Thursday, April 18, 2013

Urban vs Rural Hawks: The logistics-NYU Hawk Cam, Rural Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk Nests

It's been raining for so many days that it has been awhile since the beginning of the saga so lets recap first. 

I'd heard about an Eagle nest and a Red-tailed Hawk nest a few miles out of town.  My friend Mike, who grew up in the area, and I went out to find them.  

Now Mike is not much of a bird watcher but his parents still farm in the area and his Grandfather was a sawyer whom everyone knew.  Why is that important?  Because Mike can have the ever important genealogy conversation.

Without it one doesn't get to square one.

You'll remember we found the Eagle's nest but the area was far from public access.  Too far to really see much or get decent photographs.

Along the way, we're also looking for the Red-tail nest I'd heard about but hadn't found yet.  

Trundling toward the eagle nest...I see a Red-tail!

 Excellent, this might be one of the hawks that belongs to the nest we're looking for.

Keep in mind that the moment the car stops the rural hawk will  take off.  It is a certainty.  The car stops...

 The hawk takes off.

I scour the trees in the direction the hawk has flownI don't see a nest.  

 But we're now bearing down on  the house of the owner of the property on which the Eagles nest is located.

 Enter Mike and the genealogy conversation.  Mike goes up to a the door of the house and asks about the nest. 

Being I'm shy of people I don't know and somewhat of a city slicker, I sit in the car.  Where I wait for the genealogy conversation to ensue.  When it is finally proved to the occupant of the house that Mike grew up on a farm not far away, and, depending on the age of the occupant, the important... "Oh YES, I knew your grandfather, or I know your Dad", occurs.  Bona vides established the question is popped as to whether I can cross their land, very carefully of course, to get within photography distance of the nest.   

That's when we find out that the occupant  doesn't really own the land, someone else does.  But you can't ask that first.  That isn't how it is done.

We're told who the occupant, who is a renter,  thinks the land with the eagle nest  belongs to.  Off we go again.
Sitting in front of a second farm house while Mike goes inside to yet again have the genealogy talk, I stare at the tree line that runs along the railroad tracks, way, way, over THERE!

Then I see a spotCould  that be an RT nest?  Do you see it?  Gotta be!

Mike returns.  Nice peopleHe says, the now eagle nest used to belong to Blue Herons.  But these folks don't own the land in question either.   But they've just come back from somewhere with the people who do own it, the Teneyks, up the road, so they'll be home.

Oh dear,  not the Teneyks.  We've been warned that they're older and just want to be left alone. Gulp.

Oh for a public sidewalk or a park bench with a view of an urban nest!  

But Mike has real farm boy stamina.  Off we go up the road again.  He appears to actually enjoy this

 Not me.

 The NYU Hawk Cam looks better and better.  Though cams can't be beat on the inner nest part of the story they're zero on the off-the-nest side.

We park in the muddy drive and Mike makes it for the door.  He goes in.  Mike is gone a long time.

The Teneyks have a very cool tiled and old style shingled silo.   I've never seen one like it.  I wait.

Mike returns. Nice enough older man, not crotchety but, "Nope".  Can't go on the land but we're welcome to take all the pictures we want from the road.

What?  I say.  From the road? Isn't a county trunk road a public area.  "Well", Mike says, "Depends on your outlook."

   As it turns out farmers in Wisconsin pay land taxes to the center of the road.  And in some of  their minds the road belongs to them as they pay taxes on it.  Particularly I suppose if the road, like this one,  is named, Teneyke Road.


Mike explains, we'll come back on a nice warm day next time.  Set up the spotting scope. Get the eagle nest in focus and then go ask Mr. and Mrs.  Teneyke if they'd like to take a look at an eagle as if it were in their kitchen.  Mike thinks eventually I'll get on the land when I prove harmless and nice and ready to make  them photos.

What a process. 

But what about that spot in the treeline?   We turn around and head back to the second farm house to look at "the spot".

I look through the scope just as one RT slides into the nest bowl and  the other leaves!!!!

Woooo hooooo!!!  Success.  What I really wanted all along!  Another rural Red-tailed Hawk nest to compare to all the urban ones!!!

Besides eagles look like they are scowling all the  time.  Grumpy.  Though I'll watch that nest too with great interest if not with quite as much love.

The view would be better closer.  And the line of sight down the track will be obstructed so not the  best.  I start looking for a better view of the RT nest and of course the farm house that belongs to it.  

 This isn't bad!  See the nest?  Now keep in mind I've not included the field that is closest to me  into this photo but still...  If the farmer would let me walk on the fence row to  the right, not shown, then cross over by the old fence row with the yellow bush that bisects it, I'd be half again closer.  Not bad at all.

We park on the side of the road.  Farmer Armstrong is driving a skid steer thingie with two big bails of fodder for his cows.  Bails the size of a car each.  Mike says one will be dry hay and the other likely some kind of fresher alfalfa. 

 The things one learns trying to see a hawk nest.  

Mike gets out of the car and heads for Farmer Armstrong who looks youngish and happy.  When Mike leans over the fence to shake hands, he actually gives Mike a big smile.  They chat.

I wait.  Attempting to look female-ish and friendly.

Yes, Mr. Armstrong knows about both nests.  He thinks they are great.  Would Mr. A like some closer looks at the nest?  Some photographs?  He sure would! 

In fact I can even park in the dirt lane that goes into the field on the opposite side of the road when I come to look.  Wow.

Once again the scope comes out.  It's late in the day and the light is goingBut I still want a look.  Particularly sense the weather is supposed to be rain and more rain for half of forever

 And there she is!

 A lot of chromatic aberration due to light angle, back light, and distance but next time I'll be half again closer. 

 I may have to just borrow some hipboots and beard the rain!

After all she'll be doing it.
 Happy Hawking!
 Donegal Browne  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Scant Nest at 322 Central Park West After the Original Nest Was Destroyed by Construction Workers.

 The formel sits on the new hastily wrought nest at 322 Central Park West, after the pair's original one was destroyed by construction workers.

  The pair tried mightily to replace the nest the best they could but obviously the formel was in the midst of laying.  Note the egg on the above right has rolled out of the nest area as there is no bowl to keep it secure. 

Unless there is some reasonable layer of insulation between the egg(s) and the building it will be highly unlikely that there will be a hatch even if she manages to keep eggs on the ledge.   And with the previous cool weather in NYC, the formel was possibly uncomfortable herself without the protection of a lined nest bowl.  She has a long wait ahead of her.

The tiercel has been doing his job.  Note the fresh prey lying beside her, but human ignorance and lack of empathy may have spoiled these hawks best efforts for a family this season. 

 Photo courtesy of

Pale Male takes a turn at sitting the eggs at 927 Fifth Avenue on Saturday. (He appears to very much enjoy sitting on eggs. Sometimes his mates have a difficult job getting him to vacate the nest so they can go back to sitting.) This nest was started by Pale Male and Lola at  Christmas time of 2005 after the previous nest's destruction which was orchestrated by the 927 Fifth Avenue co-op board.

The above nest is the result of 8 seasons of industrious nest building by Pale Male and his mates.

A big thank you to the hawkwatcher who forwarded the lead photo to me.  It was sent to him by a news director who received it from a resident of 322.

More on 322 plus the new rural Red-tailed Nest coming soon.
 (This is the second post in 6 or so hours so keep scrolling down)
Happy Hawking! 

Donegal Browne 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wildlife Rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath May Stay in Long Island Minus Some of Their Animals

 Cathy Horvath of Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation

 From the WINORR Facebook Page..

Bobby Horvath wrote...
We received great news today ! Over the weekend Supervisor Venditto called me at home to discuss the situation and again yesterday as well and finally we were able to meet today to work out a solution. 

We have been granted permission to continue rehabbing wildlife with some adjustments which should benefit everyone involved. We will still be able to work from our home but will also look into alternative sites such as Tackapauasha Museum, our town animal shelter , or any other appropriate location to expand long term . Cathy and I are very happy and look forward to work with our town and all the other agencies we have served over the years. 

We appreciate John Venditto's acknowlegdement of the important work we do and today his actions backed up what he has said to me over the past few days. We want to thank all the people who have publicly supported us starting with Robin Lynn and the petition she started on our behalf . I've never been involved in anything like this before and watched it start out and just grow and gain speed in no time at all. 

Thank you . 

And too all the others who took the time out on our behalf to show your support with an e mail, letter , or phone call including old friends and new, attorneys, rehabbers, rescue groups, and governmental agencies I also thank you . Over the years Ive had more than my share of media coverage but this obviously was not the type of thing I would wish on anyone. 

We are glad its over , just want to be good neighbors and will strive to improve and continue to assist whenever and wherever we can.

 The Oyster Bay town supervisor, John Venditto, was today presented with a petition with over 30,000 signatures in support of  the Horvaths.  The online petition was started by Robin Lynn of New York City's upper Westside, and publicized by many around the world, including those at the chat room of the NYU Hawk Cam,

From Newsday 
 The rotating roster of animals cared for by wildlife rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath will still have a home in Nassau County -- but not at the couple's North Massapequa house. 

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and the Horvaths met Tuesday to discuss the town's animal shelter in Syosset and Nassau County's Tackapausha Museum and Preserve in Seaford as two places where long-term care could be provided for animals.

Venditto said he wants to help the couple "continue the good work they do without being obnoxious and offensive to surrounding residents."

Bobby Horvath, 50, a New York City firefighter, and his wife, Cathy, 53, a veterinary technician, may be able to keep some birds and small mammals at their home on residential North Wyoming Avenue for short-term care.

For more of this story click on the link...

For the back story...

More posts to come tonight!  

Donegal Browne 
P.S. Found the Red-tailed Hawk Nest I've been looking for! 

Monday, April 15, 2013


All times Eastern.
11:15AM-From left to right.  Rosie, a dead rat, Judson in his egg (See the pips?), Kiku, and Archie.

11:30AM  See the bit of shell that has flecked up off the rest of the egg on top?  Go slightly right and down.  See Judson's egg tooth poking through.
11:52AM   Kiku and Archie spar over Judson as she works on hatching.  Dead rat is a helpful brace on occasion.

11:54 AM  Rosie watches as Bobby heads for the nest.
11:55AM  Rosie leaves; Bobby watches.  Kiku looks at Judson.  Still working.
11:56 AM Rosie returns with a leafy wand of a branch.
11:56:33 AM Rosie places the twig.  Rosie and Bobby watch.

11:56:51 AM  Rosie, Kiku, and Archie watch Bobby leave.  Judson is otherwise occupied.  Kiku and Archie begin to spar again.  Rosie watches.  Judson appears to be resting.
12:16 PM Rosie broods.
12:42:08 PM Rosie removes egg membrane from shell.
12:42:33 PM  Rosie holds slip of membrane in her beak.
12:42:47 PM Rosie leaves nest with membrane in beak.  Eyasses alone.  And Judson has obviously finished hatching under her mother.

Happy Hawking
Donegal Browne

Fifth Avenue Update: No Feeding Yet at Fifth Avenue, And #3, Judson Hatches at NYU!

 Photo courtesy of

Longtime hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton is in Central Park today with her scope and reports no feeding yet at the Fifth Avenue nest.

4:15 Pale Male has just been relieved from the nest by Octavia.  He flew off to the Northeast.

Judson is the drying ball of pinkish fluff behind Kiku and downstage of Archie.

Much more to come today!


Sunday, April 14, 2013


 Rosie feeds Kiku as eyass 2 hatches.

The video--

11:30PM both Kiku and Eyass 2 wiggle out from under Rosie's brease. She feeds a few bites and then  pushes them back under her.
 3AM  Kiku, Eyass 2, and egg visible under Rosie.  Egg at least from this side and with this light shows no visible crack.

Rosie was restless now and again.  She fed a few tidbits again at 5AM Eastern.

 And don't forget to sign the petition in support of the Horvaths and WINORR if you haven't already!

Donegal Browne