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Monday, May 21, 2007

Prospect Park red-tail nest update

An alert Alice

(Photo credit - Rob Jett)

On Thursday, May 17th, at about 5:30PM I walked to the Ravine in Prospect Park to check Alice and Ralph's nest. I had planned that it would be my final attempt to look for signs of life. I was pessimistic, given the late date. Shortly after I set-up my scope I spotted a young nestling stretching his tiny wings. I was extremely pleased and presumed that it is the result of a second brood attempt or just the last surviving egg of several. At this date I would normally expect to find a more well developed offspring. Some of the young red-tails around the city have already attained "brancher" status. The single bird in the Ravine appeared to be at the point in development that the Green-Wood Cemetery nestlings were one week ago; covered with an off-white down and barely able to see over the side of the nest.

Unlike Big Mama's relaxed demeanor, Alice was very alert when she was at her nest, glaring at me and following my every move. Periodically, she even raised her hackles if I got too close to the base of the nest tree. Yesterday's windy conditions caused significant swaying of the nest tree and surrounding branches so that I wasn't able to take any photos of the chick. I'll go back in a few days but will stay farther from the nest so that I don't stress Alice.

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