Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Today's Find.... An American Kestrel, an Annoyed Red-tailed Hawk, and the Teneke Eagles

American Kestrel   Falco sparverius   
 Kestrels very often sit on wires to hunt.   This female is scanning  marshy fields.  It's too early for crunchy grass hoppers or many other insects so she'll be possibly looking for voles or mice.

See the two black patches on the back of her neck.  Those are thought to be "false eyes" which may help ward off predators while her back is turned.

She gives me a look then goes back to scanning the fields for prey.
Eventually she heads into the field and I hope to see her kite but instead she lands in a small tree.

Kestrels are the only  North American Falcon who regularly hunts by hovering  (wing flapping) or kiting with spread wings in wind.

Remember last breeding season in NYC, Octavia, Pale Male's mate, would kite above the Fifth Avenue nest to summon her fledgling's eyes before she demonstrated her life lesson of the moment.

I find a new angle on the Eagle's nest. 
 Forgive the dreadful photograph, but when I cropped the one above down...glory be!  You can see into the nest.  Which appears to have the female sitting with Dad on the right.
Then I spot a Red-tailed Hawk who just might belong to the Seventh Fence Post Nest.  She's too far away to see much in the way of identifying marks.
Here's the Seventh Fence Post Nest. 

It looks about the same as when I was here last and no obvious occupant.   I drive a little farther, stop again, and get out.
A Red-tail flies over my head.

Adjusts her flight to the left.
Lands in the crown of an oak tree.
She gives me "the look".  

Yes, this is the female. 
 Not only will she be bigger if you see the pair together but females just look hawier than the males do. 

 Hard to explain but when you've seen lots of hawks you start to get the feel of it.

Think about Pale Male's face.  I know this sounds weird but he looks more big eyed and cuddly.  That's the difference.  

Females never look cuddly.

Speaking of which she keeps giving me "the look".

I decide to leave and find another spot to view the Eagle's nest.

  See the white head center nest?  Mom?   Where did Dad go?  


It is ever so much easier in Central Park as there is no private land so you can get much closer...and the birds don't care.  Also during raptor nesting season unless there is inclement weather there are a whole lot more eyes watching what these guys are up to.

It gives you a fighting chance.
Speaking of which,  I don't know if this is Mom or Dad Eagle but whoever it is, is staring at me fixedly.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

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