Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nesting in Kestrels HD

119th St. Kestrels

They are in serious nesting mode and very sensitive to my presence near their scrape. As I hung back, the male called out to the female!

The male flying to transfer the prey.

The female flying out with the squab.

Later appearing on the roof with the prepared carcass for the young!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why I love Science.

The natural world always holds a deeper mystery. Just when you think you know the deal, something else takes place that radically changes your understanding. The best tool for this discovery is science, based on observation, rather than heresay. As Darwin himself says, "To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact." For this I submit the case of the Morningside Kestrels!
The male still bringing food to the female.

Flying to the scrape after transferring the prey in Morningside Park.

I didnt hear chicks responding to his entry, so its hard to say where they are in the nesting period...but as I watched the female in Morningside, I noticed a dark shape dart towards a tv aerial on Manhattan Ave. As I spun around, I was incredulous to see a female kestrel dive into a hole! Amazed I checked back towards the female in Morningside Park, and she was still there. Incredibly, another male kestrel showed up and then promptly flew into the nest hole too!

At once I accepted the inevitable conclusion, there must be two independent kestrel nests, within 1 block of each other! Totally unprecedented. To seal the deal, I waited out the cavity in the late evening, to find the female heading home!

Here are the approximate locations of the scrapes.

Good luck to both nesters!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bird Banding @ 55 Water St.

I had an awesome opportunity to tag along with Chris Nadareski from the DEP as he banded the 4 young from the 55 Water St. nest (2 male, 2 female). Like all great bird handlers, Chris was calm, relaxed and professional as he took on the not so easy task of wrangling a very PO'ed mama peregrine. In fact she refused to leave the nest,

so Chris hand captured her in order to safely remove the babies!

Here's her release and subsequent joining up with the male to defend the nest.

With the babies safely in baskets, we began the work of health checks and tagging.

Checking for lice and mites...

checking for frounce.

The outstretched finger prompts a feeding response in the chick so you can look in the mouth and throat.

The good people of 55 Water St., the NYC DEP and our future bird taker-carer-of-ers!
We then returned the was not stoked to see us!

Back in da Nest!

All in all it they were away for about 30 minutes and once back in the scrape quickly returned to their mother's incredible care and protection. Thanks again to 55 Water St., The New York Post, the NYC DEP and all the people out there who care! Good luck little guys...we'll be watching.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How fast is fast?

The Canon 7D shoots in bursts of 8 frames per second. Here's a sequence of 3 shots, taking place over 3/8ths or .375 seconds! In other words, the bird goes from a complete standstill to launching off and into a dive in 1/3rd of second.

Here he is inspecting the rooftop of PS 180.