Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Dad of the Cathedral Nest, Norman, with all three eyasses in view-- Large, next to St. Andrew's head, Medium below Norman's breast, and Small under his tail.

Most of us have a heck of a time telling Norman from Isolde most of the time, unless a belly band is in full view. I decided perhaps scrutinizing him in a sequence of photos might help. In this photo you can see that his eyes are still ever so slightly lighter then Isolde's are.

Have you noticed? Norman has turned into rather a "looker" of a Red-tail. Isolde knows how to pick them. Tristan was a beauty as well.

Check out the belly band; it is quite different from Isolde's when you're able to get a good look at it. Norman is usually so busy buzzing from one spot to another it is often very difficult to get a bead on it.

Also I hadn't realized it before but Norman gives the impression of being rather short legged. I don't know if that is true, because it may be only an impression giving by his incredibly well muscled thighs. He's a very well muscled hawk. Just look at his chest. Of course as he seems to spend huge amounts of time flying around like a maniac, he would be sporting six pack abs.

Sometimes I think of him as the Jimmy Cagney of hawks. He's smallish, takes no prisoners, terrifies the competition even if they are bigger, and rather gives off the impression that he is asking, "Is this a private fight or can anyone join in?"

Other differences between he and Isolde-- his brow is slightly lighter and the area below his eyes and breaking off at the cere often refracts light in a way that makes it look almost white, though it isn't.

It still isn't going to be easy, but I'm going to start also looking for those six pack abs and those speed skater thighs.

In this photo the area above his beak, is also catching the light in a way that makes it look quite pale.

One way we used to be able to tell Isolde and Tristan apart was because Isolde had the epaulets, the head coloration coming down onto her shoulders in a way that Tristan's didn't. Unfortunately for us, both Isolde and Norman have it.

Unfortunately sad news about the nest of Mama and Papa in Queens from Jeff Kollbrunner--


We had a sad day at the nest of Mama and Papa this morning. The third eyass has disappeared. The details of its fate is not currently known. It may have perished overnight and was removed from the nest or something else may have occurred.

We are still doing our best to gather as much information from our Hawkcam viewers worldwide in the hope someone observed something. The time frame we have so far is my images of the nest show all three eyasses appear to be fine in the nest at 7:32pm EST on May 3rd. Mama shielded them from view the rest of the evening.

At 8am on May 4th a worker at the building reported that only two eyasses were in the nest when he arrived. An observer of Hawkcam indicated that the third eyass appeared sick at some point and may have died in the nest. This is all the information we have so far and hopefully additional information will be reported that will provide more details in the days to follow.

Best, Jeff

You heard him folks, if anyone saw anything while watching the hawkcam, any particular symptoms, aberrations of health in the eyass, please get in touch and I'll pass it along. Beyond just our knowledge of what might have occurred, if it were a communicable disease that carried off the eyass, a little knowledge would go a long way in treating the other two eyasses prophylactically for the disease if that were deemed something that could help.




On International Migratory Bird Day Weekend
Friday & Saturday, May 7 - 8, 2010

"Monitoring and Managing Raptor Populations: Forging a Collaboration of
Professional & Volunteer Conservationists"
Join people from across the hemisphere for a collaborative conference to
identify raptor management priorities and opportunities to engage Citizen
Scientists in these strategies. Events start on Friday night and continue
all day on Saturday. This raptor conservation conference is open to the
public. Event details follow. Registration can be completed online or by
phone. To register online, please use the link below. To register by phone,
please contact Audubon's Events and Communications Manager, Jeff Cordulack
at 203-869-5272 x239 to sign up. The $30 registration fee
includes Friday night's reception, Saturday's conference, and lunch on


Friday, May 7
6:00 - 9:00 pm: Special Reception & Presentation:
Join Audubon's guests and Dr. Chris Farmer, Senior Research Biologist for
the Acopian Center for Conservation at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, when he
discusses the status of the American Kestrel and highlights the struggles of
this iconic species. Friday's event is included with conference registration
or $15 suggested donation is welcome at the door. If you do not plan on
attending the conference on Saturday but would like to join the Friday
reception, do so and RSVP by May 6. RSVPs can be left with Jeff at
203-869-5272 x239.

Saturday, May 8
6:30-8:00 am: Early Morning Bird Walk - Meet in the main parking lot at
Audubon Greenwich. RSVP appreciated, leave a message at 203-869-5272 x221.
8:00-9:00 am: Annual Birders Breakfast - Join the annual tradition of a
hearty breakfast in the Ketay-Asnes Barn at Audubon Greenwich. Park in main
lot and follow the paved driveway and pathway to the red barn. RSVP
required. Leave a message at 203-869-5272 x221 by May 6.
9:00 am - 5:00 pm: Raptor Science Conference
A full day of panel discussions, exhibits, and special presentations will
feature Keynote Speaker, Laurie J. Goodrich, the Senior Monitoring
Biologist, Acopian Center Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. She will present "From
Counts to Conservation: Geography and Conservation of Migratory Raptors in
the Americas".
This special day will also feature international guests, Elisa Peres Barbosa
& Eduardo Martinez from ProNatura in Veracruz, Mexico. They will present on
"The River of Raptors Project in Veracruz, Mexico". RSVP required by May 6.
Follow the links below to sign up online.
6:00 - 9:00 pm: Post-Conference Dinner in the Ketay-Asnes Barn
Audubon Greenwich will also host a special dinner on Saturday night with
many of the visiting scientists, Audubon supporters and other special guests
in the Ketay-Asnes Barn. To sign up for this additional event and the
conference at the same time, use the online registration site and select the
'May 8' option from the tickets menu when registering for the raptor
conservation conference. Dinner: $30 per person. Space is limited. If you
will only attend this dinner and not the conference events, please RSVP to
Jeff by May 6 at 203-869-5272 x239.

More conference information and the list of speakers and co-sponsors, visit:


Jeff Cordulack
Events and Communications Manager
Audubon Connecticut/Audubon Greenwich
613 Riversville Road
Greenwich, CT 06831
203-869-5272 x239
203-613-8813 (cell)
Audubon Connecticut, the state organization of the National Audubon Society
with more than 9,000 members statewide, works to protect birds, other
wildlife and their habitats using education, science and conservation, and
legislative advocacy for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological
diversity. Through our network of nature centers, wildlife sanctuaries, and
local, volunteer Chapters, we seek to connect people with nature and inspire
the next generation of conservationists.

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of
thinking we were at when we created them." - Albert Einstein


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Bobby Horvath Does Long Island RT Nests and College Students Do Secret Triage Rehabbing

All Allen Park Photos by Bobby Horvath

See it?
From great wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath--
This park is only 1 mile from our house. I never had the reason to visit until Sadie was old enough to take advantage of the kids playground there. To my surprise the baseball field home to the champion Falcons is also home, they now know, to a successful redtailed hawk family right above their heads.
The nest is on top of the stadium light right next to the dugout entrance. Talk about no privacy.. There are 2 baseball fields and many busy soccer fields which accommodate hundreds of kids everyday and night right under the nest. They have 2 hatchlings I could see.

No place for young to go though once they start exploring so I'm sure we'll be getting a call . I would bet at least one or even both are releases of ours.

In addition there are two more successful nests along the parkway to our house barely three and five miles away along the same stretch of parkway.
The parkway young, as dangerous as it appears, never seem to get into trouble from our experience.
One of the parkway nests is actually on the front lawn of a private house, about 75 feet high right next to the parkway.

From the road it appears right in the trees adjacent to the parkway. I'll have to work on pictures of those but they both are heavily leafed out already.

I have to say one of the real conveniences for hawkwatchers who observe hawks who nest on man made structures such as buildings, bridges and light poles is that they never leaf out. Though I'd had to deal with the leafed tree issue interfering while attempting to see where the hawk parents were going in the city, it was rather a rude shock when I got to Wisconsin and began to watch tree nests that just when things were getting very interesting those pesky leaves went and got right in the way.
Bobby, I'm betting you're right that one or both of the parents were city bred Red-tails that came from your releases. These birds have to be super human habituated to put up with the mayhem in Allen Park. But being human habituated gives them a definite leg up in the hunting department. Think of all the refuse created by the hundreds of people who frequent the area. The rodent hunting prospects must be awesome.
I find it fascinating that the Parkway young don't run into car trouble. I've seen hawk parents teach their fledglings all sorts of different things and I'm wondering if in this case, car wariness is one of the things that are imparted to these youngsters. It may seem far fetched but remember Central Park hawkwatcher Ben Cacace's adage, "Never underestimate a Red-tail."
This is my daughter Samantha, and a nestling Starling. Sam is rapidly becoming the Bird Girl of Drew University. In some cases, like that of this nestling, he found her but word has gotten round in the last couple of weeks and people are beginning to call when they're faced with orphans. Then Sam calls me. Not that she's inexperienced in raising baby birds, nor that I'm an expert by any means, oh no. But we have raised many orphaned birds in our Midtown Manhattan neighborhood but in our neighborhood, the orphaned babies are baby pigeons. A completely different kettle of fish than the birds Sam comes across at Drew.
Plus in the case of wee Starling here, I'd left the house for the day and left my phone at home accidentally.
And of course Sam has roped her friends into helping in the underground triage rehabbing business. It's no easy thing to take care of their charges even for the 24 hours it often takes to find a car to take them to the Raptor Trust, the nearest rehab facility.
First off the only creatures Drew students are allowed to have in their dorm rooms are non-carnivorous fish. Obviously these are not non-carnivorous fish. Why non-carnivorous? No one seems to know. Seems to me actually that most fish food is made up of animal matter...but whatever-- onward.
Second, all the tweeting, begging sounds, and calls to a mom who no longer exists can get you busted.
Third, Drew is a secluded wooded campus with a student store with the usual fare. Feeding baby animals on Doritos and root beer just won't do. And the nearest small town's stores roll up the sidewalks early, well except the restaurants and feeding baby birds Chinese take out or pizza won't do either so the underground triage rehabbers have to get creative.
Because up until the current baby bird season they had no idea they'd be in business and so heat lamps and various forms of baby bird food just weren't hanging around in their closets.
No heat lamps nor heating pads? They now start their computer on a defragging program that really heats up the machine which in turn is then used to heat the box with the baby in it.
But what to feed such a young Starling? Somewhere they came up with a jar of human baby food, made out of turkey. Not a recommendation, you understand, but it did keep Starling alive until they could get him to The Raptor Trust.
Then a day or so later came the call about the three little ducklings running madly around the parking lot quacking their brains out looking for their mother. So off Super Secret Triage College Rehabbers went to save the ducklings.
Turns out saving ducklings in a parking lot is no easy task.
If you've ever chased a duckling you'll know they're like greased lightning, plus there are all those vehicles to run under and beat a hasty retreat while the human has to go around that big SUV. Add people driving up and down the lanes parking their cars and you get the picture.
Basically it came down to either cornering the little buggers or chasing them until they gave up. Also not recommended. But in the end the humans won and the ducklings were nabbed.
This is Frank...
and Storm, Sam's cohorts in crime. And there is also Miguel, not pictured. He's the one who came up with using the hot computer for a heat source.
Okay ducklings are now nabbed but they are making a tremendous amount of noise and heavens there isn't any duck chow, not even plain old bird seed. They can't put up a barrier outside and allow them to forage. These have to be secret ducks.
That's when Sam, a NYC child born and bred asks herself, "Why can't they eat what the ducks in Central Park eat?"
And what do the ducks eat in Central Park? Wet bread.
About then my phone rings. "Mom, two of the ducklings are in shock, They're laying there like they're dead."
Shock in birds? Warmth, quiet dim seclusion, and ? I'd read once that in a total pinch, if the bird could swallow, a little trickle of sugar water could help. Sam says yes, she has some sugar. I say, Just don't get it down their wind pipes. Sam having fed many a baby pigeon baby bird formula and not asphyxiated anybody I figure she is up to it.

So they're warm, they've had a little sugar water but forget dim seclusion. Duckling One wants OUT of the box and keeps leaping around, quacking like a mad thing trying to get out, and landing on his shocked out nest mates.
Okay Duckling One is taken out of the box. Duckling One runs around the room and his call changes. This as it turns out alerts his two prone siblings that he's getting away so they decide to wake up and want out of the box too.
Wet bread anyone? Maybe if they'll eat they won't make so much noise, the hall RA won't show up, and take everyone to task for these strange looking non-carnivorous fish that are running amuck around the room.
Okay, they eat a little. More running and quacking. Okay guys how about a little swim to take your minds off your troubles?
Sam mentions how remarkably floatable they are. Yes, indeed. They're DUCKS, Sam.
Keep in mind she's got a horrendous case of Shingles, has just run down ducklings when she should have been in bed and is on painkillers for what she says feel like 500 red hot needles shoved into and pulled out of her skin repeatedly. I could cut her a little slack right?

Okay guys, somebody is going to get hurt, how about we just calm down a little, shall we?
And they then cuddle together with a nice warm leg...and are finally quiet.
Happy ending, they eventually go quietly into their nice warm box and next day they are safely put into the hands of the Raptor Trust. Whew.
(By the way, what they are doing may not make the dorm RA happy but it is perfectly legal within the law of the land. According to federal law, any citizen may rescue a wild animal who is in danger. They just must get said animal to a licensed rehabber or vet within 48 hours.)
If you remember, Jeff Kollbrunner asked any viewers of the NYC HawkCam that may have seen anything unusual in the eyasses behavior that later died to send in their observations. One of the Cathedral Hawkwatchers and contributor to the blog, Winkie, was watching on Monday until about 5PM and here are her observations--
I was looking at mama's nest quite a bit Monday. The rain was just horrible. Around 10 am she was drenched and the babies looked really bad. She left the nest quite frequently during the day, probably to dry out. The last time I checked in was around 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon. A couple of times during the day she seemed to holding her wings out to protect the babies. I do think one of the babies looked really weak, especially later in the day. It seemed to have a hard time holding up its head. Do you think that maybe the rain left the one too weak and chilled?
Hypothermia is certainly possible. I sent Winkie's info off to the Horvaths and Jeff, to be pieced together with whatever other information they've received.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Monday With the Divines--at least Large anyway.

This is Large, and likely if you look carefully Medium to the left of Large peering through the twigs, looking for their parents. At least an hour before (I seem to have misplaced the memory card with that section of events. ??? Today is a travel day, I'm distracted.) one of the parents was tending the nest. I think it was Norman. Well, Norman flew off as the kids were becoming quite active. Rebellion against Isolde's nightly break? I don't know, but neither Isolde nor Norman had come back by 6:30PM when I had to leave. (See Rob Schmunk's blog for events after 6:30, )
The above look on Large's part is often the look given an over flying parent. And eyass just perks right up and stares--just in case a delivery might be occurring.

No such luck, but Large is keeping an eye peeled on the situation anyway.

But then her head begins to sag and I'd say that here she was taking time out for a bit of an eyass nap.

Oops something else has caught her attention. Hawks are pretty focused on certain things. Even the little ones.

But then her eyes begin to droop again and the lower mandible rests on the twigs.

Large's head slips down once again for a rest.

Her head rises a little.

Is that an eye?
And then there are no heads at all.
Check Rob's site for the activities later in the day--

Red-tail Update-The Invisible Become Visible

When I first arrived at the Cathedral nest on Saturday, it didn't look as if either of the adults was in residence. But there certainly were some new twigs in residence. I was scrutinizing those when--I saw something move in a significant way. Okay, sometimes in these situations, i.e., searching as hard as you can for the first concrete look at eyasses, your eyes can play tricks on you, but I was pretty sure that little white patch in the far right corner moved. It was my first inkling that today might be the day when we got our first look.

Here's a zoom. It looked to me that that just might be an eyass.

Ah, there she is, Isolde is the new twig culprit. Why in particular should today bring on a variety of new woody flora? I now think that perhaps as the eyasses were now able to peer through the porous top of the nest that perhaps Isolde decided it was time for a few more twigs on the top edge to break up the youngsters shapes as they popped up and down. Which they would do, not necessarily today, but someday soon.
Large, the eldest eyass is momentarily up off her haunches seemingly making her tower over Medium, the second hatched eyass.
Stormin' Norman, Large, and Medium stare at their audience.
It appears that Large is back there doing something quite watchable.
Medium still watching Large behind Andrew's head. Large, being slightly older is more mobile than the other two eyasses. Though from the look in her eye, Medium is going to give Large a run for her money.

And Small safe in the back corner. When there is a third eyass on this nest, I've observed that Isolde somehow tends to keep the youngest eyass in that spot until she is better able to fend for herself in regards to the two earlier hatched siblings.
From our man in NYC, with his eye on the NYTimes, Bill Walters--

OPINION May 02, 2010

Watching the nesting season of red-tailed hawks with Jeffrey Kollbrunner, one of New York City's most dedicated trackers of raptors.
Donegal Browne

Sunday, May 02, 2010


6:35PM Isolde has fed the eyasses and has been standing on the edge of the nest for awhile now making herself apparent to Norman. A possible cue to bring food. So far the food drop offs that I've seen have been just that, drop offs. No hanging around just a zippy in and out.

But today, Norman flies in, his wings settle, and he looks at the eyasses with her for a moment.

And that is all Isolde needs. Note she is leaning slightly forward?

And before Norman knows it, Isolde has nabbed the food and taken off.

Hey , where'd she go?

Isolde has decided to eat off nest this evening and leave Norman to Eyass sit.

This is the first time I've seen her do this, during Norman's tenure, and stay for any length of time.

He may be surprised but Isolde is about to leave him there for a good while. A while long enough where the the little white fuzz heads are going to get restless and want to be fed.. Remember how Tristan, Isolde's former mate, fed the eyasses their last meal of the day and she ate off the nest and then had a long break before tucking back in with the little ones for the night. Well, she's about to teach Norman how things are going to work evenings from now on if she can help it.

He looks down at the eyasses some more.

Then turns round and it appears that he is expecting her to be coming back about now.

Okay where is she?

He looks.

Then gets distracted by the kids.

Note the eyasses.


Time passes.

He stares at the eyasses.

Note the two eyasses in front of him.

And the third in the back right corner. Time passes. The eyasses get antsy and want to eat. No Isolde. And Norman appears to be waiting for her to come back and do it.

I think that the sequence of the boxes of video is confused but I can't tell for sure. Therefore here is what you'll be looking for. Watch for the two eyasses near St. Andrews head to pop their heads up now and again.
In another video look carefully and spy the third eyass beyond Norman's tail in the back right corner of the nest.
But the best part of all is when Norman realizes he's going to have to try and feed the eyasses, but hasn't quite got the knack yet and almost falls off the nest himself into the bowl because he can't seem to keep his balance on the edge, tear the food, lean down, and also possibly keep his talons folded under all at the same time. For a moment there I thought we might get some squashed eyasses. But Norman did not keel over and no one was squashed. Isolde and the other experienced hawk parents make it look very easy, only when you see Norman dealing with it do you realized much the activity is a learned behavior.

Due to size constraints not everything would fit on one post therefore scroll down to the following post, also from today, for the last section of today's observations.