Friday, June 13, 2014

Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot Renovates a Different Metal Cabinet...sigh

As is usual with Quicksilver's unique adventures in cabinetry...I heard a clang and a bang.  I knew where to go.  

The laundry room.

And he'd really done it this time because this cabinet had loads of cardboard in it's various incarnations plus some rubber gloves.  A definite chewy favorite.
I then get face.  I realize, I really don't. 

You truly can't reason with a parrot in a cabinet.
 He then leans down and grabs the inner edge of the cabinet door and gives it a pull.  I get some satisfaction that he can't totally dis me by closing the door.  He's got two much chewed stuff in the floor for the door to close.

I resist the urge to go ...Nahhh, na na Nahhh Na!

I make a move to go over and start picking up some of the trash on the floor.

That would be a big fat NO, in Silvers mind.  He leans over and looks at my hand with juicy thoughts.

Okaaaaay.  I back down. No picking up of anything at the moment.

Silver cocks his head and gives me the positive reinforcement of a kissy noise.  It is then I realize he's looks very tired and likely wants to take a nap.

I say, "Nap?"  He says," Nap".

"Okay, take a nap." 

I turn and start to go and Silver says, "Bye, See you later."

"Have a good sleep.  See you later."


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Samantha Browne-Walters...Midafternoon at the Cathedral Nest

Daughter Sam hopped on the subway and arrived up at the Cathedral Nest a little after 3PM.  There wasn't a hawk in sight.  (But this is my favorite view of the nest.)  

She traversed the area, checking all the favorite perches, and no luck.  There wasn't even any begging going on.  Either everyone had eaten recently or more likely Isolde was out of fledgling sight, hunting, and the big three were snatching a wee nap in her absence to be able to beg all the louder when she reappeared.
Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
With the dearth of hawks, Sam took note of the construction going on at St. Johns.  Back in the day the nest overlooked the physician parking lot for the hospital on the other side of the street.

Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters 
Here's a little peek into the construction site of what will become an apartment building.  It isn't clear just how the structure will affect the nest but several watchers have commented that this will be the last year for this particular nest location.  We shall see.  

                           Never underestimate a Redtail.

Sam continued to scour the area without luck and then hopped back on the subway disappointed.

Rob Schmunk had better luck in the early evening.  
Click the link above for more!

Stella Hamilton visited Central Park this evening to check on Pale Male and Company but I haven't received her report as yet.  When it comes in you'll be the first to know.

Happy Hawking!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Evening Feeding by Pale Male (Fourth Post of the Day)

Photos and commentary by Pale Male Irregular Stella Hamilton

6:07PM Here is Pale Male on the ground with a freshly caught rat under his talons . We were standing along the fence on 5th Avenue and 78th street .
Photos and commentary by Stella Hamilton

 Here's the baby eating the rat that Pale Male brought.

This is the fourth post of the day, therefore keep scrolling down. You'll have to go to the next page as well to complete all of today's posts.  

To get to the next page, hit "older posts" at the bottom of this page.

Happy Hawking!

How Can Isolde Possibly Feed and Care for Three Fledglings Without Norman? (Third post of the day.)

Photo by Robert Schmunk
                        Isolde monitors the situation.

I have received any number of emails from people extremely concerned about how Isolde, the formel at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine nest, will be able to feed and keep watch over her three newly fledged youngsters without her mate Storm'n Norman to help.  

Norman is currently in rehab with the Horvaths and will continue to be for 5 or 6 more days.

First off  let me say, the world is a dangerous place.  And sometimes bad things happen to young hawks even with both parents in attendance.

That said, barring bad luck, of any formel in the city Isolde is probably one of the females best equipped to pick up the slack of caring for her young without the help of her mate for a week.

How's that?

   Photograph by Donegal Browne
 Tristan, left,  and Isolde, right, in 2007-A comparison of size.

First off Isolde is a very very big girl.  

Tristan, thought to be Pale Male's son, was about Pale Male's size and Pale Male doesn't look all that much smaller than his mates, right?

Well look at the difference in size between Tristan and Isolde.  

Isolde is a very large, very strong Red-tailed Hawk.

We don't know Isolde's age exactly but she is over ten years old.  She is in her prime physically.

Isolde is an extremely competent huntress.  Back in the day when she first took Norman on, occasionally while she was sitting the eggs, he'd show up his crop stuffed to maximum size to "guard the nest" without bringing Isolde a meal.  She would give him the dirtiest of looks,  fling herself off the nest and into the air to hunt for her own supper.

Norman being a young dope, would look stunned and confused. His job was guarding the nest, repelling invaders, duking it out with all comers.  Whatever was Isolde doing?  He'd look at the nest and then look at Isolde flying away.

What to do?  Eventually he'd decide he was supposed to sit on the eggs.

And before long, Isolde would return having hunted for herself and eaten in no time at all so she could return to the nest and make sure Norman wasn't screwing up somehow yet again.

But, you ask, just how is Isolde going to hunt for four?  

Isolde is an extremely competent and skillful huntress.  She knows how to get down to business.

One of the things an experienced formel does while sitting up there on the nest day after day, hour after hour, is, she watches prey patterns.  She knows who goes where and when and how.  She has thousands of images of prey patterns all neatly filed in her head to be used in hunting once she is back in the game and hunting for the fledglings.

Isolde will be using that information to good effect for the next week and thereafter.

Isolde also knows her territory inside out.  She's been there for years and years and years. 

 She also knows where the fledglings will likely be at any given stage of their development.  

Plus Gabriel on top of the Cathedral is one of the absolute best hawk perches in the city to see anything she cares to.  

To say nothing of all the levels available  by using the other extant perches on the  Cathedral to watch prey and the kids both.

Besides as one reader pointed out....
Photo by Donegal Browne
You never know.  There just might be the spirit of a fierce indomitable little hawk called Tristan, to help her out in a pinch.

(This is the third post today. Keep scrolling down if you haven't caught them all.)

Happy Hawking...
Donegal Browne
P.S.  Samantha informs me she is heading uptown today to check on Isolde and the little ones just to make sure all is going as it should.

Stella Hamilton Reports-- the Last Eyass Flew the Coop on 927 Plus What the Family Was Doing This Evening! (Second Post of the Day)

Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters

I learned this afternoon that the 3rd baby had fledged off 927 Fifthe Avenue. Again, no witnesses . It has been raining on and off this afternoon. I arrived in Central Park around 6:30 pm to find the baby hawks perched on tree tops around Alice in Wonderland statue. Pale Male has been very busy trying to hunt around the 76th street playground for his trio. 

At times, bluejays would dive bomb him on the head . Anyway, it got dark really fast. Looks like more rain is on the way. I did not see Pale Male with prey . 

 Octavia was heard calling somewhere along the Glade Arch . 

That's my report for now . Will visit again tomorrow. 

(Keep scrolling down to read the first post of the day.)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Flash the Third Eyass is Off Pale Male's Nest plus Why Was Stormin' Norman, the Male at the Cathedral, Dead and Now He's Alive?

Photo courtesy of Rob Schmunk

Stella Hamilton reports that the third eyass has fledged off Pale Male and Octavia's Nest!!!

 Stella's report will be posted as soon as I excise it from my email...but in the meantime...

Sally of Kentucky asked, I paraphrase, what is the deal with Norman, Isolde of the Cathedral Nest's mate.  First we hear that he was dead and now he seems to be back.

First off though, before we get to that, Rob Schmunk posted an update on how Norman is doing.  A few days ago he was found grounded.  He was weak and very thin.  Off he went to the Horvath's wonderful care at WINNOR.   

Norman had an infection which was keeping him from eating.  As of yesterday Rob reports news from the Horvaths, that Norman is much better as he is capable of taking on whole prey at a meal.  Though he still needs to get his stamina back so he'll be staying on another week at WINNOR.

(And as wildlife rehabilitators may not be paid for their services and exist on  donations, here is the address if you'd like to lend a financial hand for all the wonderful service the Horvath's do for wildlife and Norman in particular. Tell them Norman says thank you.

202 N. Wyoming Avenue
N. Massapequa, N.Y. 11758)

Now back to Sally's question, and the Norman dead/Norman alive issue.

After the hurricane that hit New York City, a hawk was found dead in Isolde and Norman's territory.  Isolde had been seen but Norman had not been so it was assumed that the dead hawk was Norman.

Let me also say that Norman's coloration and type of physique are relatively common in Red-tailed Hawks.  I always identified Norman by his behavior, the fact he was in the territory during breeding season and was hanging out with Isolde plus his personal idiosyncrasies.

When attempting to figure out if one of a pair has died and a new mate arrived, Norman's common plumage was no help. Nor the fact that of course a new mate would be in the territory and familial with Isolde.  

What made Norman or actually Stormin' Norman identifiable was his breakneck no holds barred bring 'em ALL ON behavior.

So  when breeding season was warming up, a hawk with common plumage showed up in Isolde's company.  As the assumption was that Norman was dead, the next assumption was that Isolde had just chosen a new mate who looked similar to Norman.

But some of us began to realize that Isolde's "new mate" behaved very much like her old mate Norman.  For instance, Tristan Isolde's previous mate was the perfect experienced Dad.  He always did the last feeding of the day so Isolde got a break.  He'd bring food and stay awhile.  He and Isolde would watch the eyasses together for awhile some days.  Tristan would often be visible keeping watch on the territory from across the street from the nest.  Tristan was a very calm stealth hunter much like Pale Male.

Norman on the other hand was a young boffo hawk who liked a good fight.  His hunting technique was more of a scare all the pigeons up in the air and see if he could grab one.  Then he'd come by the nest and almost literally throw prey in on a fly-by.  Then he'd disappear to go patrol the perimeters of  the domain again.  

Now Norman has settled down to some extent, for instance, if you look at the above picture you'll note that Norman has a feather on his beak which may mean he actually prepared the prey before delivering it but he still acts like Norman.

  Many hawks, and Norman is no exception, tend to favor certain perches within their territory, personal hunting behaviors, and favorite roosts.

After mulling over the look and behavior of the current haggard mated with Isolde, it is a case of... he looks like Norman, he acts like Norman, I'm reasonably sure it is Norman, therefore  I'm calling him Norman.

Tomorrow, Wednesday , we're trying for updates as they happen from the field from Samantha Browne-Walters at the Cathedral Nest.  

With Isolde attempting to wrangle and feed three youngsters on her own, Sam decided she should go uptown and make sure all is well with them.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Pale Male Attempts to Tempt Third (the unfledged eyass) Off the Nest

Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters

For the past two days, we decided to try something new.  Longtime hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton, and my daughter also a long time hawkwatcher as she started when she was ten or so and is now in college, Samantha Browne-Walters have been casing Central Park for Pale Male, Octavia, Fledge 1, Fledge 2, and the above hard case, Third who does not want to leave the nest.  When Stella or Sam catch one of the hawks in the act they text me an update and I immediately post it on the blog from my computer.  Therefore readers can get the latest in real time.

We're still ironing out the glitches for update photos in real time so this evening I'm posting the pix which went with the earlier updates today of the on the spot sightings.

Here we go!

2:31 PM Above, still on the nest is, I'm calling him Third, the eyass who just doesn't want to take the leap.  You'll note as usual with a hard case he is spending quite a bit of time alone.  Pale Male and Octavia are out hunting and looking after Fledge 1 and Fledge 2 who need more looking after as they are out in the world.  Third is safe, and he is fed, visited, and checked on but it is likely pretty lonely up there after the previous crowd before everyone left.
2:33PM  Third decides to do a little preening.

But as we will see, Pale Male has decided it is time that Third left the what does Pale Male do?

Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
2:39 PM  He soars a giant circle around the Model Boat Pond and above the buildings on Fifth Avenue.

 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
2:40PM  Then Octavia gives it a try by soaring by.

 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
2:45PM  Then here comes Pale Male again.

 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
 Third takes some interest.

 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
2:49PM  Nope.  Not going to look...
  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
Full wide display, see its fun.  And isn't  there a little something in Pale Male's beak?

  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
Wait!  Is that a MOUSE in Dad's beak?
  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
2:50PM  Okay I'll flap.  See I'm making an effort.
    Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters                                       
                                           Still flapping!
Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
Where'd he GO!
Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
2:52PM  He better not be eating it.
   Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters

Hey, somebody could bring one of those up to me.  I could eat a duck.
    Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
Fine.  I'll preen.
 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
What now? 

 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
 3:13PM  What is that? 
  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
    I'm eating it.

 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
3:22PM Pale Male on another circuit flies between Woody and Shipshape. 

   Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
 Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
          Third sees Pale Male

  Photo by Samantha Browne-Walters
And Third starts to flap.  There may well be a sympathetic mimicry for wing flapping once eyasses reach a certain maturity.  And Pale Male being an experienced parent is well aware of it.  Part of his reason for making periodic circuits in full view of Third, perhaps?

I'm still working on extracting Stella's photo from my phone so look forward to Fledge 2 with her rat next post.

To see Sam's  original updates from earlier today scroll down and hit older posts to get to the next page.
Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne