Monday, April 03, 2006

Green-Wood Cemetery hawk update

I met Joe, Marge and Mike the other morning at Green-Wood Cemetery. In the back of my mind I wanted to find Big Mama. I needed some kind of closure. My four year relationship with her and her subsequent disappearance had left a void in my local nature experiences. I printed out some of my digiscoped images and pedaled over to the cemetery, Below is Joe Borker's update to another regular cemetery birder:

"Marge and I, along with Rob Jett and Michael Zablocky were in Green-wood this morning to see the Red-Tails. We think it is possible that the bird you found in Dell Water is the original male of the mated pair. The lone solitary bird that used to stay low by Ocean Hill, now seem to be the consort of the female. We saw them copulating and staying close. They also seem much more focused on the nest, exchanging places and remaining for longer periods. The reason for our thinking is a bit convoluted but here it is. The lone male, now consort to the female has distinctive dark marks on his face, and a timid, demeanor. Rob, even before seeing him and from the description alone, thought he might be the bird the Prospect birders named "S**t Face" for the dark markings. SF was the low bird in the park, constantly being harassed. He appeared in Green-wood about the time the Prospect birders lost track of him. All fall and winter he stayed in a localized area around Ocean Hill and the Green-wood nest and always low, especially when other Red-Tails were soaring or present. We had many good looks at him, and saw him many times while the pair in Green-wood were in sight, both birds, so we know at that time he was not the consort. This week he is the consort. Considering his demeanor, I don't believe he drove off the original male, but more likely was simply in the right place at the right time to step in when the original male died. The female was most likely, IMHO, more than receptive due to the flush of hormones from starting the breeding cycle with the first male.

So it looks good for the Green-wood nest this year, and in a inspiration to all of us, the ugly hawkling named "S**t Face" wins the prime nest site in Brooklyn simply by hanging in the area. I think I will refer to him as "SF" now that he has earned some respect."


My bad photos were inconclusive but, by size alone, I suspect that the female is Big Mama. Sean will e-mail me better photos for comparison the next time to go to the cemetery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I've lost count of the hawks in Green-Wood Cemetery. I take it that Big Mama has moved from Prospect Park to Green-Wood and now has a new mate. It was previously noted there is one other nesting Red-tail pair in Green-Wood. Are there any other known nesting pairs there?

Sorry to hear about the dead Red-tail found in Dell Water in Green-Wood. I used to see hawks in that vicinity especially in the springtime. Most of the time they would be soaring very high overhead, but they could also be seen perched in the tree branches around Dell Water. I always thought the hawks were enticed by the flock of doves which tended to congregate around there in the spring. But I once saw a Red-Tail munching on a squirrel by Dell Water. So strange that two dead Red-tails were found at different times, but at the exact location in Green-Wood Cemetery.

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