Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pale Male and Octavia Go About Their Business and the Hawk at Sheep Meadow

5:13:58 PM (All times PM and Eastern) In answer to yesterday's question, the prey appears to be a starling.  See the legs? And all six eyes of the youngsters are glued to it.
5:14:16  Pale Male lands with the next course.  It appears that Octavia has no problem with doing the food prep...plucking etc. 
5:15:42  Octavia preps dinner.  Large flaps attempting to make a grab for the prey.  O gives him "the look".
5:16:16 Not to be daunted, when Octavia turns toward Little, Large shoves in for the grab. 
5:16:16 Octavia gives Large a poke and he flattens out.
5:18:51  While Octavia attends to something in the sky, Large goes in for the grab.
5:19:22  No joy.  Large tries for an end run and Octavia goes back to her business.

 5:21:54 The distraction?  Pale Male has now perched on Linda One.
5:24:07 Octavia continues with her dinner.
5:28:18 The patient eyass on the left gets some bites.
5:29:52 Pale Male is is still perched on Linda One.  All's well.

When I first arrived at The Park, I decided to stop by the Sheep Meadow nest.  The area is crammed to the gills with people.  

Nonetheless I decide to walk over to the Sheep Meadow nest.  I haven't gotten a good look at the adults yet.

In the copse of trees that hold the nest there is blanket after blanket of picnicking families.  I really have to watch my step as I'm walking and looking up at the same time...typical of a hawkwatcher.  Also this nest is notoriously hard to find even after you have found it before.  The first day after Stella Hamilton took me to the area, I found it right away...today I'm finding myself skirting picnic blankets and coming up with zip.  (We're so used to building nests...hey, they have an address and everything, that we have to switch to a different part of the brain to find a tree nest.)

So  I'm scanning, being careful not to walk on picnic blankets...and I see a hawk sitting above all the hoopla on a branch.  
 He gives me a look.  Drat, now that we've made eye contact he's going to fly to parts unknown. 

 Not a chance.   What does he do?

He preens. He looks around.  Gives himself a good scratch.  This is one human habituated hawk.  

Well he'd have to be if he has a nest at the Sheep Meadow now wouldn't he?

When I get round to see his face, hawks from the past start flashing through my mind.  He is soooooo familiar in so many ways but I have never seen him before.  His face is as dark as Charlotte, Pale Male Junior's mate. The reddish brown of his neck spreads down his chest like Isolde late of the Cathedral Nest.  He's small and shaped like Pale Male and  Junior and Tristan.  

Look at that ease and tucked foot.  It is pure Pale Male and Tristan, often called Pale Male III.

This is a tiercel of Pale Male's line.  Do I have DNA testing?  No.  What I have is a hunch, an educated guess.  And as it turns out there is a special place in the brain where hunches are made.  A place where all sorts of disparate information is pulled together and part of this hunch isn't just how he looks, it is about how he acts as well.  Could I be wrong?  Sure.  But I truly don't think so.

I've just spent years studying non-urban Red-tails.  This bird is born and bred urban.  He's sitting 15 feet above hundreds if not thousands of people and he's relaxed enough to preen and sit with a foot tucked.  

Trust me.  He is urban bred.

I'll be heading out to the park to see what they are all up to before long.  Stay tuned and....

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Sally said...

Wonderful reading your posts from NYC again!