Friday, May 04, 2007

Green-Wood Cemetery update


(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

I took the bus over to Green-Wood Cemetery this afternoon to check for signs of chicks in Big Mama and Junior's nest. From the time I got off of the bus until I set-up my tripod, I was on my cellphone with a client. He was having some computer problems that I was attempting to solve over the phone. We were talking for the 10 minutes it took me to walk to the nest tree. I spotted Junior soaring very high up near the Bishop Ford radio tower.

Big Mama watching the nest (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

I managed to get my tripod set-up, my camera out and my binocular on with one hand as I was still trying to work out the computer issue over the phone. My client lives near Prospect Park and is familiar with the Red-tailed Hawks in the area. Sometimes he spots them on the museum across from his home. He's also used to me blurting out ocassional hawk-related non sequiturs. Big Mama was at the nest and sitting, not in its center, but on the edge. She also kept looking back and forth at the inside of her nursery. I was still on the phone when I saw the top of a downy, white head poke up from inside the nest. I was so excited that I shouted something really profound like, "Holy crap, there's a chick in the nest!" The voice at the other end of the phone said, "Huh?" There was a moment of guilt when I considered that he was indoors, struggling with his computer and I was standing beneath a Red-tailed Hawk nest looking at a newly hatched eyass. It was a very brief moment.

I managed to get his technical problems squared away and went back to watching the nest. Because she was so tiny the chick must have been very young. A few minutes into my vigil Big Mama pulled a partially eaten carcass from the nest and began tearing small pieces of meat off of it. She would then lean down, tip her head to the side and offer it to her offspring. After a few pieces it looked like she turned to the east side of the nest and began feeding another chick.

The two chicks that I observed were so tiny that I could only make out the tops of their heads when they reached up to take food from their mother's bill. They may only be a couple of days old.

Chick #1 (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Chick #2 (click to enlarge)

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

Before I left, I got to see Junior drop off a meal at the nest. It was about 2:15 and Big Mama began whinning. I turned around to scan the area where she was looking and saw Junior heading our way. He flew in low over my head, gently touched down at the edge of the nest and placed his kill in front of Big Mama. After a cursory inspection of his offspring, he took off in search of more food.

Within a few days the chicks should be large enough to see more easily. Tomorrow I'll check in on Alice and Ralph.

1 comment:

Donegal Browne said...

Rob,

Thanks so much for posting the photos of Big Mama and her eyasses, quite lovely and touching.

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