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Friday, February 11, 2011

Local Red-tailed Hawk Updates

The last week has seen an increase in pair-bonding activities between our local Red-tailed Hawks.

In Green-Wood Cemetery there were fresh pine boughs placed in the annual hawk nest. Marge also reporting seeing Big Mama inside the nest, tidying up. In addition, unlike their more solitary winter behavior, Big Mama and Junior have been spending more time soaring together. A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk observed near them and hanging around the cemetery is presumably their surviving offspring from last year. I spotted her near Samuel B. Morse's monument stalking, then attacking a piece of wood. She flew with it into a tree where she gnawed it for a moment, then dropped it to the snow covered ground. Odd behavior for a red-tailed that is 6 - 7 months old. They usually only engage in this type of practice play-hunting for the first month or two after fledging.

I spotted Nelly and Max at Grand Army Plaza as I was leaving the public library. They were flying together and perched on top of the triangular building at the corner of Plaza Street West. They seemed to have added more sticks recently to their nest at Nelly's Lawn.

Over the winter, much of Alice and Ralph's 8 year nest in the Ravine pine tree had succumb to the brutal weather. Just two weeks ago I noted that there was virtually nothing left of it. This week they were busy rebuilding it. I watched them soaring and talon-grappling in the air above Quaker Ridge. A single juvenile red-tail was following them, but Ralph eventually chased him off.

For several weeks a young Red-tailed Hawk has been hanging around Breeze Hill, near the bird feeders. I'm not sure if he is attempting to catch some of the small songbirds (not much of a chance) or surprising one of the squirrels gorging itself below the feeders. In either case, he needs to work on his stealth techniques. I've witnessed his bombing runs through the wooded area surrounding the bird feeders and he looks like the proverbial "bull in a china shop", giving the animals plenty of time to seek cover. The other day he was actually perched directly above the feeders. Despite these comical attempts he must be relatively good at hunting, otherwise he never would have survived this harsh winter.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Two juvenile RTHs on the south-side of Lookout Hill yesterday. Ran into someone who saw three juveniles in the same area last week, by the Well House.

And I think that Cooper's is becoming a Cobble Hill local. In a big London Plane behind a LIU Hospital bldg tonight, with a kestrel streaking by overhead.

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