Friday, June 12, 2015

The Eldest Sheep Meadow Eyass Plays with Her Eyes and Everyone Is Remarkably HOT!

On Tuesday when I visited the Sheep Meadow Hawk Family no one was up out of the nest until food arrived.   But on Wednesday, with no parent in attendance at that given moment, Eldest was sitting the rim of the nest playing with his eyes.

Obviously young hawks are looking at whole new world but they also have an amazing set of eyes they have to get a handle on before they try whizzing around the world on wings.
If you watch a young hawk you will see that they are "playing with their eyes".  Basically testing what their eyes can do depending on what they are doing.
Therefore spending time outside the limits of this particular nest bowl brings forward a whole new world which can be viewed in all sorts of ways if you have hawk eyes.

Those of you who have watched eyasses before may have been initially mystified by the fact that young hawks will intentionally have the vision of one eye obscured by a tree trunk or a wall and go back and forth between one eye vision and their two eye vision.  I'm assuming this has something to do with depth perception which is an extremely important tool particularly for landings.  Something to get a handle on as early as possible.

Eyasses also will turn their heads upside down and look at things.  It looks very strange but that too has to do with getting a handle on their specialized hawk vision.

When I returned later that day, a little after 7PM, it was  quite dark under the trees, the eyasses were out of sight in the nest and a parent was  in attendance.

Today when I dropped in on the Sheep Meadow Hawks, yet again someone, I'm betting Q2,  was visible above the nest rim and no adult was in attendance.  This youngster wasn't completely out and sitting on the rim for the best view but her feathers were less mature so it was not the same eyass as yesterday.

Today was hot and humid.  In fact it was more than a bit nasty out there and the eyasses revealed their discomfort.  They panted.
 And then they panted some more.
There is a disturbance down there.  Someone else attempting to get a breath of fresh air?

I get the binoc look.  An expression that is downright "hawky".
And once again there is a disturbance "downstairs".  Soon in this weather,  they will all three be tussling for positions on the nest rim.
While back at Pale Male and Octavia's nest at 927 Fifth Avenue, which has all manner of positives, it also is a nest positioned on hot metal pigeon spikes, backed by baking masonry, and with only a wisp of shade, if that, in the heat of the day.

 By 5:39PM today with the air temperature in the 90's,  Pale Male and Octavia's eyasses had been baking in the sun for some hours.  When they were young tender eyasses and not about to be fledgling Red-tail Hawks, Octavia spent a good part of her day mantling one or all of them from the sun.  

In fact "Little", the eyass closest to this view with his head crammed up into the tiniest bit of shade under the cornice and the last to be hatched eyass,  hates the heat and has spent a good part of  his eyasshood in a similar position to that he is currently taking. Though in his salad days Octavia often had a wing over him in mantle as well.

Never fear though, by 8:15 PM  No one was skulking any longer and Large had managed to get in any number of excellent bouts of flapping. It won't be long before she's off the nest.

Pale Male and Octavia both,  have begun to make any number of fly bys of the nest to give her the idea and to tempt her into making the jump.

Much more to come...always.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

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