Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kung Fu, Shadow, and Doe Take the Big Step, Thunder Update, and the Queens Fledglings

Remember Carol Vinzant, the wildlife rehabilitator who sent in the photo of the baby squirrel eating upside down while in her pocket?

Well, here are three of her charges, Kung Fu, Shadow, and Doe. They were snoozing away just a few days ago without a care in the world. Little did they know that the time was about to come, as they're all grown up now, when they'd be released to make their own way in the world of a carefully chosen city park, complete with squirrel house.

Carol opens the door of the carrier at the base of a tree.

She said," The squirrel release went pretty well, though I’m still nervous about the timid squirrel Doe.
The bold squirrel Kung Fu had no trouble jumping out of the carrier and climbing up the tree. Shadow quickly followed him, then did a crazy spastic dance between the ground and tree, which scared away a robin. Doe was very shy about coming out and eventually just went to hide in the bushes.
(This is where the photo of the squirrel house would be if Blogger would load it, but it won't . Just like it won't load the continuation of the photos of the Gracklery started yesterday. Sigh. D.B.)

One of Carol's charges looking like he'd been hanging upside down in a tree in the park all his life.
You can see the slideshow story here:

Carol Vinzant
207 East 5th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979 - 5327

Remember the night screen captures of the Red-tails in Tulsa flying all around in the dark? They were captured by Donna Johnson who sent some Thunder news today for all of us to enjoy.
Hello Donna,
Robin asked me to email you about Thunder on the KJRH website. It sounds like they had quite a day. They give very graphic play by plays on the site of Thunder’s every move almost daily and today he got on the pole that the camera is attached to and put on quite a show. It just so happened that the webmaster was watching and when Thunder disappeared off screen he grabbed a cameraman and audio equipment and went outside. They saw Thunder on the tower way below the nest and taped him being attacked by a small bird. They also posted video of Thunder’s show and then her flight away. They followed her flying around and landing in some trees by the river. Then to top it off, they got another video of Kay, Jay and Thunder all in the nest area eating. There are 3 new videos in the upper right hand corner of the web page located here:
The 3 new videos are titled "Thunder comes under attack from a rather determined little bird ", "Thunder flies! Great closeups, followed by a few moments of her in flight as she headed towards the river" &"Shortly after Thunder's flight, all three in the nest for lunch "
I thought this would be some great information and videos to share with everyone. I hope you have time to check it out.
Thank you,

And thank you, Donna!

Thank goodness Carol's newly released squirrels aren't in the same park as this beautiful eyass from Mama and Papa's nest in Queens. I hate it when animals we know eat other animals we know. Even though we know everyone has to eat after all, but still...

This was the first fledge off the Queen's nest. She's giving something the eye, possibly her two younger siblings who have also taken the leap. The three youngsters from that nest are doing very well and learning their lessons in good time to take care of themselves this winter.

And this would be the spot for the photo of the youngest fledgling Jeff Kollbrunner sent, if only blogger would get a clue. Double sigh.
Donegal Browne
There's always tomorrow, right?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Houston Nest

Hi Folks,

Has anyone been down to the Houston nest in the last few days? If so, get in touch.

New blog post up, as usual, later this evening.


Pale Male and Lola's Eggs: Linda Maslin Makes an Offer, Plus The Gracklery

So close and yet so far, the dilemma of how to gain a timely egg retrieval?
Today I received an email from long time Pale Male watcher Linda Maslin.
I have been following the saga of Pale Male for at least 10 years. I am very upset that the eggs will not be retrieved on time for the important tests to be done. I would be willing to donate money if others would to have NYC Audubon hire people to retrieve them. Can this be done?

Linda Maslin
Blue Bell, PA
Linda, excellent question and I don't know the answer but I think it's feasible. There are five factors that I know would be necessary currently for someone to arrange. As to the sixth I would be overjoyed to donate my time and equipment to work toward an egg retrieval timely enough for a diploid test and DNA samples. As to the needs:
1. The continued cooperation of 927 Fifth Avenue to allow access.
2. The continued cooperation of NYC Audubon to liaison with 927, supply
spotters, and borrow a ladder.
3. Permission of the required agencies in charge of migratory bird's eggs.
4. The ability to finance the job, for insurance and the necessary
tool for retrieval from the roof which is similar to a telescoping handled basket fruit picker. .
5. A person to collect, disperse, and be in charge of donations.
6. I have the harness and rigging that I used when I lay on the roof to
photograph the nest. There is no reason the same position, equipment,
and set up couldn't be used as it was safe and allowed for both hands to be
free to manipulate a camera. Therefore both hands could be free to
manipulate the retrieval device.
Anyone game?
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...well sort of--Bloggers at it again.
This afternoon I looked out the bedroom window, which faces a hedge, and discovered a Gracklery. More than a dozen immature Grackles had all somehow been convinced to group in the hedge as opposed to following their parents around begging. Do young Grackles take an afternoon nap? Did the adults have to do any emergency mobbing of the local Cooper's Hawk.? I've no idea but there all the youngsters were.

Blogger has decided not to upload any more photos for the moment so the rest of the Gracklery photos must wait for Blogger to behave. Here are the last three of the sequence---more to come eventually.

3:19:00pm The gapper. He doesn't make a sound, nor jiggle his wings while the parents aren't in sight. He just sits stock still with his mouth wide open and waits. It is a singular technique amongst the group.

3:27:35pm Grackle fledgling is in a state, but then again they're almost always in a state at the sight of a parent.

3:28:09pm Dad forages back and forth while the fledgling wails.
3:28:33pm And in goes the food.
4:06:38pm I discovered today that House Finch are particularly fond of the seed heads of dandelions.

4:18:50pm Toupee Goldfinch looks as if his rug has fallen even further into his eyes than usual.

4:21:25pm Doorstep Dove sits on the edge of the bath warming her feet.

4:23:20pm Robin having banished Doorstep goes about his own bath but keeps a wary eye that he himself not be banished.

Donegal Browne

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pale Male's Egg Retrieval Postponed and Things Noticed at Evening

8:16pm What may look like a inconsequential puddle to us, is a lovely vernal pond if you're a Chipping Sparrow in the market for an evening bath.

Flowers on the verge of the trees.

A jumble of greenery reclaiming fallen wood.

Unfortunately this gentleman backs his trailer into the woods and squashes it all without a second thought.

Including the grouping of False Solomon Seal and so much more.

8:37:13pm It is so near dark, at first I can't see what the Robin is collecting near Chippie's little vernal pond. Therefore I surmise he is collecting worms for a nearby fledgling.

But it turns out not to be the case. Look at his muddy chest. He is collecting grass swaddled in mud for a new nest. Off he goes with a beak full.

Then back again with another bit of grass to coat with mud. I'd always wondered exactly how they did it.

Then across the way, a huddle of fungi.

A stone sits in a ring of cuddling sand.

The ants have chosen it to roof their tunnel entrances. Left you'll see two which haven't made it to bed quite yet.

Earlier in the day, Dad Grackle and two Fledglings arrived at the feeding station. While the first attempted to eat the bolts holding the glider together, the second harried Dad.

Note how Dad always turns his head to the side to insert the row of seeds within his beak.

Pokes his beak in and shoves the seeds out with his tongue.

Then stacks more in, and again the side, and the slide in.

And again,

And again to the side,

And the slide of seeds.

And it starts all over again.

A Red-winged Blackbird crouches on the grain separator for the attack.

And hardly to be missed, the small male Downy Woodpecker drums on a hollow trunk making it sound like a kettle drum. He then moves his head swiftly from center to left, center to left, center to left as if waiting for something to appear, and then the drum begins apace, his beak a blur of blows. Then once again the center to left to center to left--waiting.
Ah yes, waiting. Today, Thursday, was to be the day the window washer was to retrieve the eggs from Pale Male and Lola's nest for we hoped a diploid test to check for fertility and we'd hoped a DNA sample. But it's not to be. The window washer doesn't feel comfortable about retrieving the eggs, therefore it must wait until later in the summer when once again a swing stage is rigged and work on the facade begins. This does not bode well for the testing we'd most like to see happen.
Donna Browne

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

John Blakeman on Pale Male and Lola's Eggs, The Three Fordham Eyasses, and Bullying for Better Male Behavior as a Factor for Bigger Females

Photographs of the Fordham nest by Christopher Lyons
Hopping and flapping is becoming the favorite behavior except of course for eating.

Look closely to the right, yes there's the third eyass popping her head up above the twigs.

The most mature eyass stalks and eyes the photographer.

One looks and one preens and then...

...something catches their interest acutely. Perhaps a parent and they hope there's food on the way?

With the announcement that NYC Audubon has arranged for egg retrieval at Pale Male and Lola's nest, and with high hope that a diploid test will be run, and that samples of DNA procured, a few words from John Blakeman on the matter--


It will be so helpful -- and now, so timely -- to retrieve the unhatched eggs at the 927 nest, those of Pale Male and Lola. With warm weather, it's getting late, and the eggs may begin to chemically degrade or even rot (bacterial degradation).

It would be so helpful to know if the eggs were fertile, if they had been the result of normal copulation. This would affirm Pale Male's fertility, and discount the explanation that he's now reproductively over the hill, unable to sire offspring.

Yes, Pale Male is getting up in years. He's older than most wild Red-tails. But none of his observed behaviors have diminished in any measure. He hunts with full alacrity, perches and flies with full speed, power, and duration, helps with nest refurbishment in a normal manner, and continues to copulate with Lola numerous times each day before eggs are laid. Behaviorally, he's still quite The Man.

But is he "shooting blanks," as it were? Only a proper analysis of Lola's eggs can now answer that ever more important question.

Eggs have been retrieved in the past. Unfortunately, as I understand it, they were analyzed only for certain pesticides, on the presumption that recent reproductive failures at 927 Fifth Ave had been chemically induced. No pesticides were discovered (not to be confused with the modern coagulant rodenticide poisonings that recently zapped the three Riverside eyasses).

If possible, two things need to be done with retrieved 927 eggs. They should be carefully dissected by someone familiar with egg development and embryonic or chick tissues and organs. Can any primordial or developed tissues be discovered in Lola's eggs? Let's hope so. (Well, let's really FIND OUT. We've been hoping now for a long time.)

Secondly, DNA samples from each egg should be retrieved and archived. DNA samples, from known, molted feathers from adults, and DNA from retrieved, unhatched eggs (or in the case of the Riverside eyasses, from the dead carcasses) should be gathered and genomically characterized. From a library of DNA samples from as many NYC-area Red-tails as possible over the next several years, the "relatededness" of all of these birds could be discerned.

Is there any significance to this, beyond the typical, warm attributions of "family" among the NYC hawks? Decidedly. Are the Red-tails now breeding in greater New York City all closely related, descended from Pale Male or a few other patriarchs (or matriarchs)? Or, have these birds drifted in from all over the East Coast, being essentially unrelated?

If they are closely related, there is the prospect of inbreeding-caused genetic and behavioral problems. The aberrant reproductive behaviors of the former Trump Parc pair, which has nested further into the urban hardscape canyons of typical Manhattan (apparently unsuccessfully this year), may be a result of this genetic relatedness. Personally, I'm not at all excited by the possibility that a good number of NYC or Manhattan Red-tails might be direct, recent descendants of Pale Male. For human monarchies, that sort of thing makes good stories and legends (if not good biology). For wildlife, genetic isolation is a long-term prescription for disaster.

So, the collection of DNA samples from NYC Red-tails would be an important scientific effort, providing some of the biggest and most complex parts of the urban Red-tail puzzle. Right now, we've got this jigsaw puzzle nicely laid out on the table. About three-quarters of the picture are pretty much filled in. We now know what the urban Red-tails hunt, what they feed to their eyasses, how many eggs they are able to produce, where the nests are, how they are built, and when most of these activities occur.

But we don't know if the birds are all related. That could tell us if the population is genetically isolated and open to inbreeding difficulties in coming generations.

There are a host of other unknowns that could be investigated, but they are too lengthy and detailed to be related here. Checking the cells of the 927 eggs, to see if chromosomally they are diploid, meaning that they were fertilized, would be a good start. Getting some DNA from the eggs would be a further step, allowing the first pieces of the genetic map of NYC Red-tails to be constructed.

--John Blakeman
(I'm hoping against hope that both a diploid test and samples for DNA testing will be possible this season. D. B.)

Pam Greenwood of GMU, in a former post weighed in with a theory for reverse sexual dimorphism which she derived from observations of Bald Eagles and now she's sent an example of the behavior in Eagles--

Hi Donna

Here are some observations from the Blackwater weblog bearing on the "female as bully" idea. The eagle father on that nest this year was a very poor provider and there was quite a bit of discussion about it. This was the source of my claim that female eagles have been seen to bully the male if he doesn't do his job.

Pam Greenwood

"Well, as many of our cam watchers know, we had previously been worried about the small amount of food that the father eagle had been bringing to the nest while the parents were incubating the eggs. Today the father eagle did not bring a meal to the nest, despite the fact that the mother and new chick were counting on him to do so. The mother eagle appeared to do most of the incubating — although it’s possible the father did perform that duty some of the time, because he has shown that he will sit on the nest with the eggs. But beyond that, he was not at the nest much.

The mother eagle fed our new chick some pieces from the leftover item in the nest (what we think was possibly a small mammal), but clearly the mother needs the father eagle to be the provider right now, and it’s still a mystery why the father is not hunting more. We could guess that the father is not healthy or has some kind of physical problem, but we did see him bring a fish to the nest not that long ago, and he’s obviously feeding himself, so we gather he is capable of hunting.

The main problem now is that the mother cannot do both the nest-sitting and the hunting, mainly because eaglets cannot control their own body temperatures for the first few weeks of life. So while the mother is capable of hunting, she would need the father to sit on the chick and egg while she is gone.

So the mother has a few options: 1) She can wait and hope the father starts hunting; 2) She can try to get the father to sit on the nest, and then go hunting herself; 3) She can try to use her bigger size and bully the father into doing more of his job. We do know from a story our ranger told me that during incubation a few weeks ago, he saw the mother eagle leave the Eagle Cam nest and go harass the father, who was perched at the Osprey Cam nest. The result was he returned to the Eagle Cam nest and began incubating.

Mother eagles harassing males into performing their nest duties is not uncommon. Canadian biologists saw a female eagle calling and calling to a male who would not return to the nest. Eventually she flew at him, and using her bigger size, almost knocked him off his perch. He then went back to the nest and took over incubation."

I have to admit, I like it as a possible contributing factor to large female raptors. Certain behaviors in raptors don't seem to be as chemically imprinted as one might suspect they would be after observing their smaller songbird counterparts who seem to be often more hard wired when it comes to nest behavior.
Donegal Browne

Blakeman on Eyasses Returning to the Nest and Red-tailed Hawk Night Flying

See the phantom Red-tail flying through the night skies of Tulsa?

And another. (Images courtesy of KJRH TV Tulsa)
Many emails have come in with questions and comments concerning Thunder's penchant for returning to the nest so frequently and for more information concerning Red-tailed hawks flying around a night.
Here's a sample and Red-tail expert John Blakeman's opinions on the matters at hand.


Catbird a Tulsa Cam watcher tells me that last evening, Thunder went off the nest at around 8pm, the station turned the cam around for a view down the street. As there are cam watchers 24/7 several swear they saw RTs flying around in the dark. Also sometime between 2 and 4 am Thunder inexplicably reappeared on the nest. Do you know anything about RTs flying around at night? I did read something the other day about creatures we thought were completely diurnal will shift depending on food availability. And I have seen them shift for short hops with what seems like reason after dark/ Then Rob Schmunk of reminded me that last season he observed the formel on the Queen’s cam leaving at night.
Best, D

Well, here's just another example of where dedicated non-biologist hawkwatchers can so significantly contribute to our understanding of the natural history of this great species.

Do Red-tails fly around at night? Well, of course not. I've had many a trained and acclimated Red-tail on my fist at night (I'm a Red-tail falconer, as many know), and many a time I've tried to discern the hawks' ability to see at night. My best estimation is that they can only see about as well as we can. From my experiences, I've always presumed that when the sun goes down, a Red-tail just better stay put on its evening perch. If it starts flying around at night, who knows what tree branch or powerline pole or wire will it fly into and break a wing bone.

That, at least, is pretty much the conventional wisdom on Red-tail night flying.

But from accounts like the one from Tulsa, and from some personal observations of wild Red-tails I've seen, I now think it's wrong.

First, on several occasions I've seen where Red-tails have gone to roost at dusk on tall, open utility poles. I know that in calm weather, many like to spend the nights on these high, open perches.

But on a number of occasions I've noticed at dawn that the hawk had left the pole and spent the night elsewhere, almost surely in a tree, which it would have had to fly into at night. Unless it could see well enough, it could easily break a wing flying into a tree, crashing into a big branch at 35 mph.

Peregrine biologists here in Ohio discovered that a pair of Toledo falcons commonly flew at night out over Lake Erie and captured migrating birds, often mockingbirds, and brought them back to the nest in the darkness of night.

At dusk, no dickeybird feathers were in the nest. The next morning, new prey or their feathers were in the peregrine nest. The adults were radio tagged, and they could then be followed as they flew out into the pitch black darkness several miles out over Lake Erie during the spring migration.

Just how the peregrines could see the migrating songbirds is unknown, but they did. Almost surely the falcons were using portions of the spectrum higher (ultraviolet) or lower (infrared) than the visible spectrum we mammals use. We now know that Kestrels can see way up into the ultraviolet. The other falcons probably can, too.

Red-tails? We don't know. But yes, the evidence is accumulating that these birds can safely fly around at night. We know that they don't fly in migration at night, but that might be due to settled air column conditions, not a lack of night vision.

Still lots to learn about this common (but so majestic) species.

--John Blakeman

And from Betty Jo of CA,
Its almost 8:PM in Oklahoma and Thunder is back in the nest. Since she fledged at 6:00 am this is 10 full days and she's back in her bunky. What a bird! The wind seems to be trying to make her a bald bird.
Betty Jo
From Sally Seyal of Kentucky

I know you, too have been following Thunder in Tulsa. I was curious what the history of red tail eyasses fledging then returning repeatedly to the nest? Not branching, but fledging then flying back day after day to the nest like thunder is doing. I don't recall Pale Male's kids doing that, nor Jr. and Charlotte's, and this tower is HIGH from what I've been reading.

Thanks! I enjoy your site and the several others I read daily!

Sally Seyal
Prospect, KY
Sally, for the New York City point of view, I know of one season at least in which an eyass or two made it back to the Fifth Avenue nest but it's rare at that site.
To my knowledge no eyasses were able to return to the Trump Nest nor the one at the Cathedral. But not for want of trying. They just couldn't make it and their parents didn't bring food to the nest once everyone was off. They made food drops or tempted them into trees with prey.
On the other hand, the Fordham eyasses which do have a route back to the nest use it routinely. Though I don't think that they have frequented it for as many days as Thunder has.
First she stayed extra long on the nest before fledging so was strong and well grown. It is way up there after all, and now she has a regular schedule she seems to be adhering to. All Red-tails have clearly individual personalities once you watch them closely as all can see who have followed Thunder's babyhood and fledgling.

From B.J.--Please ask Blakeman if it is common for a young fledged RTH to spend as much time returning to the nest (and napping--so cute) as Thunder does?"

And now for the rural hawk perspective from Red-tail expert John Blakeman--

Frankly, I was just talking with another Ohio Red-tail expert, a falconer friend of mine, on this very issue this morning. He's trying to follow some new fledglings at a nest he's watching.

Actually, neither of us have really seen this return to the nest activity in typical rural nests in trees. But we agreed, after pondering the observations of the nest-returning behaviors of the Tulsa brancher, that they probably occur rather frequently. In tree nests, it's just not so obvious. In open, nowhere-else-to-go-nests like the Tulsa TV tower, this behavior is obvious and clearly observed. With tree nests in forest edges, this fly-out and fly-back behavior is obscured by all the vegetation.

But the brancher surely has a behavioral attachment to the nest associated with getting fed. That's where all of its food has appeared. So when it flies out and gets hungry, it will have strong propensity to fly back and see if anything edible has appeared.

That will all come to an end when the parents start dropping food somewhere else, away from the nest. But for a week or so after being able to fly a bit, this get-back-to-the-next behavior is probably very typical.

Does his suggest that I don't really know much about newly-fledged Red-tails? Yes, accurately, it does. At typical rural and wild nests, the fledglings are hard to track. They fly up into some tree foliage and can often only be heard, when crying for food. After being fed, they just sit up there and cannot be seen.

This is just another reason diligent hawk watchers at nest sites such as Tulsa and New York City can make significant contributions to an accurate understanding of Red-tailed Hawk reproduction.

--John Blakeman

Donna Browne

Monday, June 02, 2008

NYC Red-tail Fledglings! Night Flying Red-tails? First Robin Fledges, Spring Feathers, plus What's that Bird?

The nest of Mama and Papa in Queens has a fledge! In fact they have two. I spoke with Jeff Kollbrunner today, and when he arrived on site, two of the three eyasses had made their maiden flights leaving the third, on nest, and wondering where everyone had gone.

Jeff said number three, as is often the case, seemed to have more age difference from the other two than they had from each other. At any rate, Three was attempting to make up for lost time by doing a grand amount of hopping and flapping so she may well be off soon as well.

The Queen's fledglings have a prime area, an older section of a cemetery rarely visited, in which to learn their lessons. For more go to Jeff's website--

Night Flying Red-tails?

It may be the case. An update on Thunder of Tulsa from R. of Illinois--


These photos, I promise, are not of UFOs. The eye is quicker than the
"screen-capture" so the pictures do not really represent what the observers
claim they saw in the night sky. Those who saw them (two different nights,
two different observers) insist that they were hawks.

Several nights, when Thunder left the nest around 8 PM, the nest cam
operator turned the camera to face up the street to the city lights, and
left it there for hours and hours. There are observers on the Tulsa nest cam 24/7 and
even though the cam was not aimed on the nest, the observers persevered.

To my surprise, the hawk family has been sighted flying in the vicinity of
the TV station tower nest between midnight and 4 AM. I had no clue that
hawks were night fliers. Would they be hunting then?

I have attached three screen captures taken by forum observer, Donna Johnson.
She wrote "The few times they flew in closer I could tell they were hawks"
(.... when I questioned if they might have been owls). She wrote: "I got a
glimpse of something fly across the screen about 2:30 AM. I watched off and
on until about 5:00 AM and every so often they would fly across the screen." The other
observer saw them another night, but was not quick enough to get a screen capture.

Mostly, these days, Thunder sleeps wild, returns to the nest in the morning, is
fed, returns to the nest late afternoon, is fed more, takes naps, and at
about 8 PM each evening, she leaves, we presumed to go sleep in a tree, but
several days ago it was noted that Thunder had snuck back home (to the nest)
according to other observers, sometime between 12 and 4 AM.

As best I can tell from rummaging around the internet that Red-tails fly at dawn and dusk but 2:30am?

I've sent the night flying question off to John Blakeman for his take. I have seen Red-tails fly in the dark but in my observations their flights were for very specific purposes. For instance changing roost sites if they felt they'd been discovered by someone unknown to them or a quick stealth trip into a nest, seemingly hoping that the move would be undiscerned. But then I've never watched a Red-tail absolutely all night so who knows? I haven't seen them go about lengthy business in the middle of the night. Though I just read an article about species who we'd thought were completely diurnal, which when their current main food source became something that was nocturnal, they became nocturnal as well.

We may well be into another chapter in the Never Underestimate a Red-tail Category.

Speaking of that category, I'd never seen a Red-tail fish, but according to John Blakeman it's a common practice on their part in Ohio.


Red-tails here in northern Ohio, in the tributaries to Lake Erie, are known to take fish.

In an detailed study of 99 Red-tail nests in Wood County, in the flat Black Swamp area of Northwest Ohio, fish remains were commonly seen in Red-tail nests.

The most frequent fish were large goldfish, an Asian species that were dumped in Lake Erie many years ago. In aquaria, goldfish remain small. But when released into lakes and streams, they grow to 8 to 10 inches. In the spring, in May, when Red-tail adults are feeding eyasses, goldfish form schools of several hundred and migrate up rivers and ditches in splashy messes, many miles from the Lake.

Just as with colorful koi, the Ohio Red-tails easily drop down into the ditches and small streams and take the colorful goldfish.

But many goldfish offspring are not colorful. The majority that survive wild hatchings are actually the less-showy color of carp. No doubt, Red-tails visually zero in on the bright-colored fish swimming in shallow water. But the don't forego the less showy fish, either.

It's all about easy to catch protein.

And no, I'm certain that fishing Red-tails did not learn those lessons from seeing bald eagles take fish. The Ohio study was in the early 70s, when there were fewer than 10 eagle pairs in Ohio, and they were centered in the marshes along Lake Erie, some 25 miles to the NE of Wood County. Those fishing hawks never saw a bald eagle.

Red-tails are smart. They can figure out how to take prey any time it is presented, as in Central Park.

--John Blakeman

Yesterday I looked out and there was my first sighting of the season of a flegling Robin. She was looking around anxiously, I presumed, looking for Dad who didn't seem to be in view.

She saw me and flew to the goodie stump and looked back. Yes, I was still looking.

Back to anxiously searching from a higher vantage point for Dad.

Yup, I'm still watching.

Then her posture tensed and she focused. She'd seen Dad out foraging in the garden. She flew down and ran as fast as her big baby Robin feet would carry her, stopped short of running into Dad, and gaped. Dad stuck some wiggly goodie into her maw and off they went.

One thing about breeding season, suddenly the feeder is filled with gorgeous color and at 4am the bird song here is near deafening. An interesting change from screeching brakes and garbage trucks in New York City.

AND--What bird is this?
Donegal Browne