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Friday, June 08, 2012

Some Nesting Birds

Marge and I checked in on the Green-Wood Cemetery Red-tailed Hawk nest this afternoon. The pair of nestlings look healthy, very large and ready to take their maiden flight. In addition to the hawks, we looked in on another local breeding bird and I unexpectedly stumbled on the nest of another.

Today was the first time this Spring that I spent an extended time at Big Mama and Junior's nest in the cemetery. Their return to the old nest site in the cedar tree certainly makes viewing easy as it is about 40 feet lower than the nest in the linden tree. While we were there the two nestlings were briefly hop-flapping at the edge of the nest. The last time the adults used this nest tree the young would climb out onto a springboard-like branch on the Northeast side of the tree. This year's young don't seem to have discovered it yet. In this photo the young raptor is perched at the base of it. I give them a few more days before we start to see them venturing out to the end of that launching point. Their parents were keeping a distant eye on the nest from a usual perch atop the antenna tower at Bishop Ford High School. It is about 1/4 mile Northeast of the nest, but the adult raptors take mere seconds to fly from the top of the tower to their offspring's side.

At the Crescent Water a Great Egret patrolled the edges of the pond periodically stabbing fish and tadpoles at the surface of the water. Nearby a much smaller Green Heron hung his body down the pond's coping wall, stretched his neck all the way out, barely reaching the water, and managed to snatch a small frog. There has been at least one Green Heron in this area for about a month and I suspected that a pair might be nesting in the area. When the Great Egret spooked the heron and he flew into a cherry tree I decided to search the tree's drooping branches. I quickly spotted the heron's flimsy twig nest. Here's a short video of him (or her) working on the nest:

From the Crescent Water Marge took me to see a Baltimore Oriole nest that she discovered on the ridge behind the Sylvan Water. As we walked up the hill towards the nest I could hear the male's chattering, ratchet-like call. Not long after he arrived at the nest tree with a white mulberry in his bill. Our presence may have made him a little nervous as he seemed a little reluctant to fly directly to the nest. After a few moments he slowly made his way to the hanging basket woven with natural fiber and some strands of colored string. A small bill popped out of the opening and took the fruit. A pair of Warbling Vireo appeared to be nesting in the same planetree and harassed the oriole until he flew off ... although I kind of doubt that the tiny, grey birds could do much to intimidate most avian species. Perhaps the oriole found their nasal "eeah" call irritating. Over a period of about 15 minutes both the male and female oriole made frequent visits to the nest. Several times I noticed them removing their offspring's fecal sacs and depositing them far from the nest.

There are dozens of other breeding bird species around Brooklyn. Now that migration has ended I'll be focusing more on these birds, as well as, butterflies in future posts.

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