Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Sticks on the Nest!!

On July 6, the Director of Operations at the Franklin Institute observed one of the haggards bringing sticks to the nest. From ground level looking up, we have also noticed new sticks on the nest. Gene Mancini relayed this information to John Blakeman who sent this enlightening reply:

"This is just a bit of left over breeding behavior. Rather common, and may be seen even in August. The parents still are in the breeding mode. Most of their efforts right now go into feeding the eyasses, although that is just now starting to taper off. The adults just like to be doing something related to the raising of their young. Tending the nest, ever so incidentally and infrequently, is expressed with stick carrying, usually to the nest itself.

And don't be alarmed if someone sees some sticks being carried to a tree or to another ledge on another building. That will not mean that the Franklin Institute nest is being abandoned. Pale Male carries sticks all around Central Park in NYC at this time of year, and places them in some very likely new nest sites, but he always returns in winter to his old nest site.

Some might think that this summer stick behavior indicates that a second clutch might be considered. Perhaps it is, but it's biologically impossible for a second clutch of eggs to be laid at this late date. Red-tails are large birds, and big hawks such as these simply do not have the time or energy resources to lay second clutches. Smaller birds - even peregrines - can, but not red-tails, at least not in temperate latitudes such as Philadelphia and my northern Ohio.

But this does indicate that the Philadelphia haggards are still attached to the nest. That's good. It virtually assures that barring any injury or disease that they will be back next winter.

-- John Blakeman


  1. Yeah! John Blakeman, get down here to meet our hawks!

  2. First time I've checked in since the hawkcam went off, so glad to see our family is still prospering in the city - thanks to everyone for the reporting and pictures :)
    -Chris (ScoopThePelican)

  3. Pale Male! I am reading about him in Red-Tails in Love, by Marie Winn, a book about the Central Park birds. Just wanted to mention that book! Love these birds!

    Maureen in Phila.