Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

Raptor Wednesday

First off: we’ve had near daily American Kestrel sightings or hearings here at the H.Q. But today’s specimen sightings come from Green-Wood Cemetery.
A female atop what may be the largest obelisk in a cemetery full of them. (Curious how Christians went in for this paganism in Victorian times.)
Now here’s a male atop the flanking towers of the 25th St. gate.
What was most interesting here was that this bird flew into the Monk Parakeet colony’s nest.
He flew out soon enough, but then he flew to another entry, and perched there momentarily. Then he went into the nest.
Some five or so minutes later, he emerged to sit and look out for a spell. Then he went back inside.

Middle of the day. Parakeets yelling their heads off, as they are wont to do most of the time but particularly when there’s a threat about. The parakeets remained unseen during this time, so presumably they were hollering from inside what I presume is a multiple cavity nest/colony.

What was going on here amongst these long-lost cousins? (Falcons have been found to be more genetically related to parrots than they are to other raptors.) Predation? Monks Ps are only a little smaller than American Kestrels. Seems like challenging meal and a fight against a society, the parakeets being such colonial critters. Nest raiding? In late August? Scouting out a nocturnal nook? Amidst the loudest birds around?


Raptor Wednesday

This is a young male American Kestrel. He brought some bird prey to this balustrade recently, and left it on the right hand corner. You can just see the lump. It was there for more than an hour as he flew here and here, perching here and there as well. Now, this building has been used as larder for two breeding seasons, but the falcons usually leave prey on the roof, under, I presume, the solar panels. The parapet prevents me from seeing the exact locations, but I suspect they know not to leave meat exposed. Too many sharp-eyed corvids about for that. Junior here probably has to learn the hard way.Another brightly spotty male. He zoomed past the Gothick entrance to Green-Wood, causing the parakeets to holler in fury. Perched atop a tree, he was the target of a Northern Mockingbird, who made several passes at him. Then he circled in ever widening circles overhead, moving off towards the northeast and actually chasing after a Chimney Swift, twice. Now, Falco cousins, the Hobbys, are supposed to be able to catch Common Swifts (Apus apus), which are bigger than our Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica), but I think it would pretty unusual for an American Ks to catch a healthy CS. Another reason I think this was a young kestrel. Trying things out.

The last five mornings I’ve awoken to a Kestrel calling. The earliest was 5:30 a.m. Haven’t seen one, but the call is unmistakable.

“The very serious function of racism … is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary.”

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.”

~ Toni Morrison, RIP.

Raptor Wednesday

The #BrooklynKestrels. Mother and daughters. The young ones tend to look plumper than she does, but I can’t see this in this particular picture. She’s still bringing them food — and this roof is still a larder. They fly down to it, out-of-sight, and come up with a pice of something. There have been some insect transfers: dragonflies and beetles are kestrel snacks.

The father hasn’t been spotted in more than a week. I don’t remember a similar absence last year. Hope the old boy is O.K. He had a very busy season. It’s a wonder there are any House Sparrows in the neighborhood at all.Siblings.

Momma was screaming at a trio of Fish Crows on Monday. She gave chase. The youngsters stayed on their perches. Another time, two Common Ravens passed overhead. They continued unmolested. Red-tailed Hawks in the area are always cause for commotion.

Raptor Wednesday

Monday morning dawned and lo and behold there were two female American Kestrels on the Solar Building! The one on the left had the tell-tale head fuzz of a fledgling. Just like that, voila! So there was another Brooklyn Kestrel in the house!Was there only one?

Within the hour that Monday morning: there were three separate kestrels in the air at the same time. All looked like females from my admittedly brief view.

About 50 minutes before sunset Tuesday, two female fledglings were on the solar building, perched side-by-side on one of the roof pipes. Sisters! The mother, who looks small in comparison after working so hard for these beasties, was also briefly perched up there at the same time.

No activity was seen in the nest this season. Admittedly, last year, I only saw two glimpses of young ones inside. Once, when one of the little air-tigers was grasping at a wind-tossed string somehow jammed into the structure, probably bought as nesting material by Starlings, who seem to have used this cavity before. I think this cavity is deeper than the 5th Avenue one, which had inquisitive faces poking out it this year and last year.

There were three successful fledglings last year, two female and one male. What became of them? The odds were not good for two of the three. Youngsters disperse as fall approaches. The mother bird heads elsewhere. This is the father’s territory. Back to today: no males of any age have seen in the last several days. The #BrooklynKestrels saga.

Raptor Wednesday

I’d hoped to be able to report some exciting falcon-reveal news about the local American Kestrels. The parents have been here and there, but as of this, written late yesterday afternoon, we’ve got nada to say about fledglings.Meanwhile, can I offer you this dicey situation as a substitute for your Wednesday raptor needs? A perched Red-tailed Hawk, being chirped at by an Amerian Robin or two, and this Grey Squirrel sort of moaning in a tree knot.The hawk spent much more time looking elsewhere, that old ploy.This is the way we left the stand-off.

Raptor Wednesday

Hello, American Kestrels! Two female nestlings just a-bursting to check out the world, B63 bus, double-parked trucks, crazed drivers, and all! The parents, just around the corner. Interestingly, neither they nor the young could see each other directly.Mamma (presumably).A NYC classic: a rotted out wooden cornice. These small falcons are rather unusual: no other diurnal raptor in North America nests inside a cavity. Scrappy thugs.This is the third year straight year I’ve seen this nest occupied.

Late breaking news is that the Wildbird Fund had in-take of a Park Slope nestling that was flying into cars. The down-side of urban habitat…

And the #BrooklynKestrels, the pair we see outside our windows, what of their nest? I hope to report any minute now…. I don’t think the parents are liking this monsoon weather.

It was on 6/17/18 that I spotted the first sign of last year’s youngsters.

Meanwhile, these Republican fuckers are literally trying to kill us faster.

Raptor Wednesday

The male of the local pair. One hell of an efficient bird-killer. These pictures were taken through the window at some distance, but you get the idea. This is the female kestrel going after a Red-tailed Hawk who made the mistake of cruising through the neighborhood. She chased the big buteo high above the park. Loudly!

On Monday, it rained all afternoon. Both of these falcons were out and about, getting absolutely soaked, but they do have young to feed and neither rain nor whatever else can get in the way of that. So, even after a good soaking Monday, they both bathed yesterday. Apres le bain, grooming. This lintel is out of the wind. When you watch these birds long enough, you see how they get tossed all over by the wind when they perch out in the open. Now add a House Sparrow in the talons to the mix. It becomes quite a dance of balance to hold the prey, maintain a perch on a narrow pipe edge, and pluck.


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