Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fasten your seat belts, hawkwatchers - fledge time is near.

Any day now, the eyasses will fledge from the nest.  

           Pamela Dimeler

As with all other milestones, these hawks stick closely to their timeline, and in previous years, it has been right around 47 days from when the third egg hatches to when the first eyass jumps off the nest.

So May 4 was when #3 hatched, and today, June 19, is the 47th day.

I sent John Blakeman some of yesterday's hawk pictures of outstretched wings and close-ups of their head feathers, and asked his opinion on how soon they might fledge.  His response:

"All of these eyasses could jump at any time. There is virtually no down left on the head feathers, and the head feathers have almost completely covered their heads. 

The remnant feather sheaths, anywhere on the birds, are no longer debilitating or consequential; merely artifacts of end-stage feather development. 

But don't be concerned if any of the eyasses (or all of them) elect to stay on the nest for a few more days. One of the Cornell eyasses persisted for many days, when it could have jumped much earlier. There is no way really to predict a jump-off date. The birds have no quantitative compulsion to jump after a typical number of days. Much more stochastic -- chance and random number. 

They all look healthy, alert, and prepared for the airspace they will soon pierce and begin to dominate. 

Give my regards to everyone at FI and the website. Another successful year."      --John Blakeman


The eyasses continue to flap hard and literally spread their wings, and we can see how well developed those feathers now are.


           Pamela Dimeler


           Pamela Dimeler


No more feather sheaths are visible.

          Valerie Russell Hutton


Most of the wing flapping now is facing forwards to the street, another sign that fledging is imminent. 

          Christopher Ryan



           Pamela Dimeler


This is #3, just as ready as its older siblings.

           Pamela Dimeler


As they become more confident, they get closer to the edge... Maalox time!

           Carolyn Sutton


They are jumping vertically higher and higher "catching air"...

                    Pamela Dimeler


... and as with the flapping, are starting to jump sideways...

                Pamela Dimeler


... and ever higher.

          Valerie Russell Hutton


As they jump/flap in and out of the nest from the ledge, they are getting more air time...

           Pamela Dimeler


... and are running out of landing space.

           Pamela Dimeler


It is definitely getting crowded on the nest, and they are not respectful of each other's space.

           Pamela Dimeler


However, when The Boss returns, the body language changes drastically!

          Christopher Ryan


As soon as food becomes part of the equation, though, all decorum is gone.

          Christopher Ryan


If you click on the above image to enlarge it, you can clearly see the difference in eye color between the eyasses (gold) and the formel (dark). The eyes will stay gold for the first two years.

They spend a lot of time out on the ledge now, and the Franklin Institute has now switched over to the ledge camera...

           Tess Cook


... which is positioned outside the Board Room window.

           Pamela Dimeler


This camera lets us see all the action outside of the nest.

                                  Pamela Raitt


Mom and T2 continue to bring food constantly to their ravenous offspring.  Rat remains a favorite...

           Kevin Vaughan


... as well as squirrel.

            Della Micah


But it is quite possible that the two white pigeons in the Family Court flock are no more.  On June 15, dinner was noticeably paler than usual...

            Della Micah


... and it was again a menu item on June 17.

          Christopher Ryan


When they are not eating or sleeping, the eyasses take note of everything in their environment, whether is in on the ground below...

           Pamela Dimeler


... in the air above...

           Pamela Dimeler


... to the  right...

           Pamela Dimeler


... or to the left.

          Valerie Russell Hutton


And all the while, the haggards watch the nest...

          Christopher Ryan


... for anything untoward.  Mom is on the right.

          Christopher Ryan


More often, she is at the tip-top of her favorite tree...

          Christopher Ryan


... while T2 is off hunting.

                Kevin Vaughan


So let's wish these wonderful eyasses a safe fledge and happy landings as they get ready...

           Pamela Dimeler


... to make that first big jump.

                Pamela Dimeler


Let me express my huge appreciation as always for the magnificent photographs from so many hawk followers.   Your images make it a joy to write this blog.


4 comments:

  1. Wonderfully written blog and magnificent photos!

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  2. Great photos and great comments. Love the babies looking up down and sideways and love how meek they look when a parent shows up. Typical! This is the last group to fledge and I will miss them. My two locals, both singletons, have also fledged. But thank heavens for the Osprey cams from U of Montana! Those kids will be around at least until the end of the summer. Huzzah!...Ann Feldman

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  3. Watching these marvelous creatures never gets old. The pictures and captions here are so very entertaining and educational at the same time. The site is such a delight. All good wishes to the FI hawk family and their admirers! ~CityWoman (NYU hawk cam chat member)

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  4. Thankyou. What a wild ride it's been....I really think they are so much stronger this year. Perhaps T2 has stronger genes. Gorgeous birds, fantastic photos, shared from the best eyes in the city. I'd miss most of the show if it wasn't for these photos. Thank you, everyone of you!
    Maureen (Fort Washington)

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