Sunday, January 20, 2008


Finally the New York winter has shown its chapped head. Cold and wind make a dangerous climate for people, but its just fine for raptors. Some of the observations I have made involves seasonality of inter-special aggression. Its fascinating to me how some months out of the year, birds are more or less tolerant, while in others, totally committed to their annihilation. For example, during winter, the kestrels rarely harrass the resident RTHs, I often see the kestrel hunting pigeons in the shadow of a perched Red tailed Hawk. While in spring and fall they attack them whenever possible.

One relationship that does not change is the complete intolerance of peregrine falcons to RTH's. In particular, they are relentless in their attacking of juvenile RTHs. I think that some of the damage I see on young birds is from these resident RTHs.

I have recently been intrigued by the relationship between Cooper's hawks and Peregrines. At both Broadway Bridge and Riverside Church, I have found young Cooper's hunting in the shadow of perched Peregrines. The other day I think I had an event that might explain why. I was watching a peregrine circle the tower and make occasional stoops. As a result all of the pigeons had been driven down into the park. After a few minutes of punishing wind, I huge Cooper's dove down the avenue and glided, talons out, into the flock.

As the flock regrouped above the bird, the peregrine started off of the scaffolding.

I watched the Cooper's circle around the tower, as the peregrine hovered over the Church. The pigeons promptly flew off, leaving the falcon to return to its perch.

Riverside Church from my roof.

If you really look, there's the falcon on the scaffolding!
Here's a shot of the Cathedral male on a favored perch as well!

Fly on intrepid youngster!

No comments: