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Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Red-Tailed Hawk in my Courtyard (Thursday's Testimony)

A woman who lives in the building that is adjacent to the one in which I live, has called me on a few occasions to alert me to the fact that a hawk is alighting on the branches of a nearby Ailanthus Tree and is staring at my rooftop garden. Her assumption has always been that the hawk is doing this because he/she "knows I feed the birds who visit my place."

Yesterday was the first time that I happen to notice the awesome creature. He/she is featured in the photograph atop this entry where, indeed, he/she does appear to be staring down at my garden.

Because of my proximity to Central Park, where Red-Tailed hawks are known to visit, I assumed this creature was that bird type. I've only seen this bird variety on one occasion, which is when I went to a bird rehab facility, The Raptor Trust, which is in New Jersey.

I became acquainted with this organization in 2016, after I rescued a Northern Flicker (who I named Super) and took him to The Wild Bird Fund (The WBF), who had to ultimately transfer him to the place in New Jersey as they were unable to treat Super's injuries.

In any event, getting back to my seeing a hawk alighting on branches of an Ailanthus Tree (as he/she is doing in all the photographs seen here) I reached out to others to confirm my ID before blogging about it (as I don't want to report fake news).

Two people got back to me simultaneously: Amanda Remsberg, a bird rehabber who lives in Texas and Andrew Maas who works at the NYC Audubon.

Amanda informed me that "lovely belly band is the tip off... the strip of brownish feathers that goes across the belly, it's a ID mark for them."

As for the bird's gender, she explained, that both male and females looked the same and to determine the red-hawk's sex, one "might be able to tell if they watched them nest;" but, evidently, that would be hard too, because "they share nesting duties."  She did explain that "The females will be slightly larger than the males."

Almost immediately after I heard from Amanda, I received an email from Andrew Maas re my ID query to NYC Audubon. Andrew stated: "... that is definitely a red-tailed hawk! You can tell by the breast. With red-shouldered hawk, the breast is reddish..."

I am so grateful to both of them for getting back to me, as I know people have busy lives; especially those who are involved in the well being of members within the avian community.

Last evening, I told a woman who lives in my building about my "encounter" with the red-tailed hawk and also about how appreciative I was to receive ID confirmation from Amanda as well as Andrew. Before I left her to head up to my apartment, I mentioned that perhaps Mary Tyler Moore, was looking upon the situation, for I knew how much the late actress loved red-tailed hawks.

What I had forgotten while I was speaking to my acquaintance last night, was that Mary Tyler Moore, died one year ago today, on January 25, 2016. May she rest in peace, and may others pick up where she left off re her advocacy for the red-tailed hawks, as well as for her advocacy re other members of the animal kingdom.

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