Larry Reaches Pinnacle then Flops to Street but Rises Again (June 2 Update w more photos & PHAWK's Report)

Larry Reaches Pinnacle then Flops to Street but Rises Again (June 2 Update w more photos & PHAWK's Report)

Latest update as of 4 PM June 2: Added 3 photos to Picasa album from this morning. At 4 PM Larry was spotted by Andy Provost's "Big Canon" relaxing at top left corner of 185's roof after being fed by Buzz & Ruby earlier. Read PHAWK's (Paul Roberts)very informative summary of today's events below.

May 31: Larry reaches top of 185 roof at 4 PM after fledging at 6:10 AM. Later around 5:30 PM, Larry crashes into the side of the building trying to swoop up to the nest and flutters into the busy street! Hildy ran out and stopped the traffic then her and John aided by a blanket guided Larry off the road. June 1: Larry was doing fine and once again hit the side of the building trying to get onto the roof. Hildy once again guided him off the road. He was last seen at 7:30 PM on top of Trader Joes. This event was covered by Robin Young of NPR's WBUR 90.9. See link to Robin's Here 7 Now report from June 1 below. More to come on this entry later. Check back. Photos at my Picasa site:

Here & Now Report from June 1:

PHAWK's Report:
As of noon, Lucy and Lucky were still in the nest.

Larry, who had fledged on Monday, survived another night or, rather, day. This morning he was flying very well, with landings revealing a want of sophistication. He went up to Buzz’s perch where Dad brings in food and sat there for a while without recompense.

Notably, he then flew very strongly and directly from 185’s roof to the Best Western, where he sat on the roof for some time, to the consternation of a whole chorus line of House Sparrows nesting there. He later saw Buzz approaching from the west with food and exploded across the highway to Buzz’s perch on the far left upper corner of 185. Strong, sure flight and landing. Buzz gave him a complete chipmunk. Larry looked at it inquisitively, as if asking “How do you get the shrink wrapping off the food?” It took him a while to decide how he was going to satisfy his hunger. He first ate the tail (ugh, KIDS...). Then he started pulling on the legs, but gradually worked up to actually tearing into the chipmunk carcass and then appeared to eat the whole thing relatively quickly.

Following yesterday’s slow crashes into the building and bouncing onto Alewife Brook Parkway and the road between 185 and Circle Furniture, today he looked much stronger, more knowledgeable, and more experienced. All good signs. What Hildy and John did yesterday to rescue Larry from the highway, which I did not see, was intelligent from all I’ve heard. They carefully stopped traffic and then used a blanket to shepherd Larry back onto the grass, away from the highway. Today I heard multiple reports, however, that many other “observers” crowded around the bird at the time, encircling a bird already somewhat scared out of its wits. (It made threatening gestures towards Hildy, who was a rescuer.) While understandable, people crowding a bird in such circumstances might have harassed it back into the street and possible death.

Hopefully, Larry is a more savvy redtail today and on course to survive a very challenging time in his life. There are still two chicks in the nest however, the older and much larger Lucy (who will look like a 747 when she flies), and the much younger and smaller Lucky, who almost “helicoptered” off the nest unintentionally this morning. There was nothing between Lucky’s feet and the sidewalk except air, but the bird was able to flop back onto the nest. Both of these chicks will be at considerable risk, similar to Larry. It is quite possible one will land on a roadway again. I caution people not to go onto the parkway to rescue a bird; not to risk life and limb for a Red-tailed Hawk chick. If you ignore that advice, then I’d think one could emulate what Hildy did. Carefully stop traffic. Use a blanket, shirt or jacket to shepherd the bird off the roadway, but don’t pick it up. Also, discourage people from surrounding a down, very frightened bird. Don’t encircle the bird. Maybe encourage people to make a human wall between the bird and the parkway. Leave a clear path for a bird that has trouble taking off so its young, relatively weak wings can lift it up into an open area or nearby tree, away from the roadway.

The photographers observing the birds day after day have done a terrific job informing literally thousands of visitors about what is going on, and helping many appreciate this rare opportunity. I’ve been gratified by the hundreds of people I’ve talked to who have been blown away by observing the chicks in a scope, watching their behavior, and just appreciating the beauty of the birds, adults and chicks. It has been a great experience for many, most of whom aren’t birders.

Please exercise caution and wisdom if one of the chicks ends up on the ground, so the story ends well for all.



Paul M. Roberts
Medford, MA