Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday is bath day!

Yesterday was a bittersweet morning of hawk watching as once again, there were no eyasses to be seen. I last saw an eyass - think it was Portico - last Friday up at the Art Museum (see the previous blog post for pics), and Carolyn saw a single one last Tuesday. They have clearly separated from the parents, and are making their way as independent birds.

Another possible reason for their scarcity is the incredibly hot weather we currently have in Philadelphia. Today is the fifth day of the heatwave with temperatures well into the 90's. Maybe the eyasses are shading up out of the sun and heat.

However, just as I thought it was going to be a hawkless morning, I spied a haggard up on the ledge of the Franklin Institute, quite close to the nest. But this did not look like the sleek, well-feathered birds we're used to seeing! Its head and neck were soaked, and its feathers were a real mess. Molting is definitely underway.

Based on the dark face coloring, we think this was the tiercel (Dad).

As the hawk started to preen, we could see that he was wet all over, and probably had recently had a bath - maybe in the fountains at nearby Logan Square.

Up on the ledge, he was catching the breezes and sun to get dried out.

He kept his eyes on Kay as if to say, "Can't you leave me in peace just this one time?"


  1. Still here reading Della, thanks for the wonderful updates and pictures that you guys have been taking. Are you sure this was one of our "family/" He sure looks quite different these days! I wonder if John can tell us if the heat affects these birds- they have lived through such weather since hatching- high winds, thunderstorms, and now the scorching heat and humidity as well as the storm we had today and on Wednesday night. Just curious as to wheat he could tell us.

    Keep up the hawk watching- we are still with you.


  2. Was recently there and wish I knew about this! Cool!

  3. What an unusual lot of animal paintings. You obviously enjoy painting them. Lots of animal paintings can be browsed at who supplies canvas prints from the images. How about this one?: by Archibald Thorburn, a Scottish bird artist,, of a Great Auk.