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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bad news from Green-Wood Cemetery

I just received the following e-mail from Joe Borker.

"Subject: Red-Tails in Green-wood
Date: 3/31/06 11:02 PM

First, the good news, I had the pair in the Oak trees along Cypress Avenue and the nest. Both in the same tree about a foot apart, with one of the hawks holding a dead Flicker in their talons. Birds were directly over my head about 20 feet up. It felt like they were primordial beasts, especially when the holder of the Flicker started to feed.

Now the not good news, I received a telephone message from Allison Cobb, a birder who found a dead Red-Tail in Dell Water this morning and remembered my find of the female last spring in the same pond. I went and found the bird in the water. Smallish, I think a male, but seemingly healthy, except for the fact of being dead. By which, I mean not emaciated. Smallish, but muscular. Floating facedown in the water, the bird looked fresh. When I pulled the bird out of the water, the breast and legs had algae growing on them, so it seems the bird has been in the water for a few days. Marge and I saw the lone individual Red-Tail on Monday, I would love to hear if that bird been seen since. It has been warm, so maybe it is possible for the algae to grow so quickly since Monday. It is interesting that both hawks were found in Dell Water. Neither bird had signs of trauma or abuse so I don't think they are being dumped there. Maybe there is something about the area that attracts sick Red-Tails."

I hope that the cause wasn't a poisoned pigeon or rodent as it could affect our other raptors. What about West Nile virus, it that still an avian threat? Maybe if the bird was submitted to Ward Stone, the NYS Wildlife Pathologist, the cause of death can be determined.

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