Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pale Male and Fledglings in Central Park with the NY Philharmonic and Part 2 of the Little Brown Bat

All Fledgling Hawk Photos by Stella Hamilton
Once again Stella Hamilton put on her Central Park hiking shoes and tracked down as many of the 927 Fifth Avenue family as she could find.

5:42PM Eating a rat that was delivered at 1pm according to hawk watchers.
 I am a little concerned about a rat that was delivered at 1PM unless it had been caught earlier and cached.  A midday appearing rat makes me nervous.
 5:46 PM Almost done with rat.
5:50 PM  Fledgling leaves some rat leftovers on limb.  Portion too big I guess.

Note that the fledgling at this age has learned to cache the leftovers as opposed to just leaving them on the ground as she may have at a younger age.
6:59PM  Fledgling digests rat on Cedar Hill tree.
7:47PM  Pale Male roosting early?  New York Philharmonic in the park tonight.  Too crowded and noisy.

Or Pale Male has decided he has a great seat for the concert and doesn't want to loose it. :)

Seriously though as Pale Male is an old hand at Central Park Brouhaha he would have noticed set up for the concert early this morning, (which also may have flushed the 1:00PM rat out early, that's a relieving thought) and therefore with increased prey available he hunted early then all could be battened down by the time the many many many people arrived for the free concert of the New York Philharmonic.

Thanks Stella!

       Next Up the Sick Little Brown Bat.

11:30PM  When last we saw Little Brown Bat he had crawled out of his roost onto the roof of the broken bird house and was looking flat, dehydrated, and singularly unwell
Oh dear!
 I touched his chin with the saucer...his head went up and his cute little teeth appeared.  Excellent he's responding.
 At this point I realized that as I was holding the saucer in my left hand and my camera in my right, that I might just accidentally douse him.  So I dumped the camera. Squatted down and tipped the saucer a bit, got a great view of his little vampiric looking canines and he had a nice long drink.

Then the mailman appeared...a little taken aback at first.  I explained the situation and asked him to try giving bat some water so I could get a picture of him drinking.  The bat not the mailman. 
 Bat evidentally had had enough or he didn't like the mailman's technique.   Good effort at any rate. 
 I note that little brown bat has his eyes open. Mailman then goes about his appointed rounds. See his whiskers? The bat's not the mailman's.

Digression 1- Some may ask why I didn't use an eyedropper to give Bat some water.  Well when I looked up bats to identify him, I ran across the factoid that in some areas one out of every 200 bats may be rabid and though rabid bats don't attack you like some rabid animals do, better to have one's flesh a little further away to avoid saliva.

Digression 2-  After Bat drank the water I felt that reduced the possibility of his having rabies.  As what is one technical name for rabies?  Hydrophobia-fear of water.  But then again as bats aren't dogs or people, perhaps they don't get the "fear of water" symptom.

Digression 3-Why are those extremely hot miserable summer days called "dog days"?  Because back in the day before rabies vaccine it was thought those were the days when rabid dogs would most likely appear.

 Time for some food.  But what?  I'd looked him up the day before out of curiosity and yes, Little Brown Bat is his actual common name, and he is an aquatic insect eater.

Cat or dog chow as emergency food?  As some animals react badly to the hyper protein content of cat food, for the first meal I'll go for dog food.

Having no wet animal food I nabbed the dog chow and put a couple pieces in water to soak.  What to dispense it with?  I start digging around and Ah HA!...I find the longish chopsticks my parents got when they were in Hong Kong in early 1962.  (Be careful what you throw away you just may need it to feed a bat...)

I crush the soggy dog chow, stick a glob on the chopstick, and  nudge Little Bat's mouth.  He opens his mouth to hiss, great look at those little vampire canines, I gently nudge his mouth again and he takes the blob into his mouth and starts chewing.

Wow!  He seems to like it.  Chomp, chomp, chomp.  More?  No.

I go inside, grab my phone,  and try to get a hold of a rehabber.  No answer.  I leave a message.

When I come back out...
 No BAT!!!
 Something wiggles behind the bird house!

It's little bat!
He's pulling his body up with the crook in his wing on the bird house for leverage....

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Donegal Browne

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pale Male and Fledglings from Stella Hamilton in Central Park, Rural Hawk Worm Eating, Plus A New Visitor to the Gonzo Deck and Caring for the Little Brown Bat

All hawk photos by Stella Hamilton

 6:07 PM  Back to her favorite tree near Glade Arch.

Stella tells me this is Octavia and Pale Male's eldest this year and likely female from her size.  She is also extremely fiesty.

 6:54 PM  Let me out!

Pale Head now finds herself on the wrong side of the fence.  Though at this age the fledglings understand fences so if she wants to get to the other side she knows how.  Wings do help.
6:55 PM Organic bug killing.  Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!
6:55:30 PM  More worm eating.

For those who caught yesterday's blog with the worm eating behavior, you'll remember I asked for any others who had seen this behavior to get in touch.

As chance would have it,  Bob Corning of Wisconsin has been watching a juvenile rural Red-tail and though he hadn't seen the behavior before, today Bob did see the young hawk out in a pasture eating worms!  

It appears therefore that worm eating is a rural as well as an urban juvenile Red-tail behavior.
 6:56 PM  Smile 

 6:57 PM I am OUT!

7:29 PM  Nice try.

8:21 PM   Pale Male in a tree behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art....winding his day down.

It has been awhile since we heard from Karen Anne Kolling of the Gonzo Deck.  So called because one can never tell just what species of mammal or bird is paying the Gonzo Deck a visit this time.
Photo Karen Anne Kolling

I am trying to get a photo of him or her with his wings outspread.  These are really huge birds.  I didn't realize that until this one was up close, but their wingspan must be three feet at least.

Karen, is Gull eating cat chow?

And now, last but not least Part One of The Saga of the Little Brown Bat.

I was pulling weeds out of a flower bed that backs the garage on one side and a sidewalk on the other. When suddenly leathery wings appear where I'd just pulled the last handfull and a Little Brown Bat who is hanging there hisses at me showing me ALL of his cute little teeth.

Yikes.  Needless to say I back off.  

He then settles back down to the hanging by his toes position.

I then note his eyes are open and he's staring at me.  Okaaay!

Alright.  I'd accidentally moved the broken bird house away and ripped the foliage out that was masking him.   You just never know who's mini ecosystem you are wrecking when "tidying up".
 I can't leave him this exposed so I wait for his eyes to close then move the broken bird house back in front of him so he's better masked against predators and the sun for that matter.

The next day at 11:30 AM when I first come out the door adjacent to his roost...
He is lying on top of the house looking not well at all and flattish as if he is extremely dehydrated...

End of Part 1...stayed tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of Little Brown Bat's Saga. (It's okay he makes it.)

P.S. I'm still comparing photographs in hope of figuring out when Isolde of the Cathedral nest disappeared. Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stella Hamilton Chronicles Pale Male and This Year's Fledgling Plus Documents Two Very Interesting Red-tailed Hawk Fledgling Behaviors.

All hawk photographs by Stella Hamilton
5:23PM One of Pale Male and Octavia's fledglings in a tree behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
5:32PM  Second fledgling playing.
 Play at this age often consists of "killing" inanimate objects.  Young hawks leap on a rock or a stick, grasp it with their talons and hop up and down on it repeatedly.  Often hilarious for watchers but an important skill set for young hawks to master for later success in hunting.  

5:53PM Third fledgling in tree on Cedar Hill.  All accounted for!
 6:18PM  Pulling worms and eating them.
In this photo Stella documents the first behavior she documents that I've never seen in fledglings. (There is also a second behavior coming up.) This doesn't necessarily mean it is rare but I wonder how many others have seen it as well.  Shoot me an email or chime in on the comments section if you've seen it as well.

6:20PM  Handsome third fledgling.

This fledgling,  the pale headed one in particular, truly is a beauty.  They're all beautiful in their own way but perhaps we're a little prejudiced, having watched the charismatic Pale Male for so many years. 
6:31PM Third Fledgling again.  Swooped down on greyhound and chihuahua!
Looking fierce.  This youngster also has Pale Male's brow.  Note the fledgling didn't actually sink his talons into the dogs.  More skill informing "play".
6:44PM  Autumn leaves?
This guy really wants to jump on something.
7:27 PM  Yummy beetles.

No the fledgling isn't actually purple.  Low light is causing some aberrations of color.  The important part is the beetle eating.  This is the second behavior I was talking about.  How many of you have seen beetle eating in Red-tail fledglings?
7:57PM  Pale Male on the roof of the Met.
The Monarch of Central Park oversees his progeny safely through yet another day.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Pale Male Fledgling Report from Stella Hamilton (Scroll Down for a FLASH! Concerning the Divine Isolde of the Cathedral)

All Photos by Stella Hamilton  7/7/2014

4:50PM  Octavia eating a pigeon on the Metropolitan Museum.

5:23PM  Fledgling hunting behind the Met.
5:25PM  Pale Male hunting at the reservoir
5:33PM  Can you see the baby on the obelisk? 
(Obviously it is under construction.  The obelisk not the fledgling. DB)

5:43PM Now you can really see him

6:21PM  Still on the obelisk.

(Still there.  A smart fledgling figures out early on to make themselves obvious, by begging and in obvious sight lines to any parent who might be bringing a food delivery. DB)

Many thanks to Stella for getting out and finding those fledglings!

There are two previous posts of the day, one a FLASH concerning the Divine Isolde of the Cathedral nest.  Keep scrolling down and the following post is an update from Hawkwatcher Charmain D. on a Fifth Ave. Fledgling.

Donegal Browne

FLASH! Isolde of the Cathedral Nest Has Slipped Silently Away

 This evening I read with deep and dreadful sadness that one of the Grande Dames of New York City Urban Hawks, the  long time formel of the nest behind St. Andrew's elbow at the The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, former mate of Tristan and  until recently the mate of Storm'n Norman had slipped silently away in death without it being noticed.

We watched Isolde for nigh on a decade and in that time she and her mates raised over two dozen eyasses.

   Photo Donegal Browne                        Tristan and Isolde 2006

Yes, Isolde was a big beautiful indomitable Red-tailed Hawk.

I would like to know when she disappeared so I will be comparing my photographs of her with the more current ones of the pair at St. Johns in hopes that I will be able to discover when she left us.   

One of Isolde's distinctive markings was the "drape" of her head color that went down her neck and onto her chest. She also had a "paint drip" belly band and almond shaped eyes.  Though over time her singular eyes became more common in NYC as she passed them down to her offspring.

Stay tuned.

Previous post of today is a Pale Male Fledgling update by longtime NYC hawkwatcher  Charmain Deveraux.  Next post up will be contributor Stella Hamiliton's latest update on Pale Male, Octavia, and their fledglings.

Hawkwatcher Charmain Devereaux Sends an Update on Pale Male's Fedgling!

Photo of one of Pale Male and Octavia's fledglings by Charmain Devereaux

My apologies to longtime NYC Hawkwatcher Charmain Devereaux  for not posting this earlier.  I've been having computer problems and I missed her update when it came in a few days ago.  So here is the sighting better late than never.

Hi Donna-
Sighting around 3:15 this afternoon. After following her cries (assuming female because of its size) for about 10 minutes, I traced her landing at the south entrance to the park at 79th. Made an unsuccessful catch and after giving up, decided to hop up on the stone wall and give everyone a show for at least 5 minutes. Pretty unflappable (forgive the pun) in people's presence. This one has star power like her dad. Saw PM simultaneously do a fly-over to the Met where I can only assume they'll catch up for a real meal!

All the best- Charmain

Thanks Charmain!  Keep them coming!

Monday, July 07, 2014

A Pictorial of Pale Male's Fledglings in Central Park (and a Near Death Experience) from Stella Hamilton

All Pale Male/Octavia Fledgling Photos by Stella Hamilton

Once again long time hawkwatcher and blog contributor Stella Hamilton was out in Central Park checking up on Pale Male, Octavia, and their fledglings.  Many thanks for her photos and commentary.

5:06PM I wasn't sure if it was a hawk or a turkey I was looking at when I found this fledgling she looked so big . This is a baby on the ground eating a pigeon. One other sib on tree in vicinity screaming.

Baby with yummy pigeon.  Food fight about to hatch again ?
 5:11PM What can I say, This is a big bird.  
       Fledgling mantles pigeon. 
5:11:30PM What the...?
5:15PM  Fantail Hawk?
5:23PM  Second fledgling (the paler headed one, likely a male) finishes the left over pigeon.
5:29PM Pale Head up a small tree after meal.
5:45PM Out for a stroll amongst picnic-ing patrons of Central Park.  

(And people who have the savvy not to toss any food the little hawks way, thank goodness.  Hawkwatchers are vigilant about this in particular as a young hawk who learns that people are a source of food, is a hawk in trouble. DB)
5:46PM  Are you sleeping?
6:03PM I am FULL!  All pictures taken near Glade Arch.
(Just look at that stretched crop! DB)
6:52PM VERY  DANGEROUS!  Fledgling almost hit by a taxi at Fifth and 77th.
(During the early years, one of Pale Male's fledglings was hit by a cab and killed.  All hawkwatchers could do was retrieve the body.)

7:01PM Safe on the Mongolian Mission Banner!!!!  
Many thanks to Stella Hamilton for her report.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne