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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bronx and Brooklyn hawk updates

Big Mama at the top of her nest tree

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Here are the latest updates from the from the Bronx Red-tailed Hawk family and Big Mama at the Green-Wood Cemetery:

Date: May 22, 2007 10:14:43 PM EDT
Subject: The Fordham nest today

I couldn't see any activity on the nest one minute, the next minute I saw an adult Red-Tail soaring overhead, and noticed prey in its talons. It turned out to be Hawkeye, and all of a sudden he just swooped in to the pediment, catching me offguard, and robbing me of the chance to photograph his big entrance. Rose appeared out of nowhere (she was probably in one of the densely leafed trees near the nest), and Hawkeye left promptly. Rose proceeded to tear up whatever the prey item was (small rat?), and then left herself, without attempting to feed the eyasses. The three of them got out of the nest entirely, exploring the broad cornice of the pediment, and testing their wings.

Although it's been a revelation to be able to look down into the nest from the roof of Dealy Hall, it's still nice to photograph the chicks from the ground--it's closer. You get a better sense of the differences between each chick.

Just a few more weeks, and they'll be off.

The nestilings are getting big (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Chris Lyons)

Rich Fleisher came into Brooklyn to see the Green-Wood Cemetery nest and to take some photos. I suspect that, by the end of the day, he went home extremely happy.

The two nestlings have grow quite a bit since my last visit. They have begun sprouting flight feathers from the edges of their wings. Also, their downy leggings, necessary for warmth as a hatchling, have started to shed.

When we first arrived, the two chicks were alone in the nest. Within a few minutes a parent arrived to keep an eye on them. Marge and I still have a hard time telling Big Mama from Junior when they are perched close to us. Their size difference and Junior's peregrine-like facial pattern are more noticable when in flight. In any case, shortly after we arrived, lunch was served. With a gray, fluffy tail hanging over the edge of the nest, it was apparent that squirrel was on the menu.

One chick was more aggressive and was fed by his mother until his crop was bulging. The younger chick's needs weren't ignored, but he did spend most of the time in the background. The older chick even managed to pull some meat from the carcass and feed himself a few bites. Soon, their prey will just be dropped off and they'll have to feed themselves.

Unlike the Fordham nestlings, the area within the nest seems small for the rapidly sprouting hawks. On several occasions, while practicing flapping, the more developed nestling unintentionally slapped Big Mama and his smaller nest mate in the head. They actually seemed to glare at him with annoyance. If it seems small now, wait another week, when their wings should be completely feathered.

Waiting for lunch (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Feeding time (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rich Fleisher)

Full crop and squirrel tail (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

"Hey, watch it!" (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)


Pamela said...

that first picture looks like hawkzilla! What a shot.

Rob J. said...

Funny you should say that. Marge (one of the cemetery hawk-watchers) has been trying different combinations of "Godzilla" type names for the little ones. I usually wait until they get closer to fledging, when you can see their personality.

FYI - here are Godzilla's foes: Battra, Destoroyah, Ebirah, Ghidora, Ghidora With 8 Heads, Gigan, Kamacuras, Hedorah, (aka, The Smog Monster), King Kong, Mecha-king, Ghidorah the Original, Mechgodzilla, Megalon, Kumonga and Titanosaurus.

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