Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The evening meal

It has been too hot to be out in midday. Dusk is much more comfortable. This is the time for the evening meal. First observation. Robins lined up in the driveway. What's going on here? Into the tree. Oh my goodness. Berries. But these berries don't come into maturity for another month. Guess again. Climate is all screwed up.

Juvenile robin doing. fine. My neighbor can't see what I'm observing. Perfectly hidden.

Learning to pick a little. Please kid, don't eat the leaves. It's part of the learning process.

Other sibling still totally dependent on Papa.

This wood chip area is under trees. Very low light. Camera set at ISO 1000. Over at other end of space there's something going on. A picnic? Not sure what's going on. Will try to get closer.

Oh, jeez. Parent starling has found a food source, maybe a dropped sandwich, maybe food in a garbage can. Parent appears to have either sliced turkey or bread, or a bit of both. Baby starling is not interested. Cardinal is interested if parent starling would only drop the food.

I have never before seen a baby starling not interested in food no matter how weird the delivery. There's a second starling on a branch in the leaves and that fledgeling also doesn't want the food.

Parent starling calling for first fledgeling. The sound is identical to the voice of the baby starling. Parent making this hideous sound even with mouth filled with food. This is the first time I've heard adult starling make that sound.

More extraordinary, baby ignoring parent. I've never seen a baby starling ignore food.

Over at other end of garden, different robin family. One baby still dependent on parent. This kid able to pick around on the ground, almost adult size.

But not totally independent.

The mulberries are beginning to become mature. That's also early. When they become plump and juicy there's going to be a feeding frenzy downstairs.


Monday, May 30, 2011

All's well

Time to check up on the newcomer from day before yesterday. Newbie and sibling are in the trees at the dog space,- dark, dense leaves, hard to find. The trick is to watch Papa and see where chow gets delivered. Delivery is very fast, so it's necessary to not lose sight of the food delivery.

Ah, there's one kid, really nicely situated, top cover, under cover. Safe.

I suspect this is the younger sibling. Stayed put all day.

Hearing second baby, but from where? Search. Oops! Right over my head. Never stand under the rear end of a bird!

This youngster eventually flew to the ground and chased Papa all around the food-hunting area.

Meanwhile, over on 69th street, once again a recognizeable ROAR, another baby starling. It's too early for baby starlings, a month too early, but they're here, and HEAR them.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Down by the river

It's Fleet Week. Very strange "birds" flying up the Hudson.

Riverside hawk babies doing very well.
Here's the background: Same nest as last year. Unfortunately, Papa Hawk dined on rat, poisoned rat and died about three weeks ago. Much concern, because this left Mama as a single parent responsible for finding food for hungry kids and protecting them. Park Rangers step in and cater safe dead rats to nest area which makes hunting time for Mama much shorter. Babies are thriving, bouncing around in nest and branching out. As I came along path I saw the one baby flexing its wings and doing the trampoline routine. Heavy leaf cover, viewing limited. I figure in another three days they might be out of the nest. I pray they can learn to hunt on their own

I didn't stay watching hawklets very long. It was hot and humid. On the stroll back I saw movement in a dense bush. Oh, joy. Baby robin. But visibility only through a slit.

Mama has food. Bread! A hunk of bread.

Baby really wanted more, but Mama dropped hunk of bread. Mama flew down to retrieve it
but a sparrow grabbed bread hunk and flew off.


Saturday, May 28, 2011


The morning activity began with some sort of face-off in the driveway. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but could see a bird in the middle of the road. Went over. Oh, no!! A brand new fledgling. Sitting in the driveway was not an option, so I went close and coaxed the baby to the side of the driveway, the curb, hoping it could get liftoff into the grass. It couldn't do that. Instead it scurried-skittled along the edge of the step up. This wasn't a safe option either. I coaxed it back a bit and then it was able to get the 4" liftoff up into the grass. Much better. Hide in grass. Hide under plants. Anything better than getting squashed by a car or walked on. I had chores to do, so headed out to Broadway.

Back here an hour later, grabbed camera and went down to see how things were doing. There was no question about Papa finding and feeding baby. Parent very attentive. I went to garden and waited for sound. Cheep-cheep! Yes, there's baby sitting on branch being fed by Papa.

But this didn't seem right, because the new fledgling I had seen would never have been able to get up onto that branch. Waited. Ah, there goes another cheep-cheep! And there's new fledgling, call him Runner. Still on ground. Doing very nicely. Getting fed three times as often as Brancher.

Baby spent whole day running after Papa and Brancher spent whole day sitting in tree. I saw them at 8pm and this was still going on. The nest tree is right across the driveway.

Meanwhile baby sparrow has turned into a Budda.


Friday, May 27, 2011


There's no way to predict what's out there on any given day. Heading to the park along west 71st street when a voice I know comes blasting out of the bushes. What??!!! A baby starling in May?? Baby starlings don't start roaring until the end of June. Cacophony from end June into second week of July, never in May. Well, guess again. Baby starling in May ROARING for food and parent obliging. The babies are persistent and nasty. Will peck mama in behind if she doesn't deliver the goods.

Low light, not clear, but this is the personality of the baby starling. "I want food and I want it NOW!!!"

Only one shot possible before female oriole flew off. She's gathering the bud vines for nesting material. Hooray.

Speaking of crowded living accomodations, pictures speak for themselves. Babies are regular little blue jays, wing flapping, watching where parents go, both parents bringing food, watching me, yawning, dropping off, more flapping. They'll be out of the house very soon.