4/8, Norman, Is That You?

Red-Tail on Scaffolding

Sorry for the lack of posts. Although I've been out hawkwatching three or four times in the past week, sightings were very few. Aside from watching the juvie Hawkmadinejad flying across the Columbia campus one afternoon, none is worth mentioning. As others have described the brooding period, this is "the long boring part" of hawk watching.

But back over to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine today, arriving a bit before 6:00. I found Donna was already there and had had the nest staked out since 4:30. She hadn't seen much, just the tip top of Isolde's head sometimes poking up above the sticks and twigs. The view was a lot like this..

Red-Tail Nest

...although Donna's telescope made it a lot easier to see what might or might not be moving about. And actually, Isolde is (barely) visible in this pic. The top of her head is a bit to the right of St. Andrew's left hand, with the dark dot being her right eye.

Staking out a nest is a lot easier when there's someone to talk to, so I didn't wander around Morningside Park near as much as usual. There was plenty of conversation about the changes in behavior due to the new male having replaced Tristan. James walked up at about 6:45 and joined in the chat, and hardly a minute later, the new male finally flew in from the south or southeast. But he didn't bring food. Instead he perched on the scaffolding near the nest, and stayed put.

Red-Tail on Scaffolding

The conversation turned to the new guy's hunting habits, which seem rather helter skelter. Instead of perching in a good spot and waiting until the prey forget that he's there, as Tristan would do, the new male apparently flies around a lot, flushing every bird in the area, and occasionally he actually catches something. James observed that, "He's a little psycho."

On hearing that, I immediately thought maybe we should call him Norman. The idea met with general approval from the three of us watching, so Norman he is. No longer need we keep calling him "new guy".

Norman remained at the end of the scaffolding for almost 20 minutes before flying over to a lower spot by the north transept.

Red-Tail on Scaffolding

He'd only perched there a couple minutes before Isolde popped out of the nest and flew over toward the hospital. As she circled around once, Norman flew over also and they passed each other. Perhaps Isolde gave him a dirty look for not bringing dinner, as she then flew off in the general direction of Douglass Circle and Central Park's Great Hill, presumably to hunt up some food. Norman headed to the nest to take over egg duty.

We hung about watching the nest for another 20 minutes and chatted with one of our favorite dogwalkers. But by 7:30, the light was mostly gone and we decided to call it a day. Isolde was apparently still hunting and Norman was in the nest.

Posted 4/08/2008 09:46:00 PM by Robert

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On 4/09/2008 1:06 PM , liz said...

Norman is a juvie, or is it 'jivie' he is such a love, but ooo he doesn't know how to provide for his sitting mate yet, I guess as long as he DOES know how to take over the nest and keep the eggs warm (hopefully) while his mate is hunting for her own food (him and his show-off bulging crop is a riot - he is probably so focused on his own survival..)the eggs may be just fine. I am very concernd bout his ability to provide food for say Isolde and up to 3 eyeasses though. Is bring food to the nest perhaps something that kicks hormonally when there are eyeasses in the nest?

On 4/09/2008 2:33 PM , rbs said...

Norman is apparently two years old now, so not what we'd call a juvie. (I save that term for fledglings who have left the home territory but have not yet gone through their first molt.)

But since he is so young, others have described Norman's behavior as "youthful" exuberance. He's managed to survive two winters on his own, so his hunting style at least works well enough to feed one. We'll have to see how it does for two and more.

On 4/13/2008 10:21 PM , Ben C. said...

Norman is hands down the oddest name ever given a Red-tailed Hawk. Not much of a P.R. move ... the only thing Norman conjures up is Hitchcock's "Psycho". A great film but ...

I had the same reaction to naming a hawk after the nymphet Lolita from the book of the same name placing an aura around the male hawk of the pedophile Humbert Humbert himself.

On 4/13/2008 10:36 PM , rbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
On 4/13/2008 10:39 PM , rbs said...

The other association, which James O pointed out in his blog yesterday, was "Stormin' Norman". So the name may be odd but it does match.

The problem with all the other names suggested was that none gathered any supporters. Several people suggested a name, but no one said that they liked a name that someone else suggested. Me, I was partial to Elvis.