Friday, June 19, 2015

Pale Male Plays Decoy, Little Rules the Roost, and Large Is Convinced She is Dying of Starvation.

 When last we left Pale Male he had just prepared a meal for the fledglings  or possibly for Little the eyass still left on the nest in Central Park while being attacked by a Northern  Mockingbird pair, Mimus polyglottos.  After finishing the chore Pale Male has flown out of the Park and landed on a building on Fifth Avenue near 65th St.  One of his attackers has followed him and is continuing the harassment.
 So far Pale Male just keeps his eyes averted and  leans away from the Mockingbird.  
 Pale Male just keeps sitting there.
 He appears to be attempting to look as stoic as possible.

One reason for making himself such an obvious target is to keep the Mockingbirds from attacking the fledglings. They are not used to such harassment and might be scared from a reasonably safe perch into any number of  not so safe scenarios, like traffic for instance. Also it gives Octavia a chance to hunt in peace.
 See the Mockingbird to the left of the aurette?
 It looks like this one could be a rear attack.
Let's take a moment to talk about hypotheses or in laymen's terms "hunches".  (By the way, hunches and hypotheses are not "fantasies", they are the staple of the Scientific Method and have been since the 17th Century.   I previously thought that perhaps Pale Male's lean to  the left, north,  might have something to do with the fact that the Mockingbird was on his right, south.  That was my mini- hypothosis which has proved to be incorrect. 
 Pale Male is still leaning left with the Mockingbird on that side.  Therefore I posit the lean has something to do with being in position to take off with prey in his right talons or perhaps to see something through a break in the park trees.
 The next thing I'm going to hypothesize about is that if you'll note, Pale Male began this Mockingbird episode by looking north while the Mockingbird was on the south.  I have noticed that he tends to keep his eyes away from Mockingbird  attacks.
 In this case he seems to be shifting his gaze from north to south as things progress.  I wonder as I've not seen her since I arrived if Octavia is traveling through the park and he's keeping an eye on her as Red-tailed Hawk mates tend to do with each other.
That can happen with eyasses as well, but in this case we know that Little is still on 927, Medium is  full cropped on a railing not far from him on Fifth Avenue.  We still haven't spotted Large but she would not be moving as fast as his gaze so the best bet is either Octavia or the watching of prey for future reference.

 Pale Male increases his lean to the left, north and his face is pointing south.  Where is Mr. Mockingbird at this point?  And where is Octavia?  We still haven't seen her.
Holding the position.
 And here comes Mockingbird with a rear assault.  Pale Male doesn't even flinch.
 Same position.

And Mockingbird appears looking south as well.  Interesting.
 They both look.  ???
 Mocker heads for his elevated perch.
 Stand off.
 They stare at each other...
 And do it some more.
 Then they're back to "the game".
 Pale looks away.  Mocker stares at Pale.
 They hold that.
Has the Mockingbird now changed his focus in order to see what Pale Male may be seeing?  I do believe he has and I love this moment.  The Mocking Bird, instead of taking this moment while Pale Male is obviously focused elsewhere for a cheap shot decides to gather information that might be useful later. 
 Pale Male takes off obscured by trees.  Drat!
 As Medium is stuffed to the gills it seems unlikely that he will be getting the delivery, and we  don't know where Large is yet,  so I walk over to 927 just in case.  I haven't edited this picture for your clarity as I have the others so you can actually see the behavior just to remind you that it was a very rainy overcast day with limited visuals.  See Little way up there on the nest?  Little has the best view in the area except perhaps for the Carlyle light fixtures.  It has no overhang and lots of possible positions.
And there he is watching the action uptown from the safety of the nest.  I remind myself that just because I might be lonely as the last to fledge, Little may be having the time of his life without those older siblings up there with him.   He did seem to be having a grand time "killing" his dinner earlier.

The day before I'd seen Large just around the corner on 927 on a window balcony.  We walk north.  She isn't there today.  Stella and I keep walking uptown.  We keep hearing begging.  We try to follow the sound and suddenly Stella says,"Look!  Up there!"

And there is Large on a very narrow window ledge high above Fifth Avenue begging long and piteously.  We know she is very hungry as she has a concave crop as well as constantly begging.

More to come.  D.B. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pale Male Attempts to Prepare Dinner for the Fledglings Part III

We last left Pale Male attempting to prepare a meal for the fledglings while being the intermittent  hostile focus of the resident Mocking Birds.

That is if you've read Parts I and or II.  If you haven't read both do scroll down and read what you haven't read yet first.
Which is still the case but  Pale suddenly focuses on the prey as if it had just moved, though it is decidedly dead.
 Then he leaps on it.  Misplaced hostility actually  directed toward the Mocking Birds?
 Or a little demonstration for them to show what could happen  if they keep it up?
 Or perhaps the carcass had just begin to slide off the tree trunk.
Pale works on it a little more with that handy nictitating eyelid in play.
 He looks around to see if the coast is clear.
Then flies it back up to the position in which he started.
 To business.
 Pale Male then flings himself back, prey in talons.
 And rights himself in an assertive stance..."Just try it"!
 Checks for rear action.
Then back to business.  I was beginning to wonder if he'd ever get enough non-hassled time to actually get this to the fledglings before dark.

And by the way, just where is Octavia?  I've not seen her yet today.  That always makes us worry.
 Pale keeps cleaning and Stella and I go up to the street to check if Medium is where we last saw him.
 And so he is.  Sitting and watching the constant New York City parade of Central Park and Fifth Avenue go by
 Pale Male has almost got the prey ready for fledgling food.
It appears that the Mocking Birds may now be back yet again.


 Pale Male takes the cue, spreads his wings, and heads into the Park.

 But circles back around and lands on Fifth Avenue.
 And so does his menacing Mocking Bird buddy!

The saga continues!

Happy Hawking 
Donegal Browne