Sunday, June 05, 2011

East Harlem Kestrel Rescue

June is a very busy month if you are a birder in New York City. The fact is birds nest pretty much everywhere in the City and when their young fledge, there are scant safe places for them to complete their flight training. As a result, many individuals--both officially sanctioned and self-appointed--assume the responsibility of giving these birds at least a halfway decent chance of surviving beyond the first jump. One tool that has emerged are the listservs where citizens, volunteers and "official bird people" can share information about birds that have gotten into trouble. One such announcement came in this morning about some "hawks" in a garden not far from my house. Arriving on scene, I saw this gorgeous but still very young, male kestrel on a Park bench.

The local community garden may appear to be a perfect oasis for these guys, but in fact Parks and gardens are patrolled by many feral cats. This one was no exception and we saw at least one black and white cat climbing a tree in order to get a robin while there. Because of this, these young falcons are assured a death sentence if left on the ground. And although young, this bird was mostly flighted, so it was imperative no to spook it. It took some time, but I managed to get right next to him for a quick capture.

After that, I gave it an inspection to see if any external injuries were visible and that its wings and legs were in good working order. If there were, I have a rehabber on speed-dial! No sign of hunger trace, feather mites or bumblefoot and of course the look down the gullet for frounce.

Once he checked out, I figured it was best to get him to a safe spot where the parents would see it. A nearby roof provided a perfect cats, no holes for him to fall into, no wiring or fencing to get snagged on and a lip surrounding the roof that he would have to jump over to get off the roof.

I gently placed him down and backed away. From a safe spot, we watched the Mom show up and take a few calls from him before moving off. The male worked his way back across the roof to over look the garden, but then settled safely in.

From experience I knew that there can be up to 4 chicks so I then set out to find the remaining brood. After some careful searching, we found the scrape in a building across the street that revealed two more babies soon to go.

While taking a picture we also found a fourth female, already fledged.

Good luck guys and to the 111th St Herb Community Garden, thanks for caring!

1 comment:

Rob Jett said...

James to the rescue! Great job and great pics.