Monday, May 17, 2010

Have mouse - won't share - now what?

Let's enjoy these amazing eyasses while we have them, as this is probably the last couple of weeks for them on the nest before they fledge.

I received a very interesting video clip from CamFan showing the first incidence of one of the eyasses "mantling" over food - a mouse just delivered by a parent hawk. Mantling is a common hawk behavior (see image below) where the bird leans over and
spreads its wings out over food to conceal it from the direct vision of other hawks. (For more on mantling, see the blog entry of July 28, 2009.)

In the video (see below) when the parent delivers a mouse, an eyass quickly grabs it, mantles a bit, then doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. Time passes, and when the parent returns, the eyass starts to mantle again. The haggard, totally unimpressed by baby-mantling, takes the mouse away. Another eyass grabs it, but the haggard gets it back. More tugging, and finally one winds up consuming most of it.

Shortly after that, another mouse is brought in, but this time the parent has control and there is a more ‘regular’ organized feeding.

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