Saturday, July 03, 2010

Parts 2, 3, and 4 from Cheryl Cavert on Kay, Jay and Young Kat

All Photos by Cheryl Cavert

Hi Donegal,

When I went by the nest later in the afternoon (Saturday, May 30th), Kat was sitting much more quietly, mouth open, trying to stay in a shady spot as the temperature and humidity soared. I checked back later in the evening and found Kat across the street on top of an apartment building (2 stories) as Kay watched from the nesting tower. As it got dark, Kat flew into a tree close by the nesting tower as Kay headed off to her own roosting spot.
My first stop the next morning was by the nesting tower - and Kat was again perched on top of the nearby apartment building while Kay and Jay watched from the nesting tower. Kat flew off while I was watching Kay and Jay and I was not able to locate her the rest of the day.
While I was out of town, a couple of other Tulsa hawkwatchers provided some much appreciated on the ground reports. A few days before I returned, they wondered if Kat had fledged as sometimes when they were by the nest, they could not see her. I am not certain she had already fledged at that time - just based on my observations of the 48 hours leading up to me actually seeing her away from the nest. Depending on where Kat chose to perch on the tower, often times it was hard to spot her especially if her back was towards you. Also, over those 2 days, I only saw her running/hopping/flapping around the nesting level platforms, never gaining more than a foot or two of air. And once she did fledge, when I have seen her back at the nesting tower, she is all over the different perches and levels. In conclusion, we are not sure when Kat actually fledged!

to be continued.....


Part 3

Even though I refer to Kat as a her, of course we are clueless as to whether it is a he or she. Depending on the angle of my photos, I can just never be sure of the size of the ankles/feet or beak. My guess right now would be he.

I did not see Kat anymore the rest of the day. We had storms that night so I headed back to the nesting tower the next morning. Kay and Jay were both perched there but no Kat. About 15 minutes later, she showed up, loudly announcing her hunger. Kay and Jay ignored her for a bit but then Kay took off and returned with a stick for the nest. Kat just stayed perched on an upright over the nest, folded over looking in the nest for tidbits, calling out loudly. Jay finally took off but when he had not returned in an hour, Kay went out herself. At that point, Kat did change positions, taking up her call from another upright. Kay returned for a bit but then took off again. I waited 2 1/2 hours but neither parent showed up during that time with food and Kat continued to call out.
When I checked later in the day, Kat was perched at the nesting tower and looked like she had eaten . The next two days when I was by, I would see Kat perched somewhere on the tower. I wondered if she was hanging around closer, afraid she might have to wait a long time for a meal again?!


I've enclosed a view of Kay and Jay's nesting towers taken from a couple of miles away. The KJRH tower that they nested at the previous two years is on the right while the new nest at the Mazzio's tower is at the left - by far the two tallest "trees" in the area.
Usually, in the evenings especially, I see Jay watching from the KJRH tower, but a few days ago in the evening he was perched at the top of the nesting tower. Following the sounds of loud mockingbirds, I located Kat across the street in a pecan tree (one of Kay's favorites for nesting material). She flew back by the nesting tower with a bird close on her tail. She briefly perched in another tree - it was a hot evening - and then flew back to the pecan tree as it provided better shade.
A couple of days ago on a very windy day, I watched Kat learn to deal with wind while perched on an upright by the nest. A few times she would be so busy watching other things high in the sky (maybe Kay or Jay? I could not see anything!) that a gust of wind would about knock her off the perch and she would have to stretch out her wings and struggle back to an upright position. Finally bored with that, she started hopping/flying between uprights, getting a feel for the strong wind gusts. After a bit of that, she stretched out her wings, made a few adjustments and took off! I was able to follow some of her flight by watching for flocks of surprised birds rising out of the treetops as Kat circled around, occasionally coming into view between the tops of the trees, terrorizing all the neighborhood birds!

All my best,

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Part One of Kay and Jay of Tulsa's Fledgling Kat, Queen's Raptor Updates, and More

Photo by Cheryl Cavert
June 11, 2010

Hi Donegal,
Kay and Jay's offspring Kat fledged about two weeks ago. I was out of town around that time but as soon as my plane landed, I was out watching!! I immediately located Kat at the nesting tower, running around the nest level, branching from one triangle to another and walking on the steel beams connecting them.

Photo by Cheryl Cavert
The next day I observed the same thing but also perching on some black lines a foot or two above the nest.

Photo by Cheryl Cavert
And the same the following day - Kay would sit above and watch - I hope she was as entertained as I was by Kat's antics.

To be continued...

Christopher of the Unisphere nest
Photo by Peter Richter,

"The first Unisphere fledgling, Sadie, was returned to the park after 3 weeks in rehab with Bobby and Cathy Horvath this past Friday (6-25-10). She had a minor leg injury after fledging, but is now healed and ready to resume her life in the wild. We attempted to release her hoping she would land in the same tree as her brother Christopher, but she had other plans, and flew more than two hundred away into a London Plane tree. Curious as to what was going on, Christopher chased after Sadie and landed in the same tree as she. He checked her out and let out a few loud yelps, hopefully in approval that his sister has returned."

Also check Peter's site for updates on Atlas and Andromeda's eyasses and the placing of a foundling Red-tail with a foster family.

From the New York Post--
Feather friends save hawk

A band of Bronx bird lovers joined forces over the weekend to save a baby red-tailed hawk — rescuing the frightened fledging from traffic then canoeing up the Harlem River in search of a noted naturalist to treat the ailing raptor.
The hawk marooned in the middle of busy Melrose Avenue on Saturday was "young, hungry and weak," said Daniel Chervoni, a member of the Friends of Brook Park environmental group.
The bird took a tumble from its nest atop an air conditioner on 149th Street and Melrose Avenue.
Fortunately, local bird watcher Lee Rivera grabbed the hawk from the dangerous intersection and rushed it to nearby Brook Park in Mott Haven.

"We were trying to feed him chicken and sliced turkey but he wouldn’t touch it," said Chervoni.
They rushed the bird to licensed falconer Ludger Balan, who was coincidentally giving a talk they’d planned to attend about 50 blocks north on the Harlem River.
Read more:

From W.A. Walters, gleaner of tidbits from the NYTimes--
SCIENCE June 29, 2010
Observatory: Beaks, Bills and Climate
A study comparing bird bills provides the most substantial evidence yet supporting the idea that animals in cold climates evolved to have shorter appendages.

Donegal Browne

Monday, June 28, 2010

Behavior: Raven Nest, Cowbird Fledgling, and Cottontail Rabbit

Having seen wing pulling as a disciplining behavior in Crows, and read about foot biting in that species as well, I wondered if Ravens, being Corvids, displayed the same behavior. I asked Jeff Kollbrunner to keep an eye peeled for it, and sure enough there it was. He even got photos.

Here are images of the Queens, NY Ravens taken since June 2nd.

They started to leave their nest at the beginning of June and walk on the steel I beam that supports the water tower as seen in the associated images. One of the June 2nd images has all three young Ravens standing together.

On June 3rd early in the evening with very low flat light providing only a silhouette with little detail the parent disciplined one of the youngsters. It started biting and tugging the wing at the shoulder

and then a few minutes later started biting and tugging hard the toe of the youngster. In all instances the young Raven vocalized very loudly, clearly wasn't happy and tried to pull itself free of the parents grip. Each time after a few good moments the parent let go, this occurred a few times over the course of ten minutes. There was food next to the young Raven, after the disciplining the parent took this remaining food located on the steel beam and brought it over to the young Raven sitting in the nest and fed it the remnants of this meal.

On June 5th one of the young Ravens left the safety of the water tower and landed on a satellite dish mounted about six feet off the ground on the side of a home about 100 feet away. It used the dish as shelter and shade from the intense heat (90+ degrees) of the afternoon sun. Later in the day all the young Ravens were back on the water tower.

June 8th, two of the Ravens returned to the nest for a long while before venturing back onto the steel beams to exercise and play with the wires.

It appeared one of them was not accounted for today while I was there for two hours but it could have been hiding on one of the beams and not visible. They are doing very well and have been all over the water tower the last week, even landing on the grass and shrubs below. At the end of the day they still return to the steel beams near their nest.

Over the next few days I will create a Raven Gallery on my site and post additional Raven images to that gallery. Our Briarwood Red-tailed Hawk fledgling is doing very well it is out of the nest for a couple weeks now, looking very strong in flight and getting around. Last night I added new images of the fledgling to the Nest Photos 2010 gallery with more to come soon.

All the best, Jeff

A Cowbird fledgling foraging without a foster parent.
The young bird knows there is a watcher but continues anyway. I've noticed that there is often a several day lag between when the foster parent isn't seen with a young bird and when a female cowbird then gathers in the fully functional young bird to her group.
In the meantime the young bird is very alert and seems to be watching other birds, people, rabbits, bugs, even more attentively than other fledglings.
The other day a female cowbird who already had one fledgling with her made one of the display moves which is part of the male courtship dance in the sight of a second fledgling. She pointed her beak straight up at the sky and froze for a moment. The second fledgling then trotted up and joined the other two. Whether this is an attention getting move for youngsters who have wondered off or whether a cue to activate an inborn behavior for the young bird to join a cowbird group, or conceivably something else altogether, I don't know. It's the first time I've seen it in the presence of fledglings.
Tiny Jolly Bunny is a bit bigger now and was out eating dandelions and grass. She'd pluck a leaf and it would methodically disappear by degrees into her mouth. Then suddenly she stopped in mid-chew and stared for a very brief moment.
She made a jump.
And another...
...gathering speed. Why?
Because across the way, near the Spruce, that's got to be Mom. I'd suspected that the nest was under the Spruce tree as Jolly Bunny always comes and goes from there.
At first I thought Jolly Bunny was running for Mom, which in a way she was, but she didn't go to Mom, she scampered under the Spruce, I assume, hoping that Mom would join her for a little nursing session. And after a few minutes of leaf munching herself, mom did disappear under the evergreen as well.

OPINION June 27, 2010
Op-Ed Contributor: Losing the Owl, Saving the Forest
How the Endangered Species Act saved forests in the Pacific Northwest.