Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Red-tailed Update

I had an hour yesterday to do a quick survey of the Nelly's Lawn fledgling Red-tailed Hawks. Also wanted to see how the Ravine pair was doing

As I was crossing the Long Meadow I heard the familiar "keeerr" call of the adult Red-tails . It took only a second to find the source. Nelly and Max were circling high over the northern end of the meadow. Calls were followed by close, soaring contact with lowered legs. They looked like they were having fun and relaxing a bit, now that the kids have left the nest. I watched them for several minutes until the both went into a steep dive, heading directly towards Elizabeth's Tuliptree. Instead of their usual perch on the dead branch low in the tree, I found them perched high up, near the tree's apex.

Several yards below the adult pair and on the favorite perch, was one of the fledglings. The young bird looked very strange as it reclined in a horizontal position. Cooling off in the shady spot she rested her chin against the bare wood of the dead branch. This odd, reposed posture reminded me more of a nightjar than a raptor. Some Blue Jays were making a racket closer to the Vale of Cashmere so I went to investigate, assuming I'd find the other two fledglings.

It only took me a few seconds to find another one of the juvenile hawks. Unlike his sibling in the tuliptree, this individual was standing tall, despite periodic pelting to his back by a Blue Jay and a Baltimore Oriole. The young red-tail was also much more curious. Unaware of the watchful eyes of his parents, he moved from tree to tree in the area overshadowed by the hulking tuliptree. At one point, he returned to the tuliptree, seemingly to show off to his sibling, flapping his wings for a few seconds, then taking off to the smaller trees closer to the Vale. I searched for the third fledgling in the nest tree, in the trees along the rise at the Aralia Grove, even across the road near Sullivan Hill. I listened for his cries and the alert calls of other birds, but never located him. It is possible that he was just hidden from view in the dense foliage of Elizabeth's Tuliptree. I gave up and headed into the Ravine.

At the Ravine nest both juveniles were resting within the nest. It is unclear whether they had fledged and returned to the nest or not. At around 12:30pm "Ralph" flew into the nest with some food. The two youngsters began squealing and fighting over the delivery. The older sibling won out as they father made no attempt to feed the two.

1 comment:

Pam said...

On Sunday afternoon I found one of the Nelly's Lawn youngsters reclining on the same branch, looking exactly like your photograph.

Both sibling were nearby, spending most of their time in the tulip tree.

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