Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Huge Day with Pale Male, Octavia, and the Eyasses, plus Irate Blue Jays and Mocking Birds

 All times PM
3:43:06  Octavia feeds the eyasses
3:50 PM  Pale Male does sentinal duty from a light fixture on the Carlyle.
4:14:18 Octavia who has been sheltering Little from the sun with her head tucked, suddenly untucks  her head and looks towards Pale Male.  She looks a little done in.  Dealing with toddlers with sharp faces and feet is not a job for the lazy or faint hearted.

4:22:21  Nothing seems particularly untoward about Pale Male though he does seem to be focusing up.
4:31:29  Suddenly Pale Male takes off in an evasive maneuver.
 4 31 33  Ah ha!  The "little birds" are after him again.

4 39 12  More alert now, Octavia focuses on Pale Male and the  "little bird" situation.
4 47 07 Pale Male heads South with speed and goes all the way down Fifth Avenue to the 7th window on the Lions Building.  

4 54 59 Let us digress just a moment as many of you may not be familiar with the "Lion" Building as it is further down Fifth Avenue than is usual for "nest reports" and it isn't that common a perching spot these days.  (Perhaps is was used more often during the salad days of Pale Male when a flock of crows fought the hawks in a turf war.  This was before West Nile virus decimated the Crow population in the area.)

Look up at the left hand corner of the photo see the Lion?  Hence the name.  It is located past Linda, then a second adjoined building and then comes The Lions building.

Enough digression back to our saga.

Pale Male has gone rather far down Fifth Avenue not only to possibly elude his tormenters and get them away from the nest but also note he is perched in a  recessed window with a "ceiling" so the angry birds will have more difficulty nailing him in the head. 

Now back to our saga.
 4 56 13  Pale Male looks towards the Park which sounds full of screaming Blue Jays.
5 05 05 Pale Male ducks.  It was so fast I didn't even see the bird that dive bombed him.
5 05 48 Pale Male slowly stands up.
5 07 17  He has to duck again.

5 07 17 Then he's suddenly gone. Where?  I grab my stuff and head as fast as I can back toward the Hawk Bench and a view of the nest.

5 13 24  Back at the nest one of the eyasses is doing some very serious flapping and there is no mom in sight.  WHAT?
5 15 58 Octavia is on a window of the building called Barbara Walters...another structure that isn't used very often.   
                         Where is Pale Male?

TO BE CONTINUED...stay tuned.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sheep Meadow Eyasses, Fordham Nest Update, and of course Pale Male, Octavia, and the Kids

 All times PM
 5:13:34  First stop in Central Park--the Sheep Meadow Nest, Mom flew out of the trees toward the lake just as I was arriving.  
 Two of the eyasses are getting downright might be the third but she being the youngest, hasn't got the size to be regularly visible as yet.

And while I'm walking over to the Hawk Bench, how about taking a look at a super photo and note from Rich Fleisher  updating the Fordham Hawks.


...the Fordham Red-tails have three youngsters in the nest. They are nesting on the same building they have used the previous two years.  Not the best site since the youngsters when they fledge have to make it across a busy street and the MetroNorth tracks.  I attach one photo.  Others can be seen on my flickr page (

Rich Fleisher
Fingers crossed for the Fordham Hawks. Thanks for the update Rich and we'll look forward to more!

Now it's time to walk over to the Hawk Bench and see what is happening with Pale Male and the Gang.

5:58:04 Medium is bugging Little.

Octavia intercedes.
 Octavia gives Little a snack.  See Large's slightly raised foot?  She's thinking about making a grab.
 While playing referee, Octavia keeps an eye peeled for Pale Male.
\ Speaking of Pale Male, here he comes with a delivery.

 And what's for dinner?  Look carefully.  I'd say it was a squirrel.
  Good thing Pale Male excellent nest landing technique.

Note Pale Male's control.  He curves his body and raises his talons as he comes in so he doesn't slash anyone

 Safe landing
  No one is punctured.
 Pale Male takes a quick look at his progeny.

 And he's off to Woody to sit on the railing and  keep watch while Octavia prepares dinner.
It appears that Octavia is actually having her own dinner and the eyasses are leaving her alone to have it.
Pale Male heads south then circles back.
He lands on Linda and surveys the territory while Octavia eats.   Margaret, the only other watcher on the hawk bench besides myself at this hour, and I decide that now that we've seen Pale Male we'd better head home so we aren't benighted in Central Park.

But I can't resist stopping by the Sheep Meadow nest for just a moment on my way west to leave the park.
Sure enough there are two little heads still visible, still watching the world go by their tree in Central Park.

Happy Hawking
Donegal Browne

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Mystery Evening Hawking in Central Park...Sheesh!

All times PM

3:38:46  It was pushing 90 degrees in Central Park today.  Octavia spent a good bit of time with her back to the sun.
4:08:78 Octavia, panting, turns around to watch something....Pale Male?
  4:44:22 Octavia crosses the nest and stands to partially shelter the eyass on that south side of the nest from the sun.
4:54:20 Octavia crosses back to the north side of the nest and reshelters the eyass there.  The eyass on the south end is looking a little livelier.

5:12:27 There doesn't appear to be a dearth of prey on the nest.  Whenever an eyass shows interest, Octavia feeds them.
 5:17:02 Large surveys the area...and pants.

5:57:32  Pale Male sails in from the tree line over the bench. (West)
5:57:48 The is the building just past the "the lions" and  such an unusual landing spot we don't even have a name for it.
 5:58:46 Approximately a minute later a much smaller black bird comes after Pale Male.  Did PM choose this high and obvious spot so the smaller bird would continue to chase him?  There is the old chase me until I catch you Red-tail ploy for catching prey.
 6:40:57  Octavia may be watching Pale male.  The eyasses are becoming a touch more active.
 6:54:01 Beginning to loose the light.  Octavia is fixated on something happening to the west and looks as if she is deciding to take off toward it.  Her view of things is sooooo much better that what we humans have from the ground.

I look around and all the other hawkwatchers are gone.  I pack up and hit the path towards the westside.
 7:06:52  Just as I am just about to clear the treeline above Bethesda Fountain, I see a hawk being chased by numerous passerines.  Is this Pale Male still being chased by passerines?
   I watch this group go.  Then turn to my left to continue on my way...

7:07:40 I am now facing west.  Another Red-tail zooms through the foliage in the direction in which the previous Red-tail is being chased, North.  Okay who is this? Sheep Meadow Red-tail or Fifth Avenue Red-tail? 

7:12:08  I turn left to the Sheep Meadow to check if I can see either of those hawks in the group of trees where their nest is.  No joy. 


Happy Hawking
Donegal Browne

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 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