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Friday, June 04, 2004

Prospect Park hawks with Elliotte H., Grace M. and kids

I had arranged to meet at the nest with one of the teacher's from the Audubon Center and some kids along with their parents. I arrived at a little passed 2pm and only pulled out the first section of my tripod's legs. The central tube extends high enough that I could still use the scope (with a little hunching over, anyway) until the kids arrived.

One of the chicks was lying down, resting, with a leg hanging over the side of the nest. His sibling was, as expected, preening on the far side of the nest. At around 2:45pm Big Mama flew into the nest and the three hawks all stood with their heads tipped down into the center. It looked like a prayer circle. The adult hawk then began tearing into a rat that had apparently been dropped off earlier. As developed as the nestlings have become in the last week Big Mama still gently fed them pieces of the rodent. I was ambivilant about whether I thought the pre-school kids on their way to meet the hawks would enjoy watching the feeding. It ultimately didn't matter as they finished their meal by the time the group arrived at Payne Hill.

After the feeding Big Mama departed. A few minutes later Split-tail arrived with a two foot section of tree bark and arranged it in the bottom of the nest. When he left one of the chicks decided that it was a new toy. He bit at it and tossed it around for a couple of minutes before losing it over the side of the nest.

Grace eventually arrived with a few adults and three young children. I had to lower the scope a lot. I'm usually a little concerned about young children's ability to use a telescope but these kids were great. As an added bonus the nestlings were actively flapping their wings and preening. After looking through the scope, one little girl was so excited she began flapping her arms and jumping up and down. She also took a stick and began digging for worms. I asked her if she had begun growing feathers yet.

This should be a big week coming up for Big Mama and Split-tail's offspring. I recommend getting over to Payne Hill if you have a chance.
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Prospect Park, 6/4/2004
Great Egret (Flying east over Long Meadow.)
Gadwall (Male, lower pool.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2 adults, 2 chicks.)
Chimney Swift
Great Crested Flycatcher (Payne Hill.)
Eastern Kingbird (Lower pool.)
Warbling Vireo (Lower pool.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Singing male, Payne Hill.)
Tree Swallow
Gray-cheeked Thrush (Payne Hill.)
Wood Thrush (Singing near Rick's Place.)
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing (Fairly common, fly catching at edge of pools.)
Northern Parula (Payne Hill.)
American Redstart (Near upper pool.)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (Lower pool.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Mallard, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (Payne Hill.), Downy Woodpecker (Payne Hill.), Blue Jay, American Crow, Tufted Titmouse (Payne Hill.), American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

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