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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Red-tailed Hawk update

Rose and offspring

(Photo credit - Rich Fleisher)

Yesterday I received e-mails from both Rich Fleisher and Chris Lyons regarding Hawkeye and Rose's nest on Fordham's campus. The subject lines read "Two hatchlings!!" and "Two! Two chicks in the nest!". I was very excited by the news especially since I haven't had the time to check on the Prospect Park hawks. When I got home tonight I had the following e-mail in my inbox:

"Subject: Hold the presses--THREE chicks in the nest!
From: Christopher Lyons
Date: 5/16/06 6:30 PM

I made another visit to the nest after work this evening (5/16), and after seeing nothing at all for about 15 minutes, I saw one fluffy (slightly tawny) head poke up. Then another. Then a third. Three eyasses on the Collins Hall nest. Maybe there'll be ten tomorrow. I give up. Hawkeye and Rose will always be one step ahead of me.

There was lots of wing-flapping, and a fair bit of projectile excreting over the edge of the cornice. Thankfully, Collins Hall is largely abandoned, now that the spring semester is over.

I am increasingly of the opinion, watching the hatchlings move around, that the pigeon spikes don't go all the way back. Maybe they were flattened out in places, maybe there's only a few rows of spikes in front--enough to hold the sticks in place, but not enough to be a serious problem for the eggs or chicks. I'm going to try and find out. But I'm still not convinced the pigeon spikes are the only reason the 927 5th Ave. nest failed this year. Nests built on these things seem to have an unusually high success rate, overall. Hawkeye and Rose only had two chicks last year, in their conventional oak tree nest. And again, if they're the same pair who built a nest on that Creston Ave. fire escape, they had two chicks the year before that. This year, they have three--plus the one that died. At least four eggs, all of them viable, leading to three healthy eyasses.

And Travis & Jodie have three chicks in their oak tree nest in Van Cortlandt Park, so the tried and true methods have their place as well.

Now I'm wondering which set of triplets will start fledging first. Although some of them almost certainly won't make it through their first year, I hope all six get a chance to fly."

If the weather holds I'll monitor the Prospect Park hawk nest and post some photos.

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