Banded fledgling visits WSP, catches pigeon - August 7th, 2013

Almost sounds like a newspaper headline. :)

I spotted what I thought was one of Rosie and Bobby's juveniles in Washington Square Park at 1:30PM today but it happened to be a visiting juvenile passing through.

It had a band on its left leg. It was a bit far into the western side of the park from where I stood so I couldn't get a good look at the band at first.




It landed in the Hangman's tree at the northwest corner of the park (a tree where the WSP fledglings and Bobby often perch).

The juvenile fussed with something on a branch. A dead pigeon almost immediately fell to the ground in front of me:



The juvenile kept looking after it but didn't descend to it. Maybe because there were a few people around. I moved back in order to give it room in case it did want to get the prey.

I don't know if the pigeon was the juvenile's kill or if Bobby, Rosie, or one of the WSP juveniles killed and stashed the pigeon on the branch.

The juvenile moved to another branch:


I used a stick to push the pigeon body onto the lawn by the path in order to get it to a more secluded spot for the Hawk to grab it and to also not freak any passersby out to see a headless pigeon on the path.

The juvenile did not try to retrieve the pigeon though. It instead flew to a tree deeper into the park (Bobst Library in the background):


Close-up of the band:


Since the markings on the band looked like they read "NJ 30", I called and left my info with a couple of places that should be able to research where the bird was originally banded.

The "NJ" on the band made me think the bird may have been from a New Jersey clutch so I called and spoke with a nice lady from one of New Jersey Audubon's departments about my finding. She said she'd pass on the word to her colleagues and see if they can determine who may have done the banding. It would be neat to find out this bird's pedigree. The Audubon colleague said she'd reach out to me should any information turn up.

The juvenile preened but was always alert to the pigeons that inhabit the central western area of the park:








It flew to a better tree from which to spy on pigeons foraging on a nearby lawn:


It made a dive toward the pigeons but missed catching one so it kept flying north:






Another pass and miss at other pigeons:



It returned to where the main flock hangs out and is fed:



There are signs on the park's entrances reading that feeding pigeons is (now) not allowed but I don't know if anyone bothers to comply with the edict.

The fledgling made another dive and successfully caught a pigeon in mid-air.

It flew to a more southerly tree to dispatch it:







Not even a quarter of the crowd beneath the Hawk:





The Hawk then either left the pigeon on the branch or dropped it because it soon flew off its latest branch without it in tow.

I saw the Hawk a couple of minutes later (it was difficult to find) still without the pigeon.

I eventually lost sight of it when it flew southward again and didn't get to see it before I had to leave for the day. It would be neat if it stuck around for a bit but I doubt Rosie, Bobby, or any of the fledglings that may still be by the park will tolerate it for more than a few minutes.