people hunt them.  Wouldn't you like to be one of the very few in the in crowd to have a white deer head in your living room?  

Therefore sign the petition if you can, if you cannot there are plenty of other things you can do to help save these stunning the link!

Next up, It must be Spring, though who could tell with this weather; the Sandhill Cranes are trumpeting into town in formation and are just on the verge of "dancing".

I'd heard the Sandhill Cranes calling as they flew over, as you can hear them from bijillion miles  away, but I hadn't presumed  they'd be close so  I'd gone out to look for Arthur and Guinevere, the neighboring Red-tailed Hawk pair.

I almost dropped my teeth, just as I left town and not all that many feet from the road a Sandhill pair looked to be on the verge of doing their seasonal synchronized dance as they were already moving in partial synch.  Though currently not quite time yet, when they do get going no chorus line in the world is so completely in sync as they are.

And there they were starting things off already much to the interest of the Canada Goose who littered the field they were all in.

They then noticed me and my camera in the window of the car and I thought the male might just stride over, grab my camera, and fling it to the ground much like an enraged movie star goes after a member of the paparazzi.

But instead they pulled themselves together and did the part of the dance where they stride off  in opposite directions. 
They then walked back toward each other again.

Until their heads overlap.  Note that the Canada Geese are staring...

And THEN... the female whipped around and gave somebody a piece of her mind!

                                                 END OF CRANES PART I
For whatever reason Blogger has started dropping photos again, therefore in order for you to see the full sequence, you'll need to tune in tomorrow.   Sigh....but in the meantime check out Arthur and Guinevere's nest and the wonderful John Blakeman speaking about the doings of Mom and T2 in Philadelphia.

(Guin, left, and Arthur, up right)
Yesterday we left Arthur and Guinevere going into the treeline after a ditching maneuver.  They didn't fly that far though they were being very secretive.   I was suspicious.  I scanned the trees further along in the opposite direction and BINGO,  there was their nest. 
See the nest center?  When the trees leaf out this one could be tough to watch but it is nearest Red-tailed Hawk nest to the road I've come across since we spent the season with the pair called the Ms outside Milton.

Speaking of the Ms, Sally of Kentucky sent in a comment asking if I knew what had happened after the 2008 season in which we watched their nest and saw them successfuly raise Primus and Secundus their two eyasses of the season.. 

The Ms changed nest sites after 2008.  I wasn't able to track down their new nest site due to private property difficulties but I did see the pair now and again sitting on the power poles hunting the railroad tracks, that backed the  field which held the oak they originally nested in.  I also saw them hunting birds in tandem in a spot they preferred for the purpose for several years.  They appeared to be doing just fine.

Speaking of changing nest sites, it looks as if the Red-tailed Hawk pair, Mom and T2, who have previously nested on the Franklin Institute may change their nest site to a light tower, Della Micah of, asked Ohio hawk expert John Blakeman about this as well as other hawk issues pertaining to the pair.
Below are the questions from Della Micah and John Blakeman's answers brought to my attention by Jackie Dover of Tulsa by way of Robin of Illinois...

Della Micah:  With so many questions about what is going on with the hawks this spring, I decided to check in with John Blakeman to see what answers he might have, and he kindly provided the following perspectives:

Q)  Is it still possible the hawks will return the old nest at the Franklin Institute?

A)  There is still an outside chance that residence will be taken once again at the FI nest ledge --- but red-tails are famous for doing just this - electing for no good reason to build and use a new nest not far from the previous nest.  I hope the FI pair decide to return. But that is now in real question. The next week or two will tell.

Q)  Why might the hawks do this?  Is the recent brutally cold winter a factor?

A)  Weather or past experiences probably play little or no roles. Instead, I think it's just the nature of red-tail pair bonding. The building of a new nest by the pair is not unlike a young human couple moving into a desired new house or apartment. The whole endeavor strengthens the pair bond, sense of territoriality, and all the other social accoutrements of red-tail pairing. All of this results in stronger nesting and parenting behaviors.

Q)  Why would they pick that Amtrak lights tower?

A)  One factor that might be at play, one that I've been concerned about, is the low elevation of the FI nest. It's simply not very high, compared to adjacent or nearby nest support structures. Red-tails seem to prefer higher nest sites. They can see things better up there; eyasses can fledge more easily (lots of glide time before hitting the ground), and the nest is more easily watched by the non-sitting haggard. I think this is why Pale Male has had such fidelity with the present and historic Central Park nest. It's twice or three times as high as the Central Park trees.

Q)  What is the significance of this week's intruder hawk?

A)  The haggard interloper was a migrating floater (unmated hawk), attempting to mate (not copulate). Very natural and normal in March. The same thing was seen at the Cornell nest, where a haggard floater actually went to the nest with a sitting resident formel, perhaps on an egg. Nothing good or bad will happen from these threesomes. Short incidental things.

Q)  Is it possible that even though Mom and T2 have frequently copulated this spring, they will not get it together to build a good nest and lay eggs?

A)  Nest building is a profoundly enjoyable activity of mated pairs. They are not going to forego that cavalierly. I think virtually all copulating red-tail pairs will nest, and most often have eggs. If not, there is some underlying medical condition preventing ovulation and egg formation --- which by itself would have probably stopped copulation.

Q)  And a check-in about T2's broken wing feathers on his left wing - will this be a problem for him in any way?

A)  T2 is fine. The tips of these primaries are commonly broken off during the year. The bird is very slightly disadvantaged, but it makes up for it and works around it. The feather will be replaced in the summer molt.  It is of no concern, and is a rather common occurrence, and happens most often when chasing and taking squirrels in trees, where the feather tips get caught in branches.

For the complete original posting with photos go to--,


sally said...

I sure hope the Franklin hawks don't nest in that railyard- it certainly looks like quite the difficult fledge to safety to me. Do hawks not perceive danger of vehicles? You have noted that as long as the engine is running the hawks and eagles aren't alarmed, as if the vehicle is completely not a threat.

Donegal Browne said...

It looks like a terrible place for fledglings, I agree. Adult hawks realize they can be hit by vehicles though sometimes in the heat of the chase, particularly during nesting season when they are tired, they make mistakes and are hit.

As for fledglings and vehicles, one of Pale Male's fledglings was struck and killed by a cab on Fifth Avenue. And I've had to shepherd some of of the St. John the Divine fledglings out of traffic as well. Usually this sort of thing happens when the young are fresh off the nest and haven't been able to branch up into trees yet. Actually even though the Trump Parc nest of Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. was across the street from Central park, it actually faced roof tops. Big and Little fledged onto those rooftops and it worked out quite well actually. They might as well have been up in tall trees as they branched on all sorts of man made structures up there in far more privacy than they would have had in Central Park. Which of course is full of people, dogs, and you name it. Are there any roofs that the Franklin young might fly onto if the light pole is used?

Sally said...

I am not familiar with area, I just watch from afar, but from the pictures posted on Facebook by the In-town watchers it looks hideous with nothing nearby to "branch" of fledge to. I appears the nearest is a park across the railyard and the expressway. I will see if there are any photos I can get permission to share with you.