Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Flash the Third Eyass is Off Pale Male's Nest plus Why Was Stormin' Norman, the Male at the Cathedral, Dead and Now He's Alive?

Photo courtesy of Rob Schmunk http://morningsidehawks.blogspot.com/

Stella Hamilton reports that the third eyass has fledged off Pale Male and Octavia's Nest!!!

 Stella's report will be posted as soon as I excise it from my email...but in the meantime...

Sally of Kentucky asked, I paraphrase, what is the deal with Norman, Isolde of the Cathedral Nest's mate.  First we hear that he was dead and now he seems to be back.

First off though, before we get to that, Rob Schmunk posted an update on how Norman is doing.  A few days ago he was found grounded.  He was weak and very thin.  Off he went to the Horvath's wonderful care at WINNOR.   

Norman had an infection which was keeping him from eating.  As of yesterday Rob reports news from the Horvaths, that Norman is much better as he is capable of taking on whole prey at a meal.  Though he still needs to get his stamina back so he'll be staying on another week at WINNOR.

(And as wildlife rehabilitators may not be paid for their services and exist on  donations, here is the address if you'd like to lend a financial hand for all the wonderful service the Horvath's do for wildlife and Norman in particular. Tell them Norman says thank you.

202 N. Wyoming Avenue
N. Massapequa, N.Y. 11758)

Now back to Sally's question, and the Norman dead/Norman alive issue.

After the hurricane that hit New York City, a hawk was found dead in Isolde and Norman's territory.  Isolde had been seen but Norman had not been so it was assumed that the dead hawk was Norman.

Let me also say that Norman's coloration and type of physique are relatively common in Red-tailed Hawks.  I always identified Norman by his behavior, the fact he was in the territory during breeding season and was hanging out with Isolde plus his personal idiosyncrasies.

When attempting to figure out if one of a pair has died and a new mate arrived, Norman's common plumage was no help. Nor the fact that of course a new mate would be in the territory and familial with Isolde.  

What made Norman or actually Stormin' Norman identifiable was his breakneck no holds barred bring 'em ALL ON behavior.

So  when breeding season was warming up, a hawk with common plumage showed up in Isolde's company.  As the assumption was that Norman was dead, the next assumption was that Isolde had just chosen a new mate who looked similar to Norman.

But some of us began to realize that Isolde's "new mate" behaved very much like her old mate Norman.  For instance, Tristan Isolde's previous mate was the perfect experienced Dad.  He always did the last feeding of the day so Isolde got a break.  He'd bring food and stay awhile.  He and Isolde would watch the eyasses together for awhile some days.  Tristan would often be visible keeping watch on the territory from across the street from the nest.  Tristan was a very calm stealth hunter much like Pale Male.

Norman on the other hand was a young boffo hawk who liked a good fight.  His hunting technique was more of a scare all the pigeons up in the air and see if he could grab one.  Then he'd come by the nest and almost literally throw prey in on a fly-by.  Then he'd disappear to go patrol the perimeters of  the domain again.  

Now Norman has settled down to some extent, for instance, if you look at the above picture you'll note that Norman has a feather on his beak which may mean he actually prepared the prey before delivering it but he still acts like Norman.

  Many hawks, and Norman is no exception, tend to favor certain perches within their territory, personal hunting behaviors, and favorite roosts.

After mulling over the look and behavior of the current haggard mated with Isolde, it is a case of... he looks like Norman, he acts like Norman, I'm reasonably sure it is Norman, therefore  I'm calling him Norman.

Tomorrow, Wednesday , we're trying for updates as they happen from the field from Samantha Browne-Walters at the Cathedral Nest.  

With Isolde attempting to wrangle and feed three youngsters on her own, Sam decided she should go uptown and make sure all is well with them.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne


sally said...

Thank you! Glad that Norman seems to be with us after all, and glad that he was found and was able to be cared for. I hope Isolde has been able to hunt and care for the nestlings on her own. At least the nest is in a very protected space.

Donegal Browne said...

Very good point about the nest Sally.

The Cathedral is a huge jungle gym for fledglings. The crossing of the street to get to Morningside Park while unflighted isn't stellar but often that isn't an extremely attractive option compared to eating peacefully on the Cathedral without being mobbed by Catbirds. Catbird mobbing being an oft repeated experience in the Park itself.