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Friday, June 11, 2004

Prospect Park with Sean S.

There's a talkative mockingbird on a television antenna across the street from me right now. He seems to have a great appreciation for Red-tailed Hawks as their "keeeer" call and various chirps are a large part of his vocabulary. His chatter has forced me to sit down at the keyboard and write today's report.

I received a message from Mary yesterday regarding the nestlings. She followed up with an e-mail:

"I was at the nest around 4:00 I think, and one of the babies was gamboling about in the branches. It kept spreading and flapping, and then occasionally hoping/flying about three feet to another branch. Eventually one of the parents flew into the nest (it had seemed empty, but then I saw the other babe there). The parent did not attempt to rescue the adventurer, and I think was feeding the nestling. By the time I left, the explorer was up near the top of the adjacent Locust (I think) tree. She seemed to want to get back to the nest, but that bulky body and those flapping wings made it impossible to edge through the foliage in any direct manner."

The nestlings have finally graduated to the climbing stage. It shouldn't be long before they take their maiden voyage.

When I met Sean on Payne Hill both nestlings were back in the nest. We could hear some robins northwest of the nest calling in distress. One of the adults was probably in the area. About 20 minutes after I arrived Split-tail dropped off some prey in the nest. He's an extremely attentive parent. Sometimes he'll make 3 or 4 food drops at the nest a day. He never lingers very long, except to make structural upgrades. His offspring seem to have an abundance of food as I've witnessed him dropping off prey even while the young are still feasting on a previous delivery. In the past I've seen him bringing mostly rats to the nest but this season he appears to be taking advantage of a glut of chipmunks in the park.

While one nestling rested the other scarfed down breakfast. It was difficult to see what he was eating but occasionally he would raise up his head and show us the sushi. At one point he downed an entire leg. He finished within five minutes and his full cropped bulged like a turkey waddle. I was hoping to get a chance to watch the young hawks climbing and flap-hopping today but, after this one finished eating, he just lay down next to his nest mate and went to sleep.

In my last report I asked for name suggestions for the two hawks and received some very good advise from Marie Winn. Putting my comedic name choices aside, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to stick with descriptive names. Considering the size difference between these two young hawks I thought that perhaps "Bebe" and "Alto" might be good names.
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Prospect Park, 6/11/2004
Red-tailed Hawk (2 adults, 2 nestlings.)
Northern Flicker (Payne Hill.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (Payne Hill.)
Eastern Kingbird (Lower pool.)
Red-eyed Vireo (Payne Hill.)
Wood Thrush (Sitting on nest at Rick's Place, one chick visible.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing (Several at lower pool.)
Yellow Warbler (Singing between upper and lower pool.)
Common Grackle

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

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