Saturday, August 15, 2009

Eyass at the Art Museum

One of the eyasses seems to have made the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its surroundings its personal stomping grounds. Yesterday, Kay, Carolyn and I found it perched on a railing right next to the Rocky steps at the front of the Museum. It had flown in from the nearby trees, and swooped down to a grassy area then onto the railing.

It was definitely hunting, and made a grab for some unlucky creature, but it turned out to be a very lucky - or perhaps just extremely agile - creature, as all our eyass caught was a beakful of grass!

It then sat there calmly watching all the Friday morning rush hour activity around the Museum that included the finish line of a 5K race nearby. It takes a lot now to startle these hawks.

Kay was able to move really close in, and as the eyass observed her with great curiosity, one got the feeling that they almost recognize us as the folks that hike around with them in their early morning jaunts!

This eyass then flew up to the Art Museum roof and appeared to pounce on something - probably a sparrow. We watched it start to eat behind one of the gargoyle-like structures, and once again it peeked down at us as if to say, "Are youse guys STILL there?" (It's a Philly hawk!)

On the river side of the Museum, a skateboard park is being constructed as part of the Schuylkill Banks development. The construction crew (Dave and Glenn) report sightings of the hawks most every day hunting in that area. The female haggard, in particular, has claimed this area and earlier this week, Carolyn spied her in a tree overhanging the river. The shadows make her neck look vulture-skinny!

Carolyn sent me the following comments on her hawk watch: "I saw an eyass fly from the Museum roof to the construction area and was trying to track it when Dave and Glenn pointed out the other hawks sitting quite visibly on low tree branches right above the river banks. They told me they often see three hawks there, catching snakes, mice, etc. I saw an eyass make a pass at a jumping fish while flying from a tree on the other side of the river. I saw Mom dive from her branch onto something in the brush below and eat it very quickly. She spent a couple of hours perching on a variety of poles and trees, watching intently. This seems like a REALLY good place to hunt, what with the digging, steep brush covered riverbanks, and clear sightlines."

This morning (Saturday) Carolyn noted that the eyass was very visible around the Museum. She also saw a haggard earlier but it was chased away by the eyass. There was minimal squawking, only when the parent was around.