Saturday, June 06, 2009

The County M Red-tails at 6AM and Much More

This is Primus on nest right.

And if you look carefully, you'll see a bit of Secundus peeking out from behind a limb on the left.
Now see if you can figure out what is going on.

Updates from Sally of Kentucky--
And then there was one- Starr Ranch hummer gone this morning.
And Portland's Hawk jungle gym as the eyasses both branch to various places on the fire escape.

Robin of Illinois Updates the Phillie Franklin Institute Red-tail Nest
http://www.phillycom/inquirer/health_science/daily/20090604_Franklin_Institute_s_baby_hawks_lern_to_fly.htmlTwo of the three red-tailed hawk chicks on a ledge of the Franklin Institute- webcam stars that have attracted thousands of viewers since they hatched on April 16 - took their first flights yesterday, observers said. The news spread quickly through followers who have been posting comments on the Ustream.TV Web site, which shows the Franklin's cam feed. Online viewers spiked from an average of about 300 at any given time to 800 by midafternoon Overall, the site has attracted 359,011 unique visitors since it went live in early March, Ustream president Brad Hunstable said.The drama started shortly before 9 a.m. When Della Micah, a Plymouth Meeting woman who was checking the cam feed on her laptop from a sidewalk below, tweeted on the site: "I think one may have flown! Just realized only one on the nest & one on the ledge. Wow!"But the next time she looked back at the ledge, it was there. She never saw it fly. Janet Wieczerzynski, a Northeast Philadelphia woman who saw the post, grabbed her binoculars, and leaped into her car with her son, Matt. About 11:30 a.m., she saw one flap more vigorously than usual. And "all of a sudden, it just went," she said.The bird flew over their heads, across the Vine Street Expressway, then into trees. An adult flew right behind it. A second hawk flew off midafternoon."We're losing our babies," said Troy Collins, a senior vice president. "To watch three eggs, then three birds survive everything nature has to throw at them, and to see them preparing to leave the nest is truly remarkable."But they're not yet independent. Typically, once they fly - or fledge - thebirds stay very close to the nest for a few days, then nearby for about 2 1/2weeks until they are good at sustained flight, said Doug Wechsler, an ornithologist with the Academy of Natural Sciences. They start learning to hunt after about four weeks, and the parents will keep feeding them for another four weeks after that, he said.Indeed, it might be easier to hear the youngsters than see them."When the chicks are hungry, they start screaming, telling Mom and Pop, 'I'm hungry,' " said ornithologist Leonard J. Soucy Jr., founder of the RaptorTrust, a bird rehab center in Millington, N.J.He's not surprised at all the hoopla. He recalled New York's Pale Male, ahawk that 17 years ago generated worldwide attention when he took up residence on the ledge of an apartment building near Central Park. (He and his latest mate, Lola, are still there.)"It's a phenomenal thing to see something that is the epitome of a wild creature sitting outside your [urban] balcony," Soucy said.People became almost addicted, he said. "I call them hawkaholics."Glenolden's Kay Meng, who has photographed the hawks extensively, thinks people are drawn to "something that's bigger than ourselves.""For me, it's an affirmation that life is good and that there are miracles every minute of every day if you are open to them."
I actually have a wee bone to pick with Dr. Wechsler. He says that the fledglings start learning to hunt at about 4 weeks off the nest. I suppose it depends on one's definition of "learning to hunt" so perhaps not a bone after all but in NYC for instance, his young one day off the nest, Pale Male Jr., would attract the youngster's attention by circling above them until they looked up and stared. Then he would demonstrate hunting techniques for nabbing pigeons out of the sky. He even broke it down into individual steps. First the demonstration of the mid air turn. Why the last step first I'm not sure, except it was rather the most difficult move involved. Then the flushing of pigeons off the roof, the chasing of the circling pigeons with less and less speed until they were almost on him from the rear, and then the mid-air about-face. Nab.

And from Jeff Kollbrunner,, and update on the Briarwood RT Nest.
The Briarwood Queens eyass has safely fledged on June 3rd between 2pm and 6:30pm. I wanted to confirm the fledge before posting this update. This morning I was able to confirm with a rooftop visit to the nest that the nest is empty. It took about 30 minutes to find the parents this morning and a couple more hours to find the fledgling. It's doing fine on some six story apartment building rooftops to the East of its nest. It's flight appears to be strong and its landing skills very coordinated for the first full day out of the nest. Thankfully, the significant amount of razor wire and the busy Expressway in the immediate fly-out path of the nest didn't become a problem.
Best, Jeff
Donegal Browne

Friday, June 05, 2009

Secundus seems to be chewing something while it's Primus who is staring at me this time.

Secundus gives Primus the upside-down-head look.

It is warm and Primus pants.

Suddenly alert.

Ah, that's the distraction. Dad arrives with a vole.

It appears that Primus has the vole.

Secundus sees Primus eating.

He's up and staring like a vulture.

Secundus may have snatched the remaining portion of vole.

Primus goes for a retrieve.

They both pant.

Primus stares into the nest, possibly looking for leftovers.

Secundus is currently left and Primus right.

Is someone coming? NO.
Drat! Secundus stares out at me and Primus studies the twigs for tidbits.
From Robin of Illinois--

SILVER SPRING, Maryland (WUSA) -- Is this an albino deer? A horse? Or assome have suggested, both? Keith Richardson of Laurel, Maryland isn't 100-percent sure. All he knows isthat he was on his way to work on Wednesday, May 20 when he says he spottedthis animal in a field near the intersection of Layhill and Baughman Roadsin Silver Spring.
"Right near where the ICC is being built," Richardson tells 9NEWS NOW.Richardson pulled over and began taking pictures.He says at first he was convinced it was an albino deer. But then somefriends and co-workers thought it could be a horse because the tail is solong."As it was running away from me, that gait looked like a horse. Maybe it'sboth, a combination of some sort? I don't know," says Richardson.

9NEWS NOW did some investigating and discovered that the deer in question isa Piebald deer. Piebald deer are not albino deer. They can have black hooves, brown eyes and other genetic deformities, such as that extra long tail. Generally they are less than one percent of the deer population.


Donegal Browne

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Primus and Secundus Branch and Rose and Hawkeye's Brood Hop and Flap

The young Ms put on quite a show today.
And I've begun having a harder time telling one from the other. Currently I believe that Secundus is on the left and Primus the right. Here they are hanging out on the nest rim, one on each side surveying their parent's domain.

Something seems to have gone by and the kids are interested.

Then they lock eyes and it looks like it's going to be feisty time here at the nest.

Secundus leaps onto a branch.
And begins walking the branch.
Primus does some hopping and flapping on the nest.
And some more...

It's like battle of the birds. Not to be outdone Secundus does hop flap turnaround. Not bad.
He gives me a look.
And then starts flapping. Though I don't see any hopping out there on the end of the branch at the moment. He's got a good grip on his perch even though he's doing a long flap.
Ta da! Being higher the Primus is very enjoyable.

Did they switch places? One set of eyes isn't enough on these guys to catch it all.

Suddenly preening becomes imperative and they both succumb to the urge.

Still being watched I start up the car and head out, leaving them to practice their life skills.
Pat writes--

I took these Tuesday. Based on these pics, do you think they have already begun flying/jumping? I haven't seen them take off, just flap their wings.

Hi Pat,
It's a gradual process. In what we call hopping and flapping begins with some wing flaps and if there is room, sometimes they run while flapping. As their wings strengthen, they get a bit of lift. That seems to cue a push with the legs along with the flapping. It undoubtedly feels good, answers and urge, because they keep it up.
Look above at the level of brown feathering in Primus and Secundus. They are a bit older that those at the NYBG nest. (I can't say exactly how old Primus and Secundus are as their parents kept them hidden for some good time before I could confirm them being in the nest.)
The bird on the right is still mostly white headed so I'd say they are at the flapping stage with a little hopping. They don't really become airborne from this activity. If they do start becoming airborne, they'll usually find something to hold onto at this point. They aren't ready to go anywhere.

This guy is strengthening his wings. Yes, he's flapping on the edge but it would be bad if he inadvertently launched himself off the nest. He's not ready yet. (In fact most fledges I've seen in NYC have been inadvertent and not really ready as they then cannot gain elevation to return to the nest and there is seldom a way to branch back up to it. ) But at the stage the NYBG eyasses are, they have a lot of hopping and flapping to go to get stronger and stronger and hop and flap higher--in place. Then the wind may come up and blow them off or they just loose control of the hop flaps and launch themselves.
Thunder who fledged from the very tall KJRH TV tower in Tulsa, Oklahoma took much longer to come off than we'd find normal in NYC and according to report and the captures I've seen actually looked like she made a decision to fly off the tower. Previously she had an opportunity to "branch" on various parts of the tower. Her parents dropped off food in the manner they would to a fledged bird. They'd drop it off in the nest and leave. At which time Thunder would make her way to the nest and eat it. Then go back to another adventure "branching". Then finally, weeks late for what's considered a normal fledging date, she just took off of her own accord. And flew beautifully with control.
I'll be very interested to see the level of maturity of Primus and Secundus when they go. Birds like them in NYC would likely have about another week before they went but I've no idea how things work in a branchable tree. Also there are small trees and bushes under their Oak which may well give them the opportunity to climb flap back to the nest. In fact by the time I see one fly off they may well have done it any number of times and then gotten back into the nest.
It eventually became clear that in the Fordham nest of Rose and Hawkeye, the eyasses often fledged off into the trees which were only a few feet from the nest ledge, made their way through several trees to another building which was taller than the nest building, and after getting high enough on that building where they wouldn't have to make elevation on their own, flew back to the nest for meals. So one was never sure if when you saw a eyass go off the nest whether it was the first time they'd done it or whether it was the 15th time they'd done it.

And Hawkeye or Rose circle--just keeping an eye on their bit of the world.
Doengal Browne