Thursday, June 7, 2007

buteo jamaicensis

Long observation of the two Green-Wood red-tailed hawk chicks. One has fledged, but in nearly two hours today neither flew. That was disappointing, but not by much. You can see pictures of these and other NYC hawks on Rob’s website. Saw much stretching of wings and hopping up and down on one leg, as well as jumps from the nest to an outlying branch and then back again. The wings look gigantic on these youngsters. They responded to uplifting winds with outstretched wings, pumping up and down, as if they were pysching themselves to fly. There was a moment when one of them rose into the air and stayed there hovering, but then didn’t go anywhere.

The father flew in with what I first took to be a rabbit, but through R's scope it turned out to have little wings and feet. It was a chick grabbed from a nest, fairly good-sized. There are a lots of feathers around the ground under the nest. Though red-tails usually eat rabbit, squirrel, and, in the city, rat, they are also readily adaptable to their surroundings. And the cemetery is full of birds.

The cere, the top of the beak, is a greenish yellow color.

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