Monday, February 23, 2009

Hypothermic and worth it

The Riverside Drive hawks are building a new nest. I decided to go check this out. Dumb, dumb, dumb! It was beyond cold, arctic wind blowing in off the river, bone-chilling cold. I met a mockingbird. Nice. We had a chat, a couple of pictures, paid for with nut bits. Met a cardinal, a very wary cardinal, hid in the bushes, but finally appeared, click-click, paid for with a couple of peanuts. Onward up to 93rd street. I'm not sure if I saw the right nest, a couple of possibilities, no hawks in sight. By this time I was frozen. Time to head home. Keep moving or freeze.
Suddenly a feather cluster fell at my feet, like the whole rump of something with new flesh attached. Big clue. It meant only one thing, somebody eating over my head. Glory be!!!! The female red tail hawk with pigeon. This hawk has a broken beak, no hook. Here was an opportunity to see how she eats. No hook could be problematic. I've seen hawks dine before. The pigeon feathers get plucked and then the hawk eats the flesh neatly. Not this lady hawk. The feathers don't get plucked. She rips right into the flesh and ends up with a messy face. Thank God she was dining fast, because I was turning to ice faster. Rip off a hunk and eat it, - feathers, bones, meat. And when the face mess got too bad she cleaned her face with her talons, fancy "toothpicks". At one point a huge bird soared overhead, either a larger hawk or an eagle,..... I don't know what....., and hawk saw this and mantled over her food, so that the only view from above would be her speckled brown back which looks just like tree bark. After the potential danger passed she resumed gorging. Finally she carried the remains further North possibly to stash it for later dining. This was worth getting hypothermia. I'd do it again.

No comments: