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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More Red-tailed Hawk updates

Fordham hawks

(Photo credit - Chris Lyons)

I just received the following updates from Chris Lyons. Regarding the nest in Van Cortlandt Park, perhaps it succumb to the recent, severe thunderstorms that moved through the area.

(Photo credit - Yolanda Garcia)

Subject: Update on Van Cortlandt, and pictures from Fordham
Date: 6/6/06 10:41 PM

As of Sunday, 6/4/05, there were no chicks in the Van Cortlandt Park nest. And for all intents and purposes, there was no nest. The structure was enormous, bigger than any Red-Tail nest I've ever seen, and wedged firmly into the capacious crotch of an oak, but for whatever reason, most of the sticks had fallen out. We didn't see or hear the young nearby, and the only Red-Tails we spotted that day were an adult pair soaring together, high overhead, and quite some distance away from the nest site. There was no way to tell if they were Jodie & Travis. We just hope all three youngsters got out okay. They were definitely about ready to go the previous weekend, and could easily have fledged the day after our last visit. I can't understand what happened to the nest, unless it simply collapsed under its own weight, compounded by three full grown eyasses jumping around on it, plus the torrential rain of a few days earlier. The 2004 Van Cortlandt nest is still mainly intact, but that nest is much smaller and more neatly made. The worst case scenario would be that somebody climbed up there to capture the chicks. That part of the park gets little foot traffic, and most of the time, there'd be no people around to protest such an atrocity. The nest tree would be no easy climb, though--it's not a very likely scenario. I'll have to go back and see if I can find the youngsters. But there's a lot of woods for them to get lost in around there. 

Protected by 24/7 Campus Security, Hawkeye and Rose's progeny are doing fine, and probably due to fledge in a week or so, though I'm a bit concerned about one of the larger of the three. This chick seemed very sluggish today, not getting up to be fed when Rose came by with food around noontime, or when Hawkeye was feeding the two other eyasses between 4:45-5:00pm. In the earlier instance, Rose landed on the nest, with what I believe was a squirrel, and began to prepare it. The two active youngsters watched her with great interest (they were both well outside the nest, out on the ledge, where they spend most of their time now). When lunch was ready, they scrambled into the nest, and she very equitably divided the food between them, feeding one, then the other, and occasionally herself. But the third eyass, by no means a runt, just lay on the cornice, some distance off, seemingly uninterested. Possibly he'd already been stuffed to the gills earlier, and was in the process of digesting and metabolizing his breakfast. But after eating, his two siblings started exercising their wings vigorously, while he just seemed to engage in the occasional half-hearted flap. One of them actually flew/leaped over him at one point, though there was room enough to just go around him. He did get up after a while, and there didn't seem to be anything wrong with him--he definitely didn't look underfed. But he was inactive again that evening, in spite of Hawkeye arriving with more food. His two siblings happily allopreened each other after dinner, but he mainly kept to himself. Neither parent seemed concerned--they seem to feel it's the responsibility of the chicks to come to the nest when they arrive with food. Feeding does not take place outside the nest, even though the chicks spend less and less time in it. The chicks can feed themselves by now, but today it seemed that the parents wanted to feed them. A co-worker reported that she saw all three being fed that morning. That's three feedings witnessed in the course of one day, and there could have been twice that many. It's entirely possible that the only thing wrong with that sluggard eyass was that he ate too much. I'll keep an eye on him, which is just about all I can do.

-Click here for an update and photos of the hawks on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine-

1 comment:

R2K said...

: )

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