Friday, October 26, 2012

Herzog on the Current Fifth Avenue Fledgling Situation, and the Coming of the Winter Birds

  Photo courtesy of
Pale Male keeps his eye on things, as usual.

An update from Katherine Herzog, long time hawkwatcher,  who has specialized in Central Park Red-tails, particularly Pale Male, for many years
She's been down with bronchitis but is passing along the news from The Central Park Hawk Grapevine...

 Hi D - 
There have been sightings of the fledglings....near Bow Bridge and The Ramble....though they are usually operating independently.  Someone saw one of them eating a rat on a tree near Bow Bridge (didn't see if the fledgling had caught it or if it was delivered by Pale Male).

Others have seen Pale Male and his new consort (Lincoln named her "Octavia" as she is his 8th female companion) flying with "the 2 fledglings" over the sailboat pond.  Problem is:  with the skies full of migrating raptors - how can one be sure these are Pale's fledglings and not just migrating juveniles passing through his territory?  Pale Male flew with them but his consort attacked them and drove them off....if PM is to continue to provide food for his offspring, he'll have to do it on the sly.  The "wicked step-mother" is having none of it!

 You're right that the fledglings were just starting to hunt (I think they fledged around the 20th of June - just weeks before they were picked up for rehab)....they were hunting mice and rats (most likely slow moving rats having eaten lethal doses of rat poison).

When I hear more - I'll pass it along. 

All the best, Kat

  A NOTE...
Calling Octavia "wicked step-mother", is a joke. Kat and I both know that Octavia is doing what likely comes quite naturally to her while being courted by a new mate in which the pair bond has as yet been consummated.  Other hawks are her competition and unlike Pale Male she doesn't know his progeny from Adam. 

Kat is also right that at this time of year, there are many migrating Red-tails passing through Central Park and Octavia no doubt feels they should stay out of her conjugal territory.  

Pale Male and Lola knew after years of watching together that many of the new hawks would be gone in a day or two.  And even those that stayed in the Park to overwinter, due to the luscious prey base, would eventually disperseAnd the yearlings that didn't bug out with the rest, were no match for the pair come time to harden the territory's  boundaries when their hormones told them it was time to get serious.

Octavia will likely calm down as the years progress, but as we all know not only is Pale Male the Monarch of Central Park, but he is the King of Stealth and downright crafty besides.  Perhaps not only will his rehabbed watch him in his hunts and therefore learn their craft, but perhaps he'll periodically elude Octavia's eye in order to augment their diet.

And the Wisconsin report-- The Winter Birds Arrive, and the Walmart Red-tail.

The Dark-eyed Juncos have returned.  First it was the females and now the males, like the one above, have arrived.

An immature White-crowned Sparrow perhaps?
And last but not least the Walmart Red-tailed Hawk, who was last seen on the blog, with a Red-wing riding her back, cruises unfettered.

Donegal Browne