One of Pale Male's fledglings atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Long time Hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton said a few days ago that Pale Male and Octavia's fledglings looked like they were going to end up in the Metropolitan Museum area earlier than in past seasons. And indeed they have as ordinarily they have begun to hunt a bit for themselves when they start hanging around the Met. Indeed they are earlier as they aren't near ready to even do a little hunting on their own as yet.
Fledgling perches on the back of a bench and completely ignores the photographer while looking for a possible meal delivery.
But the begging and the photographer attract a crowd. Does fledgling freak out about the humans? Nope. This is a Central Park fledgling who is as utterly used to humans as he is to trees.
He just keeps begging, attempting to get Pale Male or Octavia to come up with the chow.
Which does happen of course. Pale Male cruises in and drops off of half a pigeon.
Which the fledgling eats and then has a rest up on on a branch.
Sally of Kentucky left a comment which I've transferred to the main page. She wanted to know if Octavia was missing?
There are three fledglings in the nest this season and if you think about it all three have seldom if ever been together in sight range of humans since they came off the nest. And very rarely are there three groups of watchers, one for each flegling at the same time, either.
Octavia, this was also the case with Lola, is not nearly as human habituated as Pale Male. We get the feeling that Pale Male's mates are as we watch the nest for months without the female appearing to be the least bit shy of people. But we look at her with binoculars, or scopes, or through long camera lenses, she is actually far enough away from humans not to mind them in the least. When the fledglings are off the nest and a food drop off needs to be done, the females tend to feed the fledgling or fledglings who have not attracted a crowd. Pale Male is the one who does drop offs which need to be done in plain sight of people.
When hawkwatching in Central Park, we hawkwatchers quite often see Pale Male hunting, making kills, and eating in plain sight. His mates on the other hand are not seen doing these things nearly as often. Hence the same is true when it comes to tending Fledglings.
Pale Male's mate, in this case Octavia, is there doing her job she is just far more stealthy about it.
I first got onto this phenomena when watching the Trump Parc nest of Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte. When Big and Little, their two fledglings, finally came off the rooftops and into the park, Charlotte tempted Big into a fenced in construction area of Central Park where she trained and fed her. And the area was large enough that where ever you chose to stand at the fence, you might be able to hear Big beg but Charlotte was quite stealthy about her training and drop offs and they occurred out of our sight.
On the other hand, Junior and Little did whatever they were doing in plain sight all the time. Which would you choose to watch?
This may be a gender issue of Red-tailed Hawks, or just that Pale Male as we know is very human habituated and Junior who is thought to be be Pale Male's son and therefore a male that was raised on an urban nest and trained in Central Park has no issues exposing himself to watchers either.
I can remember sitting on a park bench watching Little walk up to a man sleeping on a bench who had set a paper bag of something at his feet before succumbing to sleep. Well Little just walked right up to him and started pulling at the bag next to the man's feet, I suspect out of curiosity, got bored with it and then walked away. All the while only inches from the sleeping man's feet and not many feet from where I sat on the bench.
I get sporadic reports of Octavia being seen very briefly in the park with about the same regularity that other females were seen at this point in the process. So yes it is conceivable that Octavia might be missing for a day or two without anyone taking notice but I think, as does Stella, that this season is similar to the others and Pale Male's mate is out there but she is the typical stealthy crafty female that Pale Male picks, and there is absolutely nothing to worry about.