Friday, December 17, 2010

Soul Mate

Its a known fact that raptors mate for life. The peregrines at Broadway Bridge have been together for almost 10 years and in that time have sired numerous broods from the bounty to be found on their territory. At this nest I've previously found the remains of Pigeons, starlings, flickers, crows, grackles, woodcock, cuckoos, catbirds, thrashers, cedar waxwings and the occasional parakeet. In addition, they will also attempt to kill any other raptor that flies into their turf. One of their most hated intruders is the always present juvenile red-tailed hawk who tries to poach their pigeon flock. Today I was able to observe the pair as they launched a concerted attack on this wayward hawk just over, ironically enough, the neighborhood Target.

They drove it off past the VA hospital and then circled low over Baker's Field.

Here's the male landing next to her after failing to copulate.

They stayed there for some time, scanning the water for any passing birds. Then together they both flew off,

giving me a great look at them flying in tandem! They returned to the Bridge where again I heard the female utter her territorial "Eee-Chuck!" call, telling the male of an intruder.

To my astonishment, it was not another pesky hawk, but an adult male peregrine! It wheeled above and then dove at the perched male, breaking off just in time. It then lit out low over Broadway. Here's the resident male flying out in hot pursuit...

He eventually caught up with the challenger way south over Dyckman,

as they clashed over and over in a brutal and poetic loop. Eventually they were too tiny to see so I ran south after them. After some searching I was unable to find them. I noticed the sun began to set, so I thought I might have time left to visit Swindler's Cove, but couldnt make it so I went to nearby Sherman's Creek instead. Peering out over to the Bronx I heard the soft "chuuurrrrrrrr!" of a Belted Kingfisher. It was threatening some stray cat nearing its tree. As it flew off, I manage to grab these pics...

I was on such a bird high after that! I am just very thankful that such amazing natural beauty can be found amidst our paved and littered landscape. On a final note, over by the Sanitation Station there is now a huge colony of American Crows. I stopped counting after 40. Apparently they use the garbage trucks as their main food source and have really multiplied. I observed them for a bit today and got to meet the old matriarch of the bunch!

Here's one group of them discussing the relative merits of Wikileaks!


Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, James! What a day.

yojimbot said...

thanks so much for your support. yes a brilliant day!