Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jewel is Somewhere in the Oak Foliage and the Fledgling Red-wings are in the Wild Parsnip

The Emerald Grove Road nest minus Jewel. Which gave me a bit of a drop in my stomach because as the other two eyasses died, my mind kept jumping back and forth from she's fledged to she's dead. But then I heard the tell tale sound of a young Red-tail begging. That was a huge relief. The sound was coming from somewhere in the oak foliage in the trees near the nest.

Ordinarily a fledgling will expose herself while begging to make sure the parents spot her. Unfortunately in this site she could be completely exposed on the other side of the trees without my seeing a feather of her. I decide to wait.
The begging stops. I surmise the parent has flown out of the Jewel's sight or she's on the other side of the trees somewhere having dinner.
I wait some more, but in the meantime...

A male Red-winged Blackbird flies down from his electrical wire perch, quickly fills his beak with insect matter and stuffs it down the throat of one of the two fledglings hanging out in the Wild Parsnip about 20 feet from me. Dad then flies back to his perch on the wire. The second fledgling, the one pictured above, we'll call him Older, is scrutinizing the insect life in the Parsnip and begins to feed himself.

As you can see the Wild Parsnip is a real bonanza of Red-wing eatable goodies.

No, Jewel hasn't conveniently returned to the nest so I can see her.

This is Younger Red-wing Fledgling. She sits and waits for dad to make
another delivery.

And waits some more not having "gotten it" yet about feeding herself.

Older on the other hand is becoming quite the little self feeder.

Dad is vigilant and keeps both fledglings in the Parsnip. Younger on a couple of occasions has gone into the cornfield but dad tempts her back plants teeming with insects.

Older peers at me from behind a stem.

WAIT! Forget that. Look at all the possible lunch!

The Parsnip is literally crawling with food.

Younger gets another delivery and then waits.

It begins to rain and Older takes a moment to watch me pack up my stuff. Still no Jewel in sight.

But Daddy Red-wing has both his charges in his sight and I've no doubt that as all three fledglings, both Red-wing and Red-tail, have experienced parents that they are at the top of the heap when it comes to their chance at survival.

Donegal Browne

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Little Red-tail Gets Some Help From Her Friends

Photo by Francois Portmann
(Now isn't she a little beauty!)

An almost annual occurrence-- a Unisphere Fledgling needs a little help. Enter Francois Portmann and Bobby Horvath with Peter Richter in reserve.

A note from wonderful wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath--
This morning Francois called me to report that he was the Flushing Meadow Park Unishpere nest and 1 fledgling was at the bottom of the dry fountain and it is only partially flighted and could get itself into trouble. There is a current construction project going on under the sphere and the area is completely fenced in and worse there is a very deep trench completely around the the whole perimeter exposing the undergound plumbing . It is at least 6 feet deep in most spots and if any youngster fell into this it would never get back out. This coupled with the fact there is drilling ,cutting, and workers present make it unsafe for adults to attempt to deliver food to this first jumper.

It was a judgment call but we removed her from under the ball and put her in a tall oak in the middle of a group of trees right in the middle of the path used most often by the parents and close by the museum where previous fledges spent most of the time perched on the roof as witnessed by Peter who follows this pair closely. It was seen flying short distances about 3 feet off the ground and hopefully just needs a few days to acclimate itself to the new branch perches it's unaccustomed to by its uncertainness and flying a bit higher for safety.

The remaining sibling is exercising and might have jumped off by the time I got home but Peter plans on being there to observe. I gave it a quick look-over and its mouth was clear and color good and was in good flesh so we left it there hoping for the best as usual. It is a dangerous time for them but the park is unusually quiet for this time of year with the construction most likely keeping many people away from that attraction. If anything goes wrong the supportive construction crew also has all of our contact numbers so either Peter, Francois or us could get back in there if need be.

All was quiet when we left and we are keeping our fingers crossed for them. If any of my three rescues caught up quick we would love to give 1 a chance reuniting with these parents since it is a good spot and they have succeeded doing this in the past. I banded this one and gave her orange nail polish in case we got the other and it would make iding easier . Thanks Francois for the help and good timing today. Bobby

For those interested
I just posted the pics on my blog:

P.S. I was well enough today to drive out to the Emerald Grove Rd. nest. Jewel wasn't on the nest.
JEWEL HAS FLEDGED! I couldn't see her for the dense foliage but when I arrived I heard her begging heartily from the copse of trees near the nest so all is well!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Redtailed Hawk Update: Chris Lyons at the Fordham Nest, Stella Hamilton oat the Cathedral Nest on St. John the Divine Plus Francois at the Raven's Nes

Photo by Chris Lyons\\
The three Fordham eyasses seem to be doing very well, and I'd guess the first fledge will happen this week. First fledge ever out of Collins was on 6/8/06, and subsequent fledges have happened around that time.

Photo by Chris Lyons

Today, for reasons best known to herself, Rose was spending some quality time with her young, instead of the more typical "Here I am, here's your food, gotta fly" routine you see this late in the nesting cycle, with both parents working overtime to feed the almost adult-sized youngsters.

Photo by Chris Lyons
She was there resting on the ledge when I arrived, and stayed for at least another ten minutes--her visit might well have lasted half an hour, or more. Maybe she just wanted to assess their progress, or had some other instinct-driven function to perform--or maybe she was enjoying the chance to hang out with them.

Photo by Chris Lyons
She wasn't actually doing anything, best as I could tell--they didn't need to be beak-fed, or protected, or sheltered from the elements. She was watching her kids pretty intently, while they actually seemed to be much less focused on her (since she had no food). After she flew off, she returned shortly afterward with prey, and departed immediately. No sign of Vince, but he's around.

Photo by Chris Lyons
In a week or less, they'll all be out of the nest. She knows that, even if she doesn't think about it much. What I observed may simply be a way of encouraging them to take the next big step into the world around them. But the simplest explanation is that she did it because she wanted to.

Photo by Chris Lyons
Spot on Chris! I think so too. Thanks so much for the photos and your commentary. It’s grand to have a successful, full nest ready to fledge in town.

Photo by Chris Lyons

Photo by Chris Lyons

Photo by Stella Hamilton
From longtime nest watcher Stella--

Dear Donna,
It seems like our fledgling spent the night on the roof of St. Luke's Hospital. Bruce and I did see one of the parents yards away in one those cylindrical ladders on the roof. We did not see any feeding. Survivor was very active, flapping and running around, but was not begging for food. At. 6:20 pm, Survivor decided to fly back to the Cathedral. Here are some pics. Maybe he wants to go back to the nest to look for some scraps.

Photo by Stella Hamilton
I found that in the young Red-tails off the nest on County Rd M, that after the first flight they made it their business to get back to the nest for meals. They then found a spot on the nest with good sightlines for maximum exposure of their waiting selves or as there were two of them they began to compete for a branch that was slightly higher than the nest with even better exposure, attempting to be first in line for any food that came in. They made flights in and out of the tree for days. Roosting back in the nest tree as well as taking meals there. They then got the gist of being ready on the side of the tree the adult who has been hunting was likely to come in on. Eventually they began begging from trees further afield but the adults would make them come and get the prey themselves as opposed to a delivery.

Photo by Stella Hamilton
So far no eyass has made it back to St. Andrew as far as I know. They often do get back to the Cathedral itself though. Come to think of it, the Cathedral is the "giant tree" on which the nest resides, so perhaps they're all following a basic Red-tail urge to return to the "nest tree" to be fed.

Photo by Stella Hamilton
Thunder who was hatched on the Tulsa TV tower returned to the nest platform for weeks to get her meals as well.

Photo by Stella Hamilton
Many thanks for the update Stella!

And last but not least, from naturalist and photographer Francois Portmann who's been keeping an eye on the new species in town, the Northern Ravens--

Hi Donna,
The Ravens are "branching"

Yea! Jeff Kollbrunner called and told me about some wing disciplining by Mom or Dad Raven with one of the older chicks. I've seen it with Crows and an immature Crow who was stealing food from family members instead of foraging his own. Did you happen to see that sequence on the blog a year or two ago? Three older crows surrounded the bad youth. He flipped on his back in submission, then one of the older crows tugged on his wing until he flew away across the street where they made him stay for awhile..shunned by the flock for bad behavior. :-)

Crows also do foot biting. So watch for both in the Ravens as we now know they do wing tugging they might do foot biting as well.

Donegal Browne