Monday, June 6, 2011

Friday afternoon with the eyasses

When the afternoon sun swung round onto the nest last Friday, Kay Meng took full advantage of the extraordinary lighting conditions for these wonderful images of the eyasses.

There is very little fluff left now on their heads and bodies... 

... and what there is looks like dandelion seeds caught on the tips of their sprouting feathers.

Their eyes are now completely gold, and their chests are covered with beautiful peach-chestnut plumage.

They spend a lot of time surveying the landscape from their high window ledge.  Looking left, they can see all the way up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  The traffic right below coming towards them is on 21st Street which crosses over the submerged Vine Street Expressway - six lanes of dense traffic whizzing by night and day.

Looking to the right is the 20th Street overpass crossing Vine Street, and the tree-lined BF Parkway.  The white finger-like shape against the right side of the window is one of the Civil War monuments.  When the eyasses fledge in a few more days, they will head for those trees and the monuments.  The haggards will drop food for them on top of the monuments which provide an easy landing area and space for food.

John Blakeman is able to tell the sex of eyasses from the structure of their tarsal bones (ankles in humans), and observed in the pictures below that:

"It's still too early to sex all of the birds, but these [feet] are definitely formels. Nice thick tarsi on those birds. So there is at least one formel among the trio."

These feet now have fearsome talons...

... that look as if they belong to birds much older than seven weeks old.

Their plumage is becoming denser by the day...

... and is extraordinarily beautiful seen close up.

The eyasses are intensely curious and fix their gaze on whatever catches their attention - mostly Kay and her photographic activity...

 ... but also a passing insect

... and the tiercel as he flew by.

This eyass peeped loudly and frantically as it watched dad come into view.

The haggards continue to do a superb job of hunting and providing food.  On Saturday, the eyasses were so full that they could not finish their pigeon lunch. It lay on the ledge available for later snacking.

This is in contrast to Friday evening when dinner was a bit late, and this eyass resorted to picking through nest trash for any left-over morsels.

The next big event for the eyasses will be fledging, when they take their first flight away from the nest.  Nest viewers are nervously watching the bounce flapping get increasingly higher and more powerful.

At the moment, most of this activity is done facing inwards to the window, but soon they will be facing the other way, bouncing and looking out at the world into which they will soon be taking flight.


  1. Stunning photos and great descriptions. Love the fact that
    Mr. Blakeman can sex the birds by their ankles.

    Thanks so much as usual.

  2. Amazing pictures! The close up of the wing feathers is remarkable! Thanks to both of you, Della and Kay.

  3. These are extraordinary photos. It is such a privilege to see them. Thanks to both of you for a fascinating blog.

  4. so a "formel" is a male or female hawk?
    what are the correct names for the hawk and/or falcon genders?