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Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday's Foto

Flocks of migrating Northern Flickers face a gauntlet of hungry raptors around NYC. Unlike most woodpeckers, flickers can frequently be found foraging for food on the ground. Perhaps this makes them vulnerable because, at this time of year, it is not unusual to find the easily identified remains of a flicker after being dined on by a hawk. Oddly, the cemetery's resident Monk Parakeets seem to be able to outwit predators as I've never found the plucked remains of one.


Starz723 said...

One needs to see how the monk parakeets delude the raptors, especially the coopers hawk that was tenacious all winter long trying desperately to hunt them. He would sit across from the steeple and they would all leave, like a huge cloud of birds, and flock into a nearby tree and squawk as loudly as they could. They are faster and have learned to outwit the raptors, at least the ones that are passing through or overwinter. I think our red tails have given up on trying to capture one. I watched the coopers dive bomb into a tree where they were foraging and he still came up empty. Its true, Ive never found the feathers from the monk parakeets.

Ryan M said...

That's an interesting observation. I have seen northern flicker remains in Green Wood before. I find it intriguing, as feeding on the ground must certainly make them more prone to attack, but aside from that they are much more wary and much stronger fliers than our other common woodpeckers.

As for the parrots, I've never realized they were such allusive prey. I've seen flocks of them with a Coopers in an adjacent tree, but not an attack. As I was leaving there late last year I witnessed what I believe to be one of the adult resident Red Tails attack the parrot best on the steeple. It was probably too late for young to be in the nest, and the hawk came up empty, but you'd have to imagine that they have used this behavior before. . .perhaps with more favorable results.

Here's a picture of the attack:

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