Monday, July 6, 2009
All's well with the Franklin hawks after the Fourth of July
The hawk family is doing fine after the Fourth of July fireworks and disruption in their back yard. No matter how early we get there, they are up and out - no sleepy heads in this group!
The big excitement this morning was seeing an eyass (we think) with prey that it had caught by itself! We (Kay, Carolyn and I) were on 20th Street behind the Library, and saw an eyass fly to the top of a nearby apartment building, clearly holding prey in its talons.
When it landed, it seemed a bit unsure of what to do next, almost stomping on whatever creature it had, and changing its grip before settling down to eat. Hard to be sure, though, if this was an eyass or a haggard as the tail seems red, but in the following picture, it looks browner.
The next excitement was watching the eyasses flying in and out of the trees, weaving around the construction fence that surrounds their meadow, and often perching on it.
The hawks give away their location by their seagull-like calling to each other. This morning, I heard lots of calling over in the tree avenue along the Parkway, and it seemed to be centered in one or two trees, so I walked down and under the trees following the noise, and what should I see but an eyass on top of a light on a light pole, with the others in the tree above watching.
Then I saw that she (had to be a female - so big) had prey! It was either a pigeon or squirrel - it was quite sizeable. She did not plan to share but was having trouble keeping her footing on the slippery surface on top of the light, so she flapped/hopped to the top of a nearby pole for a bit, then went back to the light.
A hawk then flew out of the trees and over to a utility wire. He made an EXCELLENT landing on the swinging wire.
He looked much smaller than the one that had been eating, so I assumed it was Portico.
He then flew down to the ground and was walking around and pecking away just like a chicken - or would that be a chicken hawk?!
You can just about spy him in the center of this picture. This is the first time I've seen any of them happily on the ground.
Then he flew up into one of the trees by the construction fence along 20th Street. He perched in a really low branch, and as I got close I saw the red tail, so it was Dad not Portico. That accounted for the excellent utility line landing!
While all these dramas were ongoing, the rest of the gang was flying around - almost getting in my way! Quite amazing.
We definitely saw four of the five hawks today, and possibly all five. What a privilege it is to see these magnificent birds seemingly so comfortable and competent in their urban environment.