Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ball Boy (or Girl)

In honor of Wimbledon.......... Ball Boy hawk. If something moves it has to be examined. Today's antics were hilarious, both babies on the ground,... eating, playing, walking down the sidewalk, examining everything. anting, being bombarded by robins, and playing ball. There will be lots more images blogged. These are merely a warm up, normal juvenile hawk behavior, play on the way to refined hunting skills.

A new activity

Think ski jump. Requirements: a skate board, some empty soda cans, the more the merrier, a sloped path leading to five or six steps. A level space at bottom of run. Helmets, wrist guards or knee guards not required.

How the activity is played: Have friends stack soda cans as high as possible on highest step. Person on skate board begins approach at top of sloped path and before reaching soda cans goes airborne. The idea is to clear the cans and steps and reach the lower level in one piece. It doesn't matter if lowest level is surrounded by rocks. A variation of this activity is to have friends throw extra empty soda cans at skate board while in air. (A wider angle lens would have shown the activity better, but a I had to use what I had in my hand.)

Two questions for parents: Do you know what your kids are doing and are they covered by health insurance??

Monday, June 29, 2009

A good luck sing

From my window, looking east. So where's the pot of gold????

Caring Parents and Food

The hawk parents are still young. They know what to do. Young human parents also go through the same learning curve. Yesterday was a wonderful day watching parents and fine dining. The sparrows find food wherever it is and whatever it is. The hawk food has to be parent-delivered, this time freshly caught and prepared pigeon, beheaded and slit open. Yummy. The baby began calling, saw that food had arrived and did the lateral snatch. Snatch took all of one second. Instead of dining on a branch the baby flew down and dragged pigeon along the ground calling all the while. It had room to maneuver and could have flown to a tree, but instead it moved into the leaves near the highway. Tension was high. Would this baby try and fly its meal across the highway too???? The Baby Sitting Squad went into action, two hawk lovers stood guard up at edge of highway so that baby wouldn't select that route. Baby dined in the bushes near the highway. Parent stayed to watch that all was well before flying off. I "flew off" too, emotionally drained.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

So big, but still a baby

A lot went on today. This is only the first blog. The baby is gorgeous. It's hard to remember that this big beautiful bird is very young. For a while limb perching was the activity, but then it was time to explore and baby flew down to the ground right at the feet of a couple of photographers. This baby hasn't learned fear yet. Photographers backed off. The ground items were examined and bitten. In the middle of this, a totally oblivious jogger came too close and hawk baby flew up to a branch. At least the hawk knows what to do. The jogger's brain was disconnected from his legs, totally disregarded yells and signals to detour. Running in a coma. The baby caught a leaf and played with that until it fell to the ground. There was more excitement after that. Pictures have to be edited. All is well with the hawk family thanks to human baby sitters.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Squeal, Squeal! in the tree

SQUEAL! That's what I heard as I headed up the path. I followed the sound and saw pigeons. "Oh, no", you're thinking. Rats with wings. But pigeons are adorable, a bit stupid but part of our world. At first I thought they were doing the "hootchy-cootchy". But then my brain kicked in. Birds don't mate side-by-side, and never a threesome. The male struts, then hops the female and then walks away. This was something else. I had to get into a different position.

Oh my goodness. A mama and her babies. Feeding time. The mama mouth-feeds the babies, regurgitates seeds and stuff, "mother's milk". These were big babies, so for a good "fit" the wings embraced the babies. Sweet. The babies were recognizably babies,- long beak tips for better access to food. Think sipping straws. After feeding they sat on the branch for a while. They probably came from a nest on a nearby balcony. They certainly didn't nest in that tree. I've seen babies on balconies being fed and babies on a fuse box being fed, but never before on a tree. If they hadn't been calling so loudly I would have missed this moment.

Friday, June 26, 2009

One small area

On my way to see the hawks I usually walk on Trump Blvd. between 68th and 67th streets. In that small area there are trees, grass, berry bushes and lots of small birds to hear and see. Yesterday the mocking bird was calling every city sound- car horns, bus beeps, doorman whistles, children cries, trucks in reverse- a total laugh. The robin was so drunk on fermented purple berries that I could practically stand next to him. He wasn't moving anywhere. Sloshed. And the baby sparrow was hounding the parent for food even though able to peck a little on its own. Sometimes I spend an hour in this space before heading to see the hawks. Small delights.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Both of the babies are fine, preening and resting when I got to family area. About 20 minutes before I arrived several birders reported that one of the babies had been on the ground, wings spread out, not afraid of people. This is standard bird behavior. Anting. The birds spread their wings and ants in the ground clean their wings of parasites. The baby hawks don't know fear, so it's very important to keep clear. Give plenty of space. Don't startle the bird. Don't go close. The bird is not sick or hurt. It's doing something pleasureable and very necessary. I wasn't there for today's anting, but I did see Ziggy, Charlotte and Junior's child, anting in Central Park in the summer of 2007. Most birds ant. Seeing a small bird ant is so sweet. Seeing a large bird ant is spectacular.