Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Palemale, County M Red-tails, Sheepskin Pond Eagle Nest, Squirrel the Kitten, Doorstep Dove, Ravens, and Richard the III

 Pale Male observes his domain from a railing on the Linda Building photo
 courtesy of www.palemale.com/
Central Park observers report as is typical in February, Pale Male is twigging the nest and working on renovations to the nest for the coming season.  If this year is typical, copulation will begin soon.
 As there had been a massive wind storm and then repeated snow storms within the last few weeks,  I took the opportunity on Friday to check on the Sheepskin Pond Eagle nest.  Rimed with snow but still intact, if the eagle pair chooses their former nest,which they often will, it is waiting for them to return to with the thaw for another season.
And yet another good sign for Spring nest watching, many of you will remember the pair of Red-tailed Hawks who nested in the oak tree surrounded by a field not far off County M, I saw a pair circling above the former nesting area on Sunday. Fingers crossed.
Finally, my camera was at hand when Squirrel the Kitten climbed the patio door.
He gets his claws well dug in.
Then bats at something invisible to non-feline eyes or non-feline imagination.
Ah oh, he begins to slide. 
 Toenails screeching along the wood, he watches as he slides.
His ears flatten out but he doesn't give up the descending view.
His downward momentum increases...
Then he braces his feet, leaps off, and zips away.

On Sunday, Doorstep Dove, as she so often has done in the past, perched watching the sun disappearShe saw me come to the window and we bobbed heads back and forthThen she went back to her watch and as usual flew off last of all the yard birds to roost for the night.  
Fascinating article on ravens making language gestures.
by way of Jackie of Oklahoma

Scientists have found that wild ravens make gestures, a feat even most primates can’t manage. What the birds are
 Saying, however, is anyone’s guess.

 Pointing is one of the simplest ways to communicate. In humans, hand gestures are seen as baby-steps in learning language. To some extent, science has long ignored the possibility that the handless members of the animal kingdom could be gesturing, too.

 But after two years observing ravens in the field, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology have spotted ravens doing exactly that. They’ve reported their discovery in Nature Communications.

 Raven gestures are targeted to members of the opposite sex and, like a well-timed wink, seem to be an effective way of getting attention. Specifically, the ravens use their beaks to point to or display nearby objects, including rocks, moss, or twigs.

 In an odd twist on more common bird behavior like gift giving, these objects are inedible and once a raven’s caught his partner’s attention, the birds don’t actually do anything with the materials.

 Scientists aren’t really sure what’s going on here. It could be a totally instinctive process, like a mating display, or it could be sophisticated symbolic signaling. Something like, “Did you remember to leave twigs on the nest today?”

 Regardless, the attention to objects is one more clue into the world view of crows and ravens, and—given their impressive tool use abilities—it suggests that like humans, theirs is a material world.

 For more on brainy birds, take a look at our Perch post pitting crows and parrots head to head.

AND They've finally found the remains of Richard the III under the pavement of a parking lot and yes he actually was a "hunchback".  At least Shakespeare is vindicated on that one if not on his personality.

My apologies for the lag in blogs of late, I'm having an erratic internet  connection.  Supposedly it is now fixed.  Fingers crossed on that as well.

Donegal Browne