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Nestwatching invitation/diary

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  • Kate Marianchild
    I will be holding an Open Nest on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m to noon. Anyone interested in nest-watching should email me, and I will email back directions.
    Message 1 of 6 , May 11, 2005
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      I will be holding an Open Nest on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m to noon.
      Anyone interested in nest-watching should email me, and I will email
      back directions. Scopes welcome. Digiscopes particularly welcome!

      Who can tell me if raptor babies are fed whole, unregurgitated meat
      from the moment of birth. I missed the first few days of this young
      'uns life.

      Diary

      5/8,9 Rain. During the rain the feeding intervals may have been less
      frequent (harder to hunt?). I think the baby was left alone less,
      perhaps to prevent hypothermia. The adult on the nest seemed very
      conscientious about keeping the baby warm and as dry as possible. I
      worried that the baby might not survive, as I saw a red shouldered hawk
      nest fail two years ago, when we had eight inches of rain in April. But
      maybe that was an incubation failure. I couldn't see that nest well
      enough to know what was going on.

      5/10 (a.m.) Sunny day. Saw a parent bring a lizard to the nest. I now
      hear peeping when a parent arrives, even without food. Baby appears
      vigorous and has a good appetite. It's funny to see a sharply aquiline
      profile on such a fuzzy head and body. The bird overall appears to be
      about the size and shape of a small crookneck squash.

      The baby was left alone in nest for almost 3 minutes. That's the
      longest yet. During that time the baby was quite active, spreading its
      wings, looking around. It gazed straight at me for a while. The upper
      mandible is starting to turn yellowish - a light yellowish-green.
      Overall the baby is still grey-white, but I might be seeing a little
      bit of reddish fuzz appearing.

      (p.m.) Watched with Kayla. An adult brought in a large
      rodent, and transferred it to the sitting bird. Sitting bird became
      standing bird and fed her/himself, and the baby. Saw long-worm-like
      bits of meat. Intestines? Kayla and I both thought we saw something
      white fly out of the nest. Projectile pooping? Or was it a moth flying
      by? Baby left alone in nest for a couple of minutes. Was it trying to
      tear food on its own? Don't think so, but maybe. I suppose the adults
      will soon cut back on the tearing and proffering of food so the baby
      will have to learn to feed itself.
      This baby has to grow so much and learn so much in a mere 39-45 days.
      When fledging time comes I hope I can watch around the clock.

      5/11 (a.m.) Sunny day. Definitely saw something white ejected from
      inside the nest, vicinity of baby. Must have been projectile pooping.
      Quite a talent. Big rodent brought in. These parents are so competent!
      Why have I never seen a red-shouldered hawk catch anything? I've never
      even been aware that one was hunting. Mostly I see them sitting on
      branches or flying around and calling. I'll have to watch longer.

      To be continued..


      Kate Marianchild
      Publicity Chair
      Peregrine Audubon Society
      katem@...
      707-463-0839




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    • Kate Marianchild
      These pictures (below) were taken by Jon Klein yesterday. He climbed an oak to get closer to the nest, and has set up a blind with green sheets and camo
      Message 2 of 6 , May 12, 2005
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        These pictures (below) were taken by Jon Klein yesterday. He climbed an
        oak to get closer to the nest, and has set up a blind with green sheets
        and camo netting way out on a mossy horizontal limb. Pretty ingenious.
        I have pictures of him climbing the tree, and pictures of the blind,
        but on 35 mm. He came back today for more pictures, and is up in the
        tree right now. The light is more diffuse today, so the shadows won't
        be such a problem. He's hoping for some feeding pictures. I'm working
        on my laptop at the landlubbers' viewing point, so I get to watch it
        all.

        The absent adult is crying in the distance right now, so maybe it won't
        be long. (Jon is a young professional wildlife photographer, so please
        don't do anything commercial with these pictures and credit him if you
        send them on or use them in any way. And if you'd like to see more of
        his work, and/or buy something from him, please contact him at
        jon3klein@... or 937-0067.

        The hawklet is too big to fit under the mother today, so it is sitting
        and clambering around beside her. Sometimes quite close to the edge.
        Chastity, a Round Mountain denizen, I both started wondering about the
        likelihood of it falling out today. I can't imagine how a second baby
        would have fit in the nest. The baby is definitely chirping. I think
        it's hungry right now. It appears to be about a third again larger than
        it was yesterday!

        Oh, here we go! A rodent was just dropped off. The adult is ignoring
        it. Baby is cheeping away. Parent looks around as if wondering what all
        the commotion's about. My guess is that she's hoping the baby will
        start feeding itself....more waiting. Finally the parent gives in and
        starts delicately proffering food. It's sunny again, so the light might
        not be ideal for the pictures, but the birds are shifting positions
        quite a bit during this feeding, so I bet Jon's getting some good
        angles.

        Now both adults are on the nest, with the baby between them, oriented
        toward Jon. I hope he's getting some "proud parent" pictures. I laugh
        out loud because they look so beautiful through my binoculars, and the
        second adult flies off. Darn! Generally they seem pretty oblivious to
        noise, but I'm pretty sure I startled him. Sorry Jon!

        Jon came down and told me the male has the grayer head, is a little
        smaller, and is definitely the one hunting. Or at least that was the
        case today. It's good to have that question answered.


        __________________________________________________

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      • Kate Marianchild
        Hi All. This hawk diary business has become very time consuming! Between watching and writing and orienting friends to the nest, and entertaining friends who
        Message 3 of 6 , May 24, 2005
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          Hi All. This hawk diary business has become very time consuming!
          Between watching and writing and orienting friends to the nest, and
          entertaining friends who come to watch I'm finding it hard to get
          anything else done! Eeek! But it's a labor of love and this opportunity
          may never come again. Now my diaries are being printed in the Ukiah
          Daily Journal, with Jon's incredible pictures, so I am working more on
          the quality of the writing than I did on the installments I sent out
          before. (You'll notice a little early repetition in this installment,
          which is what I just sent to the Journal).

          Unfortunately the Journal all of a sudden printed the first unedited
          draft I had sent to them as a teaser at a point when I thought we were
          still in the negotiation phase. So I've learned never to send anything
          that I don't consider print-ready. But Richard, at the Journal, and I,
          are developing a good working relationship.

          Jon Klein has driven here from the coast three times now, and has spent
          4.5 - 5.5 hours in the blind at a time. Again, please don't send his
          photos on, or use them in any way without giving him credit. BTW, the
          Journal is going to do a full story on him, with pix. Richard
          interviewed him yesterday.

          For those of you on Mendobirds, for some reasons the pictures don't
          come through, but George Chaniot is posting them on the Peregrine
          Audubon website.


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          HAWK DIARIES (2ND INSTALLMENT FOR THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL)

          Special to the Journal by Kate Marianchild

          (This is the second installment of my diary about a red-shouldered hawk
          family that lives near my home. I live in oak woodland northwest of
          Ukiah. The nest is high in an oak tree, and is about 60 feet from my
          viewpoint. The sex of the hawk baby is not known, but I have decided to
          refer to her as a female in order to make the writing easier).

          Sunday, May 8
          Rain. The red-shouldered hawklet is growing by flights and bounds. She
          spreads her grey-white wings and the breath catches in my throat. She�s
          so young, and so new to her wings. One of the parents is keeping her
          warm. I�ve learned that only half of bird babies survive until it�s
          time to fledge, but I hope the numbers are a little higher among
          raptors. I hope this baby will fly.

          May 10
          She survived the rain. She is 13 days old today.

          Morning � A parent brought a lizard to the nest. I now hear peeping
          when a parent arrives, even without food. The baby (my goddaughter!)
          appears vigorous and has a good appetite. It's funny to see a sharply
          aquiline profile on such a fuzzy head and body. Overall she appears to
          be about the size and shape of a small crookneck squash.

          The hawklet was left alone in nest for almost 3 minutes. She gazed
          straight at me. The fleshy part at the top of her upper bill, the cere,
          is starting to turn a light yellowish-green. Overall she is still
          grey-white. She has about 30 more days to grow into her full size and
          plumage before she fledges.

          Late afternoon: Watched with Kayla. Kayla and I both thought we saw
          something white fly out from the center of the nest. Projectile
          pooping?

          May 11
          Sunny. Definitely saw something white ejected from inside the nest,
          vicinity of baby. Projectile poop. What a talent. Big rodent arrived.
          These parents are so competent! Jon Klein came and took pictures today.
          He climbed an oak to get closer to the nest, and set up a blind of
          green sheets and camo netting. Inside the blind is a structure of
          lashed 2x4�s that he sits and leans on. It�s way out on a mossy
          horizontal limb 25 feet off the ground. Ingenious. He figured out that
          the adult who spends the most time at the nest and feeds the baby is
          definitely the female. The male is smaller and has a greyer head.

          May 12
          Jon came back today for more pictures, and is up in the tree right now.
          He's hoping for feeding pictures. I'm working on my laptop at the
          landlubbers' viewing point.

          The hawklet is too big to fit under her mother today, so she is sitting
          and clambering around beside her. She appears to be about a third again
          larger than she was yesterday! What if she falls out?

          I hope something interesting happens so Jon can get good pictures.

          Oh, here we go! Dad arrives, huge wings spread for landing, carrying a
          baby rabbit. Rabbit transferred to Mom, who puts it down. Dad leaves
          the nest immediately. Baby chirp-chirps. Mom looks around as if
          pretending she doesn�t know the rabbit is there. Is she hoping the baby
          will start feeding herself? More waiting. Finally Mom gives in and
          tears off a chunk. She tips her head and delicately offers a morsel to
          her baby. The next bite is way too big for baby so she gulps it down
          herself. Mom has an absent-minded moment and drops a chunk of flesh on
          her baby�s head.


          May 12, 2005
          I heard a commotion and came out of my house. High overhead a
          red-shouldered hawk was screaming at a circling red-tailed hawk. He
          screamed and screamed until the red tail nonchalantly drifted out of
          �our� territory. I ran over to the nest. The baby was alone but OK. Had
          Mom participated in the defense of the baby?

          The little hawk was not very active today. I am worried that she is
          sick. I couldn�t help but think how helpless the parents would be if
          faced with a sick youngster. At around 6:30 p.m. the mother kept
          tucking and pushing a big sprig of oak leaves around in the nest. Maybe
          she�s trying to raise the floor, which must be pretty gunky by now.
          Baby has started scratching and preening. The tips of her wing feathers
          are turning black. They look like black fringe. The intervals when no
          adult is at the nest are getting longer - maybe 8-10 minutes.

          I have a burning question: where does the dad spend the night?

          May 14, 2005
          The mom is working at arranging lichen (old man�s beard). Does it help
          control mites and vermin? The baby falls over a couple of times while
          trying to move around in the nest. I wonder if she has a bad leg. Both
          parents are away for 50 minutes � the longest absence yet. I hope they
          haven�t abandoned the baby because she�s gimpy. I�ve become a very
          anxious godmother!

          Mother comes back carrying a branch with trailing lichen. Puts it on
          the floor of the nest. Oh, I get it! When the baby falls over it�s
          probably because she�s tripping on branches and twigs and lichen.

          It�s after noon and the baby hasn�t eaten since 9:30. Mama�s clearly
          wondering when Dad is going to come with food. She finds a dried up old
          carcass lying around in the nest and tugs hard to get a few ratty
          strands off of it. Baby chirps. Receives a skimpy morsel. Mom flies off
          with the old carcass clutched in one talon. She calls from nearby, but
          gets no response from Dad. She flies back and lands on a branch near
          the nest, still carrying the carcass. She keeps looking around and
          calling for her mate. I wonder if something has happened to him. She
          flies back to the nest, still clutching carcass. More than an hour
          later, at 1:21, Dad finally arrives with a rodent. A foodless interval
          of almost 4 hours.

          May 19
          Baby much bigger. Her wingspan might be 24 inches! She survived the
          latest unseasonable torrential downpours. She�s preening a lot, and
          walking more confidently on edge of nest. But she looks like hell -
          like a wad of cotton that got rolled around in dirty sand. It�s because
          her dark colors are coming in. Mama appears to be eating lichen.

          May 21
          Jon in tree. It looks like Mama is eating mites off the baby. How? Does
          she spear them with the hook on her bill? Dark banding is showing on
          baby�s tail. No sign of baby feeding herself yet.

          Jon comes down. He says my goddaughter is spoiled! Years ago he watched
          another red-shouldered hawklet, and by this age both parents were away
          from the nest most of the time. They would just drop off food and leave
          the baby to feed itself. Once he saw them drop off a live snake. The
          baby tried to swallow it live. The baby would get the snake halfway
          down and then it would wriggle back out! Gross. Jim Armstrong is
          watching a red-shouldered hawk nest right now, and �his� baby is alone
          most of the day. My goddaughter has her mom with her most of the time,
          and is still being fed.

          May 22
          I�ve been pondering the� spoiled baby� question. I have four theories:
          1) the baby is delicate in some way and needs extra care; 2) she is a
          slow learner; 3) there isn�t a lot of canopy above this nest, and one
          parent has to be there most of the time for protection; 4) the dad is
          such a good provider and the hunting is so good that this family can
          afford to have a Stay-at-Home Mom. I lean toward the latter theory.




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