Saturday, December 27, 2008

Drat! Indisposed.

The Water Lily by Eleanor Tauber

I've picked up a nasty bug. Be back soon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wounded Uptown Juvenile and More Holiday Hawk Whimsy

Photograph by Robert Schmunk of
I came face-to-face with a juvie red-tail as it was hunting
along Broadway between 111th and 112th Sts.
Face-to-face because at one point it landed in the middle of
Broadway to check out a miniscule bit of roadkill, and I chased
him off lest the oncoming M104 end the story.

That it was checking out whatever it was in the street made me
concerned that it was hungry and having bad luck hunting.

Pictures make me even more concerned, as in about 25-30
pix, I don't seem to have any where it is putting any weight
on its right leg.

Although I lost track of the juvie when it flew south 10 minutes
after I first saw it, it looks like it's still in the area. Pigeons in
the area are occasionally behaving like there's a predator

Robert B. Schmunk

This is worrisome, for a full report, go to Rob's website at the link above. If you're out, do keep an eye peeled for this bird. D.B.

And more Holiday Hawk Whimsy from Jackie of the Tulsa Forum

"Twas the night before Christmas, when through the Hawks' house,
Not a creature was stirring--especially a mouse!
The stockings were hung by the nest bowl with care,
In hopes that old Santa Hawk soon would be there.

The Red Hawks were settled all snug in their beds,
While rodent-and-pigeon dreams danced in their heads.
With Kay, Jay and Thunder tucked into their nest,
We Forumers readied to sign off and rest.

When all of a sudden there 'rose such a clatter,
We sprang to our monitors--What was the matter?
The Hawk Camera panned, tilted up, tilted down--
Then it zoomed out to catch something clad all in brown.

The Moon o'er Peoria glistened and threw
A luminous luster around Channel 2.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a sleigh, and a number of odd-looking deer.

With a driver we knew--it was clear from his squawk
That he plainly, it seemed, surely must be St. Hawk!
More rapid than falcons, his coursers they came;
Then he rose, and raptorally called them by name:

"Catbird, Catgirl, Socal, Sallyls, KC,
Workaholic, Observer, Trips, Bob, Wings2c,
Weeyin, Redfinch, Chinook, G-unit, Bville...."
(Others, off for a while--in our hearts, with us still.)

As dry leaves that before TU's Hurricane fly,
When they meet with a TV tow'r, mount to the sky,
So up to the Hawks' Nest the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of goodies, and Santa Hawk, too.

He was dressed in brown feathers, from talon to beak,
With a crimson-trimmed tail--an RT, so to speak.
Santa unpacked the bundle of presents he had
For a good little hawklet, her mom and her dad.

His eyes--how they twinkled, excitedly glowed!
His wings were like eagles', his feet, talon-toed.
His droll little beak was drawn up like a bow,
And the fluff on his belly was white as the snow,

With some speckles of rust--a right jolly old hawk;
And we typed Forum posts full of raptorous talk.
A blink of his eye and a flick of his tail
Prompted many a posting, IM and email--

Plus some queries to Donna for her expert touch,
'Bout his color, his size, his behavior and such--
"Is it usual for Redtails to fly after dark?
Do they do this at all o'er New York's Central Park?"

Santa squawked not a word, but went straight to the nest,
And he filled all the stockings with things hawks like best.
Then laying a talon aside of his beak,
Flapping once, flapping twice--he sped off like a streak.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a screech,
And away they departed from KJRH.
But we heard his "kree-eee-ar" ere he flew out of sight--
"Happy Christmas to Forum Friends ALL--and Goodnight!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Good Crow Wenceslas, Thunder's Christmas, and Tennessee Slurry...Bah Humbug!

Good Crow Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen

When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel

When a poor Crow came in sight

Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder poor Crow, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear them thither."

Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Crows and men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing

And a Merry Christmas as well!
**************************************************************************** And another Merry Christmas from Thunder, Kay, Jay, Jackie and the Tulsa Hawkwatchers!

The stockings were hung by the nest bowl with care.

Thunder's Christmas Wish List
Original photo by Catgirl of the Tulsa Forum
Jay's Yuletide transformation.
Next up --Just in case we considered getting comfy, complacent, to say nothing of merry there is always something like this--in from R. of Illinois...

J. Miles Carey/Knoxville News Sentinel
Clean” coal ash flood may make new Superfund site Posted on December 23, 2008 by Brian Angliss under energy, environment [ Comments: 1 ]

A major environmental disaster occurred yesterday, but few news outlets outside Tennessee appear to be covering it: 2.6 million cubic yards (about 525 million gallons) of fly ash sludge poured out from behind an earthen dike at the Kingston coal plant (source: The Tennessean). S&R’s Wendy Redal blogged about the October, 2000 Massey Energy coal slurry flood earlier this month - this flood is bigger, and while it’s more solid, it still covers 400 acres in up to 6 feet of toxic coal ash.

The Young Tompkins Square Formel Does an Aerial Show and The Horvath's Tend a Lead Poisoned Eagle

Photograph by Francois Portmann,
A tremendous sequence from Francois Portmann who said," The Thompkin's Square Park resident female juvy put on an aerial show yesterday despite the cold!"
(Boy, he can say that again! Scroll down and feast your eyes. D.B.)

Photograph by Francois Portmann
I think this is the Norma Desmond shot.

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Or is it this one?

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Yet another contender for Sunset Boulevard.

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Wow, that girl can really fly!

And from the superman of wildlife rehabilitators, Bobby Horvath--

This guy came in last week. Immature male shot, still has pellet in abdomen. Also suffering from mild lead poisoning from eating something killed with lead shot. Its duck hunting season now and he was found at the beach nearby legal hunting area . He was scavenging on undesirable fish caught and left on the beach by the surfcasters for over a month which probably saved his life .

We found pellets in the cage as well after he defecated . In addition he has an unknown sticky substance totally covering his feathers leaving him only partially flighted at the moment. Numerous baths in Dawn Dish Washing Liquid didn't have much affect so we soaked the feathers with warmed cannola oil first, leaving it on for 15 minutes and then a Dawn wash after and it worked much better.

I tried catching him a few times but he could glide from the tops of dune to dune while I had to run up and down them to no avail. Finally on the day I caught him he actually flew about 100 feet out 3 feet above the water till exhausted and ended up plummeting into and treading water just to keep his head above. I was able to net him when he got close to shore.

We did x rays, blood work , and a fecal sample so far. He's eating now and perking up and much stronger than last week. We hope his recovery is full and will be released upstate in an eagle wintering area where he can mingle with many others of his kind .

Bobby Horvath

P.S.- If anyone knows hunters with extra deer meat our patient would be appreciative. We already have his rodent fish menu covered.

Thanks Bobby! And once again, lead rears it's ugly head.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Death in the Family

Eleanor Tauber, actress, photographer, poet, Early Birder, hawkwatcher, stalwart blog contributor, Pale Male Irregular, confidant to some, and friend of many, passed away at Calvary Hospital on Saturday, December 2oth.

More on Eleanor's life and the memorial service as things progress.

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rabbit Tracks and Bunny Trails, Red-tails Taking Fruit to Nests? What Is The World Coming To?

Photograph by Francois Portmann
As you may remember, the Tulsa Hawk Forum was quite surprised to see that suddenly a pair of Sycamore fruit had appeared in Kay and Jay's nest on the KJRH TV tower and they wondered what was going on. I said, I'd not seen it happen here before but that certainly didn't mean it hadn't. And then photographer Francois Portmann wrote in and said he had seen it. Earlier this year, he'd seen the Houston formel carrying London Plane fruits, Sycamore's being a relative with similar if larger fruit, to the nest.

Now why were they carrying them around? They're carnivores so they're not a snack. Did they want the fluff inside that poofs up and helps the seeds travel? Were they just hangers and what the bird was really interested in was the twig to which they were connected?

Photograph by Francois Portmann

And into the nest she goes with her bounty. I wondered if it were Kay who placed the fruit in the Tulsa nest but no one saw it done so we don't know. But we do know it was the formel in this case. They, I would think, would be in particular interested that the bowl of the nest be soft and comfy. But exactly what she did with it we don't know. But the next time, I expect we'll all be watching quite carefully in an attempt to decipher the Sycamore Fruit Mystery.

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Karen asked if these Mourning Doves might be doing the foot warming trick on the heated bath that the Crow had undertaken on my bowl the other day. And that is exactly what they are doing. Friend and Doorstep are extremely partial to using the bowl as a warmer. Just put your feet on that nice warm crockery and then fluff your feathers over the tops and I imagine it is downright cozy in comparison to standing around in snow.

Photograph by Karen Anne Kolling
Karen mentioned that she hadn't seen a Starling over her way in quite sometime. Mine here in Wisconsin have all gone as well. She also noted that like the Starling quite a few of her birds were alternating putting a leg up to keep them warm.

And might that not be a wee Song Sparrow sheltering beside the bulk of the Starling?
The snow is about a foot and a half deep in the feeding area. The rabbits have come and in order to get to the food they have dug down creating a kind of ditch at the ends of all the bunny trails. When I first looked out the rabbit was within the ditch. He then went to shelter under the table. When he thought I was no longer looking he warily looked out and gave two hops.

Then having spied me, he took off up the most used trail for crossing the expanse of the yard to the tree. I'd been going out to fill the bath and put out food, when I saw Rabbit, so I'd waited. But as he was gone, I went to pick up the water bucket.

Pye, who was but two feet from her own bowl of fresh water had decided that the bucket water looked more thirst quenching somehow. Actually I have this sort of affection for running or water they've watched run before drinking, in stray cats before. I've always suspected that they may have drunk bad water and some point and are hoping to avoid it in the future. So I waited for her to finish and then went to check things outside.

As I said the snow is deep, and it shows in the rabbit tracks. Inside of the little upside down exclamation points of tracks in a few inches or crusted snow, they've quite changed.

Strangely the new prints look like an abstract print of a full bunny complete with ears. The "ear" part is actually the drag of the front paws on the take off of the strong back legs on the hop.

This is a trail that originated with the squirrels in the daytime. It drifted over and then the rabbits began to use it and here the tracks mingle in both directions. Rabbits don't traverse open areas if they can help it. Therefore their trails go from bush to open ground to a tree to open ground and on to the next obscuring feature. In fact, the more the trails are used, the deeper they get and the more obscured the rabbits become from at least ground predators.

Here is the the fork in the trail from the tree. The path splits to go right and left around the barrel. Both paths then remeet at the food ditch a few feet round the barrel. This is the left fork.

And the right fork.

And here is the rabbit created food ditch which, as it is terribly snowy and cold, I've put some extras out for the animals beyond just seed.

This was done last night. I saw one squirrel today, the others were curled up in their dreys, I suspect. The juncos fed early in the day and then disappeared again, as did the sparrows.

Donna Browne

Coming up next time--John Blakeman answers my questions as to whether it was sight or sound that led yesterday's snow-hopping Red-tail to the rodent she captured. And some winter birds of New York.