Saturday, March 22, 2014

T2 is gone....

We heard the saddest news today. Earlier this week, Amtrak workers in the train yards near 30th Street station found a dead hawk on the tracks. Because T2 has not been seen since last Sunday, it seems highly likely that this hawk was T2. 

It is easy to imagine that he was on a fast hunting run, eyes totally focused on his prey, flying low over the tracks just as a train was coming. This is how Dad was hit by a truck two years ago on the 30th Street off-ramp.

These are the last two pictures of we have of T2.  They were taken by Dinko Mitic last Sunday, March 16.

           Dinko Mitic


As T2 prepares to launch, we can see his broken left wing feathers which now will never be replaced.

                                        Dinko Mitic


T2 will always be remembered as the young hero hawk who unexpectedly showed up soon after Dad's (the original Franklin Institute tiercel) death left Mom alone on the nest with three newly hatched eyasses. She allowed T2 to bring desperately needed food to the nest, to feed the eyasses, and to help her raise the baby hawks all the way through to a successful fledging for all three. It is possible that he made red-tail hawk history as this appeared to be the first time that a "step-tiercel" had raised another hawk's offspring, and that a formel had allowed a strange hawk to join her in a parental role when they were not a mated pair.

Last year, we were excited to see that Mom and T2 remained together, and T2 raised his own offspring through to successful fledging. Then came the sadness of losing two of those juveniles to window strikes, leaving Peanut alone to be T2's legacy, along with Dad's last three eyasses that T2 helped Mom raise. T2 was truly a hawk hero.

So now Mom is once again on her own. We don't know if she has laid any eggs yet on the lights platform, but it seems unlikely because the pile of sticks there does not appear to be a finished nest, and she has not returned there this week.

On Thursday, March 20, Dinko captured this new hawk flying quite a bit higher than Mom. She definitely saw it, and they both disappeared over toward the ball field.

           Dinko Mitic

On Friday, March 21, Kevin captured this juvenile hawk flying in the territory.  Its brown striped tail clearly marks it as a juvenile.  Is this the same hawk as yesterday?

                              Kevin Vaughan

It is all too easy to anthropomorphize and believe that she is looking for T2. 

                                        Carolyn Sutton

She knows she needs a mate if she is to lay eggs, incubate and hatch them.  Is she actively checking out these "floater" hawks that are appearing?

           Kevin Vaughan

We do know that she seems to have lost interest in that lights platform now that T2 has gone. 

She spent most of yesterday, March 21, in the immediate vicinity of the Franklin Institute.  Chris Ryan watched her for several hours, and observed her sitting on the former Board of Education building right next to the Franklin Institute.

           Chris Ryan


           Chris Ryan


She then took off, and flew directly to...

           Chris Ryan


... the Franklin Institute! 

           Chris Ryan


Finally, she flew over to her favorite trees across the Vine Street Expressway facing the nest.

           Chris Ryan


Mom sat in those trees across from Franklin Institute for over an hour. 

With the loss of her mate who had drawn her to the less familiar areas near the train yards, is she perhaps reconnecting with the territory that is so familiar to her?  Will she draw another young tiercel to join her and introduce him to the Franklin Institute nest as she did with T2?  

I have so many wonderful memories of T2, but perhaps my favorite is that miraculous morning when he flew onto the Franklin Institute nest for the first time, carrying his food offering of a small vole, and closely escorted by Mom.

           Franklin Institute


           Franklin Institute
          

Nothing has felt settled with the hawks this spring from the moment they headed over to that lights tower platform, but I don't think any one envisioned the events of this past week, ending with the loss of T2 and even more uncertainty for Mom.

7 comments:

  1. Many thanks, Della, for posting your heartfelt thoughts during this sad period. You said it best, "T2 was truly a hawk hero". So many rely on your blog to keep us up-to-date and we truly appreciate the time you invest. Hugs going out to you, my friend! <3

    Mary aka hawkgeek

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  2. So sorry about T2. I think Mom is comfortable in her territory and a male will come to her. IT would be interesting to get Blakeman's take on the new events.

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  3. So sad. T2 was very special indeed. Thank you for your wonderful writing, Della. I am sure we all hope for another special hawk to enter Mom's life. T3... where are you?

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  4. Yes, we can all hope she will produce viable eggs and a new "step-hawk" to help care for them. We do know Mom is welcoming. My spring won't be complete without watching the hawk family. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to these wonderful creatures.

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  5. Thank you, Della, for your sensitive narrative in these sad circumstances. I hope to read yet another posting on your blog, one that will be more cheerful.

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  6. Michelle, Colorado Springs, COMarch 22, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    I'm so saddened by the news of T2. He was such a great step dad. One of the most interesting wild bird stories in my lifetime. RIP T2. You will be missed. It's going to be interesting to see what Mom does this year. Fingers crossed for her. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  7. Della, I too love those last two photos of T2 bringing food to the nest for the first time. A hero hawk whose life was cut way too short. I hope Mom will be okay. Thank you and all the others for your continued reporting.

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