Thursday, April 07, 2011

Pale Male, Ginger Lima, Piebald Grackle, Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel, and 888 Peregrine on Eggs!

Pale Male flies by with prey.

Still copulating! And still with Ginger Lima...

I looked out the patio door today and WHOA!

No, he hasn't been in wet paint.

Wisconsin, capitol of leucistic and albino fauna, has come through again. This is a piebald leucistic Grackle. In other words, the bird has true species colors in the areas that are not completely devoid of pigment. Somehow the streaks and speckles make him look less fierce than your typical Grackle.

This bird happened to be under the feeder alone so I don't know how he gets along with other Grackles. In the past when there have been leucistic birds in the yard they've been treated, at least to the human eye, by other members of their species as if they were true colored. Though I've not watched a leucistic Grackle before. Stay tuned.

I'd noticed that the entrance to Chewy's burrow was open and lo and behold today, Chewy, or a relative was out in the feeding area stuffing those Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel cheeks.

In regards to a question about a possible nest in Tompkins Square Park, which would mean two urban hawk nests only a mile apart with the addition of the Washington Square nest. A response from Francois Portmann, pro photographer and worldly bird watcher-

There is no RTH nest in Tompkins Square Park. Bird photographer Dennis Edge who visits the park daily confirms: "I saw a squirrel building the nest mentioned, RTHs sometimes sit on squirrel's nest" Hope that helps,

Photo by Brett Odom

And from our watcher of the 888 nest site, Brett Odom--

Hello Donna.

Yesterday (April 2nd. I missed it in my box for a week. Sorry. D.B.) I managed to take a very blurry photo of one of the falcons on the 888 nest ledge. I haven't brought in my tripod to work yet which is why the photo is not in focus. I will bring it in with me on Monday. As you can see, the falcon is not perched, but laying down which is what it was doing on the 29th. I'm not the expert, but I would imagine this is how a bird would lay when brooding (is that the correct term) eggs. This was late in the day and the falcon was still like this when I left for home so I do not know if she, I will use the female pronouns for now, actually had any eggs she was covering. The sun was also on the opposite side of the building so she wasn't attempting to warm up by sunbathing. I would be interested in knowing your thoughts.

I have attached the original size photo so you can zoom in without loosing too much sharpness. Once I have my tripod in, I will attempt to take some better photos. You might not be able to tell, but this is the exact spot where Charlotte and Jr.'s nest is located. It is behind the glass immediately to the left of the falcon. As you can see, the plastic shopping bag I wrote you about last year is still on the nest.


Brett, you are using brooding correctly. I used to think that brooding was only used in regard to hatchlings, as opposed to eggs, but I looked it up and it's both sitting on eggs and/or sitting on eyasses. :-)

It looks to me that she is sitting on eggs. As Peregrines don't really have much in the way of nesting materials usually, the nest is called a scrape, I'd suggest that her rather mantling stance is her way of sitting eggs in chilly weather.

I love the fact that the plastic bag is still there.

Wish I knew where Charlotte and Junior have gotten to.

Keep it up Brett, I can't wait to see what happens with the Peregrines next!

Best, D

And last but not least, the link for the now famous Iowa Eagle Cam,0,1096929.story

Pale Male, Ginger Lima, Isolde, Norman, Washinton Square's Violet and Bobby, John Blakeman on Florida Eyasses Plus the Deer Guards the Goose's Nest

Photo courtesy of

After a day that included fighting off a Peregrine Falcon in front of her nest, Ginger Lima does the cute cocked head posture. But if you look into her eyes, you still wouldn't want to mess with her, coquettish posture or not.

Pale Male flies over 927 Fifth Avenue

The Fifth Avenue formel still hasn't taken to the nest. In fact it appears she prefers to spend a good bit of time standing vigil at her outpost on the west side of Manhattan, from one of Lola's favorite morning perches-the Beresford.

Photo courtesy of Rob Schmunk,
Morningside Park Hawks, Norman (right) has brought Isolde, who has begun sitting the St. John the Divine Cathedral nest, a nice juicy rat for dinner and is now watching her eat it.

For more on The Divines from Rob Schmunk, click the link above.

Photo courtesy of Christopher James/N.Y.U.

Well, it turns out the window ledge nest of the Washington Square Pair has stuck. And not only stuck but Bobby and Violet are the proud parents of three, count 'em, eggs!

They chose well, as the window and office overlooking this particular ledge belongs to N.Y.U. president, John Sexton and he likes them. A lot!

President Sexton has given the NYTimes City Blogs permission to mount a camera inside said office and now there is a Hawk Cam trained on the nest.

If you can't get out to one of the urban nests in person, there is now a fallback--

Many thanks to Rob Schmunk of the Bloomingdale Village Blog for the heads up.

Photo courtesy of wgrz. com/

When the goose nesting in the above urn lost her mate, this deer took up the gander's duties as nest protector. Fascinating.

From Robin of Illinois--

One of those attacked, is a life-long birder, and he stated:

"I just feel sorry for the bird cause he's got no place to go. He's just defending his little piece of the rock. Habitats are shrinking so much, they've become more aggressive," Canterbury continued."

And from Ohio hawk expert, John A. Blakeman-

The removal of Red-shouldered Hawk newly-hatched eyasses from the Florida nest is ridiculous. Those birds haven't got a chance to ever survive in the wild. The photo shows a forceps, probably with food. Those little things will imprint in five-minutes to some human handler. And who, where, when, and how are these birds to be hacked? Without proper and effective hacking, there is no chance they will ever survive in the wild --- if they so much as live to fledging.

You can't just grab some newly-hatched hawk eyasses out of a nest, bring them inside and feed them for 30 days and then toss them out into the wild. I could go on at length about this, but it just won't work unless there is a full-time dedicated staff familiar with the raising of hawk eyasses in captivity, with Red-shouldered Hawk feeding puppets, along with a proper hacking site. This all looks well and good. The results will be so different, I fear.


John A. Blakeman

Thank you, John.

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Pale Male and Ginger Lima Plus the Displaced Eyasses

Pale Male brings in a pigeon for Ginger Lima.

Long time Central Park hawkwatcher, Stella Hamilton pointed out what a great flyer Ginger Lima is.

But first she has some eating to do.

She seriously gets to it.

Ginger Lima dives off the nest after eating.

And curves up.

A bank.

And off she goes again.

More Fifth Avenue Hawks tomorrow....

Displaced eyasses.

Sometimes one just has to wonder--From Raptor Watcher Jackie Dover--

The story:
Note that "Audubon representatives could not be reached for comment."
Note that: "On top of that, he said, getting the required state and federal permits to have them removed was estimated to take between 90 and 120 days. But by Friday afternoon, after a flurry of news media attention that included calls from Orlando TV stations and, those permits had been expedited."

The result: Video--

The newly hatched babies are now in the care of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, in Maitland, FL.

I commented on the National Audubon Facebook page, with this reply from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey (who have their own page, I learned).

"Thank you for your comment, Jackie. Unfortunately, no media has contacted us about this issue, otherwise we would have commented for the story on We were just as surprised as you when we read we were not available for comment!

"It was the home owner who got state and federal permits to remove the baby hawks, please know that Audubon played no role in the state and federal permitting decision to remove these chicks from their nest in Melbourne.Yet, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey does insist on the safe and proper handling of these magnificent creatures - no matter what their circumstances may be.

"Audubon staff did not remove the chicks from their nest, nor did we endorse the state and federal permit to do so. It is our job to ensure these babies have the best opportunities to live a full and healthy life back in the wild. Only 2 years ago, this type of permitting could have allowed for the birds to be shot. It was through the advocacy work of Audubon of Florida that these permits now allow for rehabilitation services by wildlife and veterinary organizations.

"Although the current outcome is not one that we ever want to see (healthy baby birds removed from their healthy parents) we can assure you that the chicks will be cared for by our dedicated and skilled staff until they are able to be reunited with their parents or released back into the wild.

"Thanks again for your comment, Jackie. Since 1979, we have accumulated hundreds of amazing successes stories in rehabilitating our winged friends. We owe this success entirely to our knowledgeable and aware supporters. Please “like” the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and stay in contact with us as we work to create a better Florida for birds."

My reply:
"Thanks for your kind comment. I understand how the media can drive a story, and how it can even be used as a vehicle to promote private interests of individuals. That would seem to be the case here. Thank goodness you folks agreed to take the eyasses of this unfortunate pair of hawks. I hope that you will inform the public as to the well-being of the babies as you continue to care for them. At least, they will have a chance at survival, unlike some redtailed hawks' babies in Tulsa, whose active nest was destroyed by land-clearing machines a couple years ago, even with the knowledge that the babies were present in the tree. Nothing was done to hold anyone accountable.

The Center's FB page has since posted a photo (attached) of the two babies, asking the public to "stay tuned."

Sad story!

Best wishes,
Jackie Dover

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Pale Male and Ginger Look Into the Bowl of the Nest, or are they?

Pale Male and Ginger look into the bowl of the 927 Fifth Avenue nest.

This looking into the bowl stance is often seen when there is a hatch. That isn't it this time.

Are they looking at an abandoned egg?

Though some watchers think that Pale Beauty left an egg in the nest, a good proportion of other watchers don't think so.

I suppose they could be mulling whether there is enough bowl lining. Doubtful.

Interestingly, and somewhat unusual, Pale Male is standing on the same side of the bowl as the prey he'd tempted Ginger into coming to get by flying back and forth in front of the nest. Ordinarily he'd be on the other side of the bowl and she'd be on the side with the gift.

Of course we can't really say that Ginger isn't looking at the prey, can we? Check out the angle of her head. But then again, she could just be full to her eyeballs.

Is Pale Male pointing out where he'd like Ginger to be? I'm thinking that my be closer. He does seem to want Ginger to start sitting on the nest.

Is it just photoperiod that is "egging" him on? Or as Pale Male has trained so many young mates could he be concerned that she might not know it was "time" and just lay an egg any old place? (It does happen in females of smaller species, I don't know about raptors.) Trying to keep an egg from appearing in the wrong place would take some complicated thought on Pale Male's part, I admit. More likely he just instinctively feels like it is "time" and as such she should be on the nest.

And another good sign concerning up coming eggs, during the last couple of days, Ginger has been selecting more materials for the nest bowl.

And what is the business of Pale Male only hunting within sight of the nest for quite some time now? That's very unusual.


Donegal Browne

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Pale Male and Ginger

5:13 PM (All times PM, Central Time) Ginger cruises onto the nest and checks out the partial pigeon Pale Male has placed there for her. In fact as he flew back and forth in front of the nest to get her attention, he seems purposely to have lured her here and seems rather impatient for her (Or someone for goodness sake), to buckle down on the nest and lay some eggs. 5:16:26 He is disappointed in his ploy as Ginger, pleased with the gift, picks it up and takes off with it. Sigh. 5:23 He continues to watch her. And she's still not coming back to the nest. 5:27 Pale Male takes off and heads toward the northeast the area he has been watching and where she is likely eating. 5:55 Pale Male reappears and does an in and out around the buildings on Fifth Avenue up to Woody Building. He appears to have been checking both sides of the buildings as he often does towards sunset. He wouldn't want anyone who shouldn't be roosting on "his buildings". 5:59:47 Pale Male takes a perch on the railing of Woody and continues to scope the area with particular focus on the "Ginger area". All this thinking about eating makes me realize I've not eaten all day, I then head for the opposite side of the Model Boat Pond for a snack. It also has the advantage of being just to the south of Woody, so I can keep an eye on Pale Male. I gobble my tidbit, with eyes on PM, wipe my fingers and am just going to take a picture from the new angle, when he takes off Woody and heads into the treeline of Central Park. I head in the direction in which he seems to be going. I suspect he's given up on Ginger taking to the nest tonight and is heading for his roost tree. 6:13:58 Then this hawk appears in the sky. Ginger? Pale Male? It's too dark for me to be comfortable with a confirmed ID. Though at the time I thought it was P.M. This hawk heads off toward the trees on Cedar Hill. I walk past Cedar Hill, walk across one of the stone arched passageways of Central Park and find myself seeing the silhouette of the Beresford. I continue to walk, enjoying the park, thinking of the day, and still trying to figure out what has been happening with Pale Male, his intermittent mates and everything else besides. 6:38 I look down and have one of those pleasant unexpected New York moments. I smile and mentally thank the person who chalked the "gift" on the path. 7:38:37 It's another hour before the vagaries of the NYC transportation system has convinced me that I should walk from 42nd and Fifth to 43rd and Ninth. During the walk, I pass Times Square and this section of Broadway which has been blocked off. It is literally packed shoulder to shoulder with visitors to the city, with their heads turned up and eyes reflecting the flash and glitter of the Great White Way. Addendum: Well folks, it turns out I took 800 photographs today and as you can see, I haven't posted nearly that many. I arrived at Central Park well before today's blog begins so you'll be seeing more of today's photographs along with those from upcoming days. Stay tuned for some new tidbits of behavior and the theories about just what is going on with PM and Company from the Hawk Bench as well. Happy Hawking! Donegal Browne