Saturday, September 22, 2012

Contact the New Head of NYC Parks Department, Bomber the Hummingbird, Quicksilver, Pyewacket, and the Spaghetti

Why is there a photograph of a hummingbird feeder on a cold rainy day?  Look up.  There you will see Bomber.  Bomber is a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird who has territorialized my two Hummingbird feeders. 

Ordinarily she sits high in the Maple and comes blazing down on any other Hummer who attempts to access "her" feeders.  

Today is very rainy and cold so Bomber has chosen the better part of valor and decided that sitting under the eave above the little feeder waiting to go after her fellow Ruby-throats at the bigger feeder has charms the tree hasn't.

Like a roof for instance.

Why is she doing this?  It appears to be what hummingbirds do.  Breeding season is over and migration hasn't started.  She isn't interesting in watching TV so there we are.

Preservation of personal food supply?

 Bomber has taken off like a heat seeking missile, chasing another Hummer (too fast for me to catch with the camera even if I hadn't been dishing out some spaghetti for myself)  while Silver the African Grey looks on with great interest.

Okay I thought he was looking on with great interest and perhaps he was while I was looking at him, but upon sitting my plate on the table I see he's removed a 2 inch piece of carved wood from the front of the chair.  Chair is removed, the dishwasher dragged over to the door with a parrot perch on top and the parrot deposited on it.  

"Behave yourself." 

"Watch the Hummingbirds try to intimidate each other."

Silver laughs and attempts to look charming instead of conniving.
Ah, Bomber is back in position waiting for the next victim.  She's wetter than before but I assume she's just gotten an ego boost and doesn't much care.

Wait a minute.   Wet birds preen.  She isn't and I realize I've never seen a Hummingbird preen.  They must, mustn't they?  I mean they do have feathers that have to be cared for.  But with that beak...  I realize I need a fork and head for the silverware drawer. 

When I turn back around...
 Guess who is eating my spaghetti?
What?  This wasn't for me?  

(There is a reason the tablecloth is covered with plastic.)

In the meantime...
Pyewacket the Cat, using whatever kitty radar she has that allows her to appear in a twinkling when the parrot is eating people food and there may be stray snacks dropping to the floor, has arrived.
Bomber is now staring fixedly at the joint between the house and the eave.  Insects?  I forgot to get a fork.  I go back to the drawer.

Now and again Bomber appears to look down and watch Silver eating.
Silver has turned round my way for some reason.

What did I come over here to get?
Bomber has turned round toward the yard.  There must be more chasing fodder in sight.  I wait to try and catch the moment.

There is a soft thump behind me.
What is it with everybody today? 

By the way Pye isn't after the parrot, she too is after the spaghetti.
I give her a look.  She knows she isn't supposed to be on the table.

"No really, I just wanted to watch the hummingbirds too.  I'm on my way to the patio door to look out.  It's a shortcut.  Yeah, that's it."

"But wait, it wouldn't be polite for me to be on a surface with a fellow 'cat' and not touch noses.  Besides what about that spaghetti.  Done yet, bird?"

Silver discovered early on that if Pyewacket approached him, and if he yowled loudly like a cat in her face that she became confused and left.  Pye then must have decided that though he didn't look like a cat or smell like a cat, he sounded like a cat and an attempt at a nose touch was only polite in certain circumstances. 

(Did you ever notice that if one cat is on the bed and another jumps on, that the second will often touch noses with the first?  Some sort of olfactory greeting?"


A heads up from Sally of Kentucky, who's been monitoring the rat poison situation in NYC,  about a poster calling for those concerned to take action about the many deaths of our urban Red-tails of late.  This particular poster was distributed with specific  concern for Washington Square Park where rat poison has not been laid for some time.  Washington Square Park is the home of Bobby and Rosie  Red-tail and the site of their nest which has the New York Times Hawk Cam focused on it.. 

 (No we cannot be sure that Bobby and Rosie will absolutely be poisoned but if second generation rat poisons are used in the park, and as these two hawks do eat rats nearly every day, the possibility is high.)
 The dead hawk in the illustration is Ginger Lima, a previous mate of Pale Male's who's necropsy revealed she been killed by secondary poisoning from eating a tainted rat.

Do not miss Emily Frost's super piece on the hawk poisonings at DNAinfo--

Just in from Robin of Illinois about a lucky accident prone Red-tail and a lucky driver, well... we'd think he was anyway--  Red-tail bounces off windshield, lands in driver's  lap...

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pale Male Stands Vigil Plus Linda Maslin of PA's Responses from NYC Audubon Regarding Rat Poisons and Hawks

Beautiful Pale Male stands vigil in Central Park, photo courtesy of
Long time blog reader and contributor Linda Maslin has been working on the raptor poisoning problem and has been in touch with Glenn Phillips the Executive Director of New York City Audubon. 
This is a response I received from NYC Audubon.  I had received another response a month or two ago when I had complained to them about the poison, in which they said they are trying to work out the problem,  but it's on my other computer which is being repaired.
Linda Maslin
Blue Bell, PA
Glenn's response of August 4th, 2012

I've been out of the office and have gotten a couple of emails about rat poison at AMNH.  Im not sure why you would think we were unwilling to tackle this question...I will be back on the 13th, and will talk with my contacts
there. As you probably already know, NYC Audubon has been actively promoting rodent control policies that are safer for raptors. Our brochure is available on our website. We have verbal agreement from several city
agencies to follow those guidelines. AMNH is not among them, but the property they are on is technically owned by parks, so it should not be too hard to get them to conform. I will let you know.
 And the promised update to Linda from Glenn--
Just to follow up... I spoke with my contact at Parks, who had already spoken with AMNH, they have agreed to follow Parks Departments protocol, which is not to use any poison from March-August, and not to use the two most dangerous chemicals: Brodifacoum and Difethialone.

We've also spoken with colleagues at the NYS Department of Conservation, who will be helping us draft legislation that will outlaw both of those chemicals in NYC, and possibly in the state (they'd like that, but aren't sure that it is possible.)

Glenn Phillips
Executive Director
New York City Audubon
71 West 23rd Street, Room 1523
New York, NY 10010
If you'd like to thank Glenn Phillips and NYC Audubon for their efforts see address above. 
And it would be a fine time for all to write their law makers regarding the dangers of rat poison.  Get on the keyboard folks, take out that pen!


Donegal Browne