Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Loose Park Red Tails: An Update

Well Spring has turned to Summer and the nestlings have become fledglings.  In recent weeks Amy and I have spotted at least two fledglings out of the nest.  They can fly but have not learned to catch food for themselves so their parents have been kept busy.

Three Feathers on a recent visit to our window at work.
We have named the more dominant one Cream and the more dependent bird Three Feathers.  Three Feathers has three dark feathers protruding from the neck into the white or cream upper chest area.  Three Feathers spends a lot of time calling to be feed while and seems to have more trouble flying.  She spent a lot of time on the ground alongside a building or perching on top of the building's cornice.

Cream is less vocal but more dominant.   He (I assume he is a male) has less trouble flying, tends to be more posed, more independent.  He is called Cream because his entire chest, belly and legs are an unmarked Cream or Off-white color.  Cream is a beautiful bird that I first noticed in the nest with his stark coloration.

What is special about following these Red-Tails is the ability to compare their behavior to last years brood.  There always seems to be a dominant sibling, probably the first born. They tend to hang around near their natal nest as long as their parents are feeding them.  Last year's adults seemed to disappear in late summer or fall leaving the young to fend for themselves.  The last I saw of last years young was in late Fall early Winter in a neighborhood several miles from the nest.  A young Red-Tail hand caught a squirrel and was getting ready to eat when another Red-Tail came over to claim the food much to the vocal protests of the first Red-Tail.  But readily acquiesced to the more dominant Red-Tail.   I have not seen them since and wish them well.

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