Posts Tagged 'birding'



Red-tailed Hawk…

Continuing from yesterday… This yearling Red-tailed Hawk, which I’m pretty sure is the same one I’ve seen in this area of Green-Wood repeatedly, had recently eaten something.Swallowed the portion stored in the crop,and excreted.Then it started looking around the neighborhood.Next to this tombstone was an evergreen bush.Hawk just waded into it.And pulled out a dead squirrel stashed in there.

Is it, Earth-wise, all bad? Here’s a trio of WCS scientists who argue that if we can get through the present bottleneck… humanity, and our planet, can breakthrough to something better than the doom and gloom so many indicators point to. They’re optimistic…

“We suggest that lasting conservation success can best be realized when (a) the human population stabilizes and begins to decrease, (b) extreme poverty is alleviated, and (c) the majority of the world’s people and institutions act on a shared belief that it is in their best interest to care for—rather than destroy—the natural bases of life on Earth.”

…if we can just managed to hold on now. Keep conserving, keep fighting for our fellow species, keep fighting against the all-too-human enemies of life.

Raptor Wednesday — Birthday Edition

I almost walked into this Red-tailed Hawk before seeing it. I backed up and went around a handy mausoleum, used another mausoleum for cover, and ended up within ten feet. For nearly fifteen minutes, I got to watch.That’s food bulging in the bird’s crop. You can also see the stuffed crop pushing the feathers out in the first shot above. And this is blood on the bill, throat, and talons/toes. (You can click on these images to make them larger on your screen.)As I watched, the bird lifted up its head and swallowed the material stored in the crop. Gulp!More tomorrow…

I see raptors almost every day. Sometimes two, sometimes three, four, or more. As soon as it’s light, I look through the scope at the taller of the the two smokestacks in Industry City to see if there is a Peregrine up there. Most days there is; sometimes there are two.

When I was a boy in the 1970s, this would not have been possible — anywhere on the East Coast. DDT had eradicated the regional subspecies of Peregrine Falcon. It wasn’t until the 1990s that NYC had a vibrant population of Peregrines, all because of captive-breeding and introductions. Tom Cade led that effort at the Peregrine Fund. He passed away recently at 91. Thank you, Mr. Cade!

Weekend Update

Two and a half hours in Green-Wood this morning, and not a single raptor sighting. That’s unusual for a winter day.

As I was walking home, a block away from the southern edge of the cemetery, I heard a Raven croaking. I turned to see it heading towards Green-Wood. Because I’d turned around, I saw a kettle of big birds swirling over the next avenue down the hill, to the west. Seven Turkey Vultures, with a few pilot-fish gulls, probably Herring, in the mix. And then a Cooper Hawk cut right overhead, heading south.

Once home, warming tortillas, I noticed a Red-tailed Hawk perched on the 40th St. antenna. But back to the  vultures. They’ve been seen in dribs and drabs over Brooklyn in the last month. Mostly Turkey, with a few Black. On Thursday, a Turkey Vulture flew low enough for me to capture the red face of a mature bird and the curl of the primaries.Yes, a Valentine’s Vulture! This is a tuliptree, not a cherry, but a haiku does suggest itself:

A midwinter day,
Vulture floating overhead ~
“Yo, I’m not dead yet!”

Surprising Teal

I couldn’t determine what this was from a distance, where it was dwarfed by a herd of Canada Geese.Even close by, I was running through the names of the ducks in a bird ID app.That moire pattern! The stripe! That head!Of course, “wigeon” and “gadwall,” among others, don’t come up if you type in “duck”…. Male Green Teal. Stunning in sunlight, more subdued in shadow…Anas carolinensis is common across its breeding grounds in northern North America, but I don’t recall ever seeing one in Green-Wood before. In fact, I don’t have a picture of one in the entire run of this blog. The bird was shy, swimming away even as Canada Geese and Mallards, also mucking along the shore, paid me no heed.

More Cooper

Of late, the Cooper Hawks I’ve seen have been in the air, as yesterday’s post, or huddling in the yews and arbor vitae. But this one was perching as bold as brass… or is that rusty iron? With nary a Blue Jay in sight… The Jays have been abundant in Green-Wood this winter. They let up a vocal storm when they run into something they don’t like. But they can’t be everywhere. This big Accipiter had the field.

Winter Killdeer

Rocks, Ring-billed Gulls, and hey, a Killdeer! (You can’t see the rats inside the rocks, but when they scurry around in broad daylight, you know the tubular rodents are all over; suckers have always loved waterfronts.)

Bush Terminal Park had breeding Killdeer last year.

Dawn Corvids

One morning recently, a great parliament of crows flew over the apartment heading towards the bay. I estimated fifty at least. They boiled around the air column over the empty parking lot of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, before turning right to head northish along the coast of Brooklyn. They must have been roosting inland. They didn’t make any noise that I heard, so I couldn’t tell if they were American or Fish. (American or Fish should be a game.) Both species are found here year around.

A few days later, I saw at least twenty crows flying over Bush Terminal Park. These were vocalizing, and so identifying themselves as Fish Crows. They were relatively low, too, so I snapped a picture or two.

(Yes, the proper collective noun for a group of crows is murder or congress, but collective nouns are more wordy historical fun than anything else, so why not bend the rules?)


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