Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday Miscellany- Crows, Quicksilver Parrot, and the Birdbath Drinking Cat

There is a tremendous number of six sequence caws going on in the backyard. I open the big curtain, completely expecting that the move will send whoever is having the interaction packing.  Miraculously not this time.  Instead the ringleader Caw-er, gives me a look then stares beadily at a crow in the opposite Maple tree.  This must be serious.   I suspect an intrusion from a crow or crows that the local Crow family aren't about to put up with.
Deciding the crow in the tree is more of an issue than I am, Ms. Crow goes back to the repeating  six sequence caw.
Suddenly her nictitating eyelid slides into place. This is the protective eyelid which gives some modicum of eye protection but when in place doesn't leave the bird sightless.  Why exactly at this moment it  triggered I don't  know as there doesn't appear to be anything pelting towards her that might trigger the response.
She gives the crow who won't leave a very serious-leaned-forward-stare.
That doesn't work so she's back to "yelling".
I accidentally click the camera against the glass.  This gets me a LOOK.  Though it appears to me that  she looks more annoyed at me than scared of me so she stays with her eye mostly on the prize, though checking in on my whereabouts periodically.
Then it's back to full body Cawing with such vigor that the pink of her throat shows.
It works.  The intruders take off and Carol and her crew take to the air to push the intruders further away from the goodie stump which has just been freshly stocked.  There is a scrabbling noise from the kitchen, I turn around and what should I see?
And Quicksilver the African Parrot gives me the "What?" look.  This is a look only seen when he knows he's busted for doing something he shouldn't.  In this case perching on a vitamin bottle that has slid and is not wedged between the back splash and the lazy susan.  He's hoping I won't notice.  No such luck for parrots even if they are wearing their most innocent, "What: look.    I say "Up" he gets on my hand and I put him back on his perch on top of the dishwasher.  I go to sit down the camera on the counter so I can continue what I was doing before the crow episode  but realize just in time, what a really poor choice that would be.   Silver has been on a search and destroy mission to remove all buttons from electronics since  yesterday.  The latest victim is the clicker for the DVD player.  It  lost the Power button (Red-always the first to go), the Menu button, and the Pause button.  Currently Power and Pause have been made semi-workable again by two strips of transparent tape.  Menu is still missing though likely not ingested by the parrot.  His lottzi is to make them pop into the air upon removeal.  I start to take the camera to it's back and hear another suspicious clatter. .  SIlVEEEERRRR!
WHAT? (Later in the day, I was the only human in the house and was in the bedroom tidying up when I heard the electric can opener begin to whirrrrr...) SILVER!  There he was standing on the top of the can opener very wide eyed and VERY alert.  Needless to say, I didn't take the time to get a picture before getting him off.
Evidentally Culprit the Cooper's Hawk or one of his relatives has been around for days.  The backyard has been a wildlife wasteland except for the brief crow visit going on a week.
The next time I look out, who should be stretching up for a drink from the birdbath but Tree Sleeper the cat.   As you can see he's a rather good sized puss and I'm afraid likely abandoned by someone.  I've as yet not been able to get a hand on him as he's quite wary.  His name comes from the fact that one early morning, my buddies the crows were once again raising Cain in the backyard,  I looked where the three crows were focusing and there was kitty up the maple tree on a big round branch having a nap.   
Evidentally stretching wasn't quite doing the job so TS crawls up the rim.
Delicious, nothing like a nice warm drink on a cold day.
He doesn't appear all that fond of being observed.  Or perhaps the look is more of an offensive move to keep me where I am.
As  I don't appear to be making any moves, he goes for another draught.
I get another "look" and he's of and carefully picking his way across the yard so as not to wet his feet.  I wonder how Pyewacket would take the addition of another cat in the house?
Donegal Browne

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Bobby of Washington Square Park, Riverside Hawks, and a Norfolk Eagle Nest Update

Sometimes you can more easily observe the wing action of a bird when it is in silhouette. Up center frame is a pigeon. Bobby has just flushed the flock so keep an eye peeled on wings as you scroll down through some of his hunting attempts.

Not this time.
A new perch.

Another new perch.

Off for another try. Some days are easier than others for an urban predator. And on this day Bobby and Rosie were dealing with several incursions from their neighbors, the Peregrine Falcons besides attempting to successfully hunt pigeons, squirrels, and rats in a park full of people.

The saga of the Norfolk Botanical Garden Bald Eagles and their nest takes an even darker turn.

From Robin of Illinois-

"There’s controversy brewing at the Norfolk Eagle Cam in Virginia. Apparently the eagles have been ruled an airport hazard, and authorities are planning to address the situation, but we’re not sure yet what that means except the likely removal of the Norfolk Eagle Cam nest. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has had to withdraw their partnership with the Eagle Cam project because it’s now a conflict of interest for them. More information about the airport situation can be found on the site. Also stay tuned to the Norfolk Botanical Garden blog for the latest information."

Riverside Hawks Article-- Link from NYC hawkwatcher Pamela Langford-

Plus new digs for the Wild Bird Fund's wildlife rehabilitators

Donegal Browne

Bobby and Rosie of Washington Square Park--More To Come

Bobby looks down at the plethora of prey in Washington Square Park. He hunts relentlessly.
And all the while, people are going about their business or starring at him, of which he takes very little notice.
Washington Square Park, like the southern portion of Central Park, has a genetic pool of black squirrels. They appear to have their own territory which is currently within a construction zone.
Now he's atop a building checking out the prey.

But there have also been Peregrine Falcons around so is sheltering himself also behind...
...the facade of a building, which helps to obscure his shape against the sky from view.
Something toward the center of the park suddenly piques his interest.
He's up....
Wings get ready for action.
And he's GONE!
What's this? A hawk on the corner of the Bobst.
Bobby takes off from his hunting perch in the tree and I loose him in the twigs.
But then I see a hawk flying across the unencumbered sky. Same hawk, different hawk?
One of the Red-tails lands on the nest ledge of the Bobst Library. At first I thought this was Bobby as he, I'd been told, was the hawk we'd been following for most of the day, but then I began to wonder. Perhaps Rosie had slipped in when we weren't paying attention.
Why? Because the hawk sat down into the bowl of the nest. Females around this time of year are often checking out the bowl of the nest for it's comfort quotient. They are the ones who spend an inordinate amount of time sitting there after all.

Lola, Pale Male's previous mate wasn't all that interested in trigging for the nest itself but she was quite particular about what went into the bowl, and chose those materials herself. Then she would sit down and appeared to be taking the comfort level into consideration, so perhaps this is Rosie doing the same.

She then rose back up after a few moments, checked the perimeter and took off.
Ah ha! Now both hawks are in view, one on the flagpole...
And the other on the corner of the building.

Much more to come!!!

Donegal Browne