10/24/04

Oh Draw Me Lord

(The title of the song that I'm listening to as I start this post, by Selah)

I was flipping through channels, submitting to a temporary addiction to the WB, when I came across what first looked like a home video. It was a few people having a little stakeout in Central Park @ NYC, with powerful binoculars, and cameras and camcorders attached to them. They were all focused on the ledge of a building on 5th Avenue that was home to a nest of three Redtailed Hawks. They were at just about the age of testing their wings, but the advantages of sugh a high overlooking vantage point were overshadowed by the disadvantages of not having branches reaching high enough to the ledge for safe testing of the wings.

The group of birdwatchers stuck around for weeks, arriving before sunrise, and leaving when it got dark, to watch the young hawks flutter around the nest, peering eagerly over the edge but delaying the jump. The male adult hawk would fly around the nest with a dead mouse in his talons, urging the kids to come get it. 70% of Redtailed hawks that survive to that age, do not survive the process of learning to fly. Every once and awhile, one of them would start flapping hard, and hover in the air over the nest for a few seconds, producing whoops and cheers from the awesomely geeky group of observers down below. :) When they each finally jumped, they'd make a crooked line towards the nearest Central Park tree, and very clumsily try to alight on a branch. It usually resulted in a hawk tangled upside-down in branches, catching his breath for a few minutes, just happy to be alive.

Avoiding the disappointing political aspirations of PBS for the moment, here's more info about the famous Redtailed Hawk of Central Park, Pale Male. The TV version was much better.