Saturday, June 27, 2015


And we're picking up where we left off yesterday, to the days when the Sheep Meadow eyasses were learning to flap.  Flapping being the first step in their current stage of life, fledgling and extended flight.

Mom has been feeding the eyasses when something grabs her attention.  I don't see anything but her eyes can see far further with clarity than a humans can.

Now she delicately feeds one of the eyasses that is in the bowl of nest.
 Now Rim Eyass appears  to be looking at whatever Mom was looking at earlier.
 Second eyass obviously tired of being scrunched down in the bowl attempts to pull herself out.

 And who or what are those feet on the right?
And here we have the possible genesis of even more human habituated hawks even than the level at which their parents are habituated to people.

Most of  the urban nests, being on buildings, have more distance between the watchers and the hawks than this one does.  That is if you  don't count the humans that may be glimpsed through the glass of windows hard upon nests. 
One and Two watch Three being fed.
 Maybe Three will drop some.
                              Mom takes a moment.
Then she eats the leftovers. It's a case of waste not, want not but it also gets rid of the "garbage".  I've seen Pale Male cleaning up after the sitting female has finished by swallowing an entire feathered pigeon wing whole.  
Mom turns back to look.  Note she has a beak full of feathers.  She may just be doing further cleaning of a pigeon or she may be eating some of the feathers as well.
Now that her crop is nicely filled and hunger no longer an issue. It's playtime and being an eyass she appears ready for anything.

            And then a very strange thing happens.   She licks her mother.  Honest.  Let me crop it down further.
          The eyass is licking her mother.  ???  Who knew?


                           Eyass is thinking something. 

                   Then the little pink tongue comes out again.                                    

                                            Now what?
  And the eyass licks Mom again.  I have never seen this happen before.
 I keep thinking that the eyass is going to nip her but not so far.  It's just licking. I never would have guessed.
Now the eyass tongue is looking kind of strange....saliva with sun shining through it perhaps?

Wait.  Do Hawks salivate?  

My African Grey Parrot does not.

According to the Ornithology Review Questions I just accessed, yes, hawks do salivate.   Salivation is triggered by eating so their mouths aren't actually wet all the time.  

It's posited that a constantly wet beak wouldn't stay healthy.

Perhaps salivation is also triggered by licking?

Oh, also note in the photograph above that Mom's head has gone up.  It appears something has attracted her attention.

This photograph was taken one second later than the previous one above.  Eyass's mouth is now mostly closed and Mom is about to take off.  
                             Mom takes off to the west.
Then if  the eyass head tilt is any indication Mom then eases somewhat to the north.
 12 seconds later Mom (Please, these hawks need names.  Every hawk has a personality, and Mom is woefully generic.) lands and calls something in the Red-tail enfamilial language .
    And she's up!  What an image of a Valkyrie she is.  There we go!  Lets call her Valkyrie until something else is chosen.  
                       She looks down with anticipation.
                                Sinks down for an even closer look.
                                                  Then zip, straight up!
                                   And zip, straight down.
    This is what she is so excited about!   And just what is that? 
It is her pale-ish mate doing acrobatic flying with prey in his talons.  And what does she do?
     Valkyrie flings herself up into the air, talons first.                    Pretty spectacular actually!
Her consort lands on the crooked branch with prey.

 But what is the prey?  I'm very open to suggestions.  It appears to possibly have a furry tail, though perhaps it is just dirty?  Or perhaps it isn't a tail at all.  Naked appendages of at least four digits?
                               He looks toward Valkyrie.
                  Then begins to prep the prey for eating.
                                         Fur or feathers?
                                      Here she comes.                

Valkyrie flies over next to her mighty hunter and ...okay the mate will be Hunter for the moment.

...and lands next  to him.  He's holding his ground.
 They take a moment looking at each other.
 And as I can only see one of Valkyrie's feet I'm kind of assuming she's attempting to grab the prey from Hunter.
 Still much more to go so I better break down  and post Part II  and get into Part III.  

D.B.  ....Happy Hawking...


Karen Anne said...

Could Mom have had some food debris where the eyeass was licking?

Strangely, blogger comments panels are now displaying text as Times Roman, at least in my browser. I am getting nostalgic for my typewriter.

Donegal Browne said...

It's certainly possible there might have been a bit of something on Mom that wasn't visible to us. If it was there it couldn't have been very large because we couldn't see it. I'll go back and heavily scrutinize the pics and look. Thanks for the idea!

Awwww....Times Roman. I know what you mean. :)