Saturday, May 10, 2014

FLASH!!! Saturday: Thompkins Square Third Eyass Hatching!

Photos by Francois Portmann

Mom feeds the elder two eyasses while the third wiggles from her shell.  Note the full complement of rats Dad has brought just in case everyone is super hungry.

Also note the focus of the two eyasses being fed.  No problem with attention deficit there!

Happy Hawking!

Francois Portmann Catches a Feeding at Sheep Meadow! Plus the Decorah Eagle Mom and Eaglets And Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot

Photograph by Francois Portmann

Fabulous pro photographer Francois Portmann caught a feeding at Sheep Meadow nest in Central Park on Tuesday.

Hawkwatchers report that all is going well for these younger parents with the nest very close to that of Pale Male and Octavia.

By the way, I've reloaded the pipping photo from yesterday. (Next post down) I hope it is now visible to all readers.  For some obscure reason I could see it on my computer but some others could not.

The Decorah Eagle Cam
The Eaglets are restless, Mom checks, they settle down and she dozes.
Mom wakes and preens.
A noise.  Head up and around.  Mom peers into the darkness.  Many birds have the innate ability to be aware and functioning using one side of their brain  while the other side of the brain sleeps.  Works well for nest guarding Moms.
Then she tucks her head for a more complete sleep.

After many days of constant vigilance guarding various cavities around the house, Silver has calmed to the point he can't help himself, he naps.
Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Thursday, May 08, 2014


 Photograph courtesy of Francois Portmann
5/8th, 6:15am at TSP nest:

Francois Portmann reports that eggs are pipping at the Thompkins Square Park nest.  He also snagged a great photograph from the cam of the eggs piping...something we don't often see on a Red-tail nest.

Note the parents standing on the verge of the nest watching the progress.


Photo courtesy of
I cannot believe how large and active Pale Male and Octavia's eyasses are already.

St. John's Red-Tail Nestling (8634)
Photo courtesy of  Rob Schmunk

Rob Schmunk reports the first sighting of an eyass of Isolde and Norman's at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine nest.  As Rob points out this eyass at first sight is old enough to look back.

I absolutely love this photograph of the eyass.  For more click on the link under the photo.

And how about a look at the Fu Manchu Bunny?
Photograph by Mike Albright

Not only does bunny have a dark curved line as the beginning of his Fu Manchu mustache, his whiskers point down as well.  Plus look at that shockingly arched eyebrow.  Oh my!

Photograph by Mike Albright                            THE PEEK!

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Help Save the Red Knot! Plus Frannie the Sandhill Crane and a Buddy Across the Road (More Hawk News When Blogger Cooperates Again)

Red Knot in surf | Walker Golder/Audubon
Photo courtesy of  Walker Golder / Audubon North Carolina


The rufa Red Knot's migration nearly spans the globe. But habitat destruction and disappearing food sources threaten to ground these far-flyers for good.
The Red Knot's Atlantic flyway population has declined by 75 percent since the 1980s.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed listing the Red Knot under the Endangered Species Act. FWS is taking public comments until May 19th.

 Tell US Fish and Wildlife Service you support listing the Red Knot under the protection of the Endangered Species Act!;jsessionid=755AD2EF139C096C51C09B156E93DC3F.app338a?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1539&autologin=true&s_src=May14_ATD1

Did you do it?  Okay you can scroll down now.
 Today I decided it was time to head down the Rustic Road and go check on Frannie, the Sandhill Crane with the nest in the middle of a pond. 

As usual Frannie, the Sandhill Crane, was alert to my presence and eyeballed me the entire time I watched which wasn't more than two or three minutes.  I didn't want to disturb her.

    I'm always a little worried that she's dead, she always looks so limp when I first glimpse her each visit, until I get a good look at her eyes. 

I'd gotten a call earlier in the day from another watcher, that Frannie was up and eating while her mate sat the nest.

As I'd seen cranes feeding earlier in the season in an adjacent field, I decided to cross the road and give it closer scrutiny in case there was a nest there as well.

What is that?  A deer in the grass?  Maybe a crane.   I start pushing through the grass toward a more open spot. 

 Still on my side of the fence of course.

 Not only a different head position for stealth from this crane but while Franny looks nervous at being observed this crane has more of a "just try it"  look.

Different crane disposition?  Or is this a male taking his turn on the nest?  I don't know but even if I had the rudeness to walk up to a crane on the nest, I wouldn't pick this one to walk up to.

(DRAT!!!!  Blogger not cooperating.  Be back as soon as it will.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Stella Hamilton Called it- Three Eyasses On Fifth Avenue, An Update and Photos of the Thompkins Square Hawks from Francois Portmann and Baltimore Orioles Really Are Flame Orange

  Photos by Francois Portmann            
  The Thompkins Square Formel sits the nest in a nearly 24 hour rainstorm. 

Just in from amazing wildlife photographer Francois Portmann-

Hi Donna,
No white heads yet.  I think it will happen in the coming week!
By the way, this last storm was the 10th worst amount of rain in a 24hrs period on record.
They made it through!

Talk soon,

 Photo by Franocois Portmann

It has been raining most of  day, see the lights coming on in the park?  The Formel must be soaked to the skin but she sticks to those eggs.
Photo by Francois Portmann

Deep in the night it still rains and she has shifted position but she's still there, wet as can be.

Photo by Francois Portmann

It is now the following morning.  The soaked tiercel who has obviously been hunting in the rain, arrives with a nice fat rat, but Mom appears to have been more attracted to a  break.  She is likely in great need of some exercise to warm herself up, then she'll eat and he'll sit the eggs for awhile. 

Red-tail Hawks never cease to amaze me!  These hawks are no pussies.

Many thanks for the update Francois! 

Next up, the wonders an old orange can bring to a feeder.  

 When last we saw Quicksilver he was trying to get into the kitchen cupboard without being seen and I was cleaning out the refrigerator.

Two of the things in the refrigerator that I decided some of the wildlife might like were a slice of pineapple that had seen better days , and a rather shriveled orange.  I took them out and stuck them on the fence under the regular feeders.

A friend and I were standing at the window watching a squirrel make very short work of the pineapple slice.  He bit it and then in a blink of an eye he masticated it from one end to the other in no time at all.  WOW!

I was still digesting the squirrel and pineapple image, and watching my furry guest start in on an orange half, when my friend said, "What's that over  there?"

That, as it turns out are the nether portions of a Baltimore Oriole.  Roger Tory Peterson was right when he said they were flame orange!

He unbent and looked right where the pineapple squirrel was now starting on the other half of the orange which was closer to the windows through which we were watching.  Then serendipitously the squirrel saw us and fled.
The Oriole saw the Squirrel leave and immediately flew over to the orange the Squirrel had deserted and appeared to see us but did not appear to care.
He then went straight to work.
Shifted to a new spot, then another.
It was like he stopped for a moment, orange bits on his beak, to think.
Then he looked straight at the window, as if to say, "I'll be back tomorrow.  It better be fresher."
And he was gone.

Photo courtesy of
And last but not least, as longtime hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton called it on one of the  first days of feeding, and counted the heads today:  There ARE three eyasses on Pale Male and Octavia's nest.
Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Pale Male and Washington Heights Mom, Look the look and Quicksilver and His Craving For Cavities Part 4

Photo courtesy of

Pale Male always takes time to watch his young eyasses when he gets a chance.  I find these the sweetest moments in every nesting season.  We've all seen Pale Male focus in numerous ways.  The way he looks at prey or an intruder or at his mate, but there is no "look", which includes the set of his body while he looks, a kind of internal stillness and enjoyment, to compare to this one.
 Photo courtesy of Rob Schmunk at
 Here is the look again on the face of the Washington Heights/ Wright Park female as she watches her eyasses.  She does so much remind me of Isolde of the Cathedral Nest at St. John the Divine/Morningside Park.

By the way if you haven't been following Rob Schmunk's blog you should.  His photographs catch the hawks at lovely moments in beautiful light and his prose reflects a long affection, as well as a close attention to detail,  for the Red-tail Hawks and the nests he chronicles. 

10:40AM  It was the sound of ripping cardboard that brought me into the laundry room this morning.  Guess who?  He actually looked quite amiable.
Then he turned toward me with purpose...
 ...and I realized he was looking at and advancing toward my bare feet.
I backed up into the doorway and then he looked up.  I took the hint and left.   I'd nab the cardboard box later.  

11:34 AM I hear another sound coming from the laundry room.  A sort of TINK, tink, tink tink....

I come in, look around.  And Silver has opened the cabinet again.  I look up and he leans over amiably and blows me a kiss.  Well...he's trying charm this morning.  I'm all for that.
 I say, "Hi Hon, what you doing?"
Silver leans over and appears to be trying to get something  from under the can with his beak.
He appears to be sliding something towards himself with his beak.
He's got a penny!
He rests it on the can and lets it go.
Then he stands up and looks exceedingly proud of himself.
Good job, Silver!

4:25PM  It was getting on towards dinner and as Silver wanted to come with me I carried him to his perch in the kitchen.  But instead of staying there he flew over and landed on the microwave.  Note the bottom center corners of the cupboard doors.  Yes they've seen some attention from the parrot in last years bout with cavity finding.
4:25:58  He's waiting until I'm not looking.  I've yet to see how he opens this cupboard.  I start cleaning out the refrigerator and attempting to check in with him by slipping my eyes sideways.

4:27:39 I hadn't had more than 15 seconds where I wasn't glancing over and ...TA DA, he's got it open and I still didn't see it happen.
Parrots watch eyes with great care as do Crows.  I suspect that is the case with most bird species, particularly the clever ones.

4:28:15 We stare at each other.
4:28:27 He appears to notice something up right.
He walks across and then appears to look up.  I look up.
When I look back he has his beak pressed to the wood.  I have no idea what this is about.  Suggestions?
Then he walks back across, ducks his head under the door and stays that way until I pick him up and leave the room.

I have no idea what the last two moves were about.  ???  If you do let me know.

Happy Hawking!