Sunday, June 25, 2006

Baby Huey fledges

Marge just sent word that Baby Huey of the Green-Wood Cemetery hawk nest has fledged. I believe that this is the latest fledge of any of the Red-tailed Hawks that I've kept tabs on. Better late than never. I'll post some photos tomorrow.

"Subject: Baby Huey Has Fledged!
Date: 6/25/06 5:43 PM

I was eager to get to the cemetery to see if "Baby" had fledged. Yesterday was a rainout and Allison was there on Thursday with Baby still on the nest.

As I approached the nest area I heard hawk vocalizations coming from the top of the hill in back of the hillside masoleum. I looked at the nest and found no baby. Now Im off to follow the sounds. Rob alerted me to the sounds robins make when near raptors, so that was a big clue as well. I went slowly up the hill past Henry Bergh and looked at every tree. I then went up on the road behind Henry Bergh following the robin sounds and out flew an adult. Where is baby? I now drove around and around the same area looking in the trees and out of the corner of my eye I see baby sticking out like a sore thumb sitting on top of a masoleum right in back of the hillside masoleum. I was so busy looking into trees that I never suspected him to be right out in the open. He obviously flew right out of the nest and up onto the hill. I assume he fledged today, perhaps in the morning. I went to the other side to get a different angle and he flew on top of a obelisk. He looked like the Eagles you see on a flag post. I walked right up to him. He did not budge and couldn't care less about me. I stood directly below him and took some lousy pictures with my camera phone. I took a couple of minutes to get the best look at him so close up. Rob, I wish you were there with your camera. This of course disturbed me because he is an easy target for anything.

I walked back to my car and used it as a blind. He is very tentative about flying and attempts to take off and stops. He then flew back on top of the masoleum, which I would say is only a distance of about 15' from the obelisk. He had a nice strong wing flap and good take off. That was assuring. He then started to vocalize and out came Big Mamma. I felt like I was witnessing a very special moment. Big Mamma had a sparrow in her talons. Then Junior appeared. All 3 hawks were now vocalizing. Big Mamma & JR sat on the same pine bough together for a couple of minutes. I got to notice how light the feathers are around Big Mammas head. She then went to Baby with the prey but then took off with it..Baby was able to get a piece of it in his talons. Big Mamma and Jr kept flying near Baby and back into the nearby tree. My guess is they were trying to lure him off that masoleum and into a tree. No luck. So Big Mammo alighted onto the masoleum (with mobbing mokers & excited robins all around) and handed off the sparrow to Baby. She then took off. Jr sat in a tree nearby vocalizing for about 20 mins..Once again I suspected he was trying to get him to join him in the nearby tree. Then Mamma & Jr flew off and left Baby who would intermittently vocalize. It was like a child crying for his parents. I left for a few mins and returned to find baby sound asleep, head tucked in, on top of the masoleum. He is so out in the open it bothers me. I notice that the Robins dont get so excited by Baby and the mockers dont even bother him.

I saw a person walk right below him, taking pictures of headstones, and never noticed him. This hawk doesn't flinch for anything.

My guess is he will be on that masoleum or in close vicinity tomorrow. He is still extremely tentative about flying. Quite frankly, I would feel better if he was up in a tree. Then again, racoons cannot climb the masoleum. I would love to see another day of Big Mamma, Jr & Baby interaction. It was so special. I loved it.

Marge"


Follow-up:

I just received the following interesting fact from D. Bruce Yolton:

"Subject: Fledge Dates
From: D. Bruce Yolton
Date: 6/25/06 8:47 PM

Because they were laid from a second clutch of eggs, last year's Central Park South eyasses fledged on July 21st and 22nd. These two fledglings might have claim over Baby Huey as the latest NYC fledglings."

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