Monday, September 26, 2011


On June 7, 2011, Pip & Violet had a game of "Tug-O-War" over some squirrel guts! We're all anxiously watching her survival skills in preparation for the day that she fledges ... after all, we want our Precious Girl to have the BEST chance ... yet, here she is, just two short weeks away from her anticipated fledge date, and she STILL has Mommie cutting up her meat for her!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Art of Slicing

Parakeet poop is tiny and dries within minutes for easy clean-up! It consists of a dark, outer rim of firm fecal material and a creamy, whitish center which is the urine portion. In a health parakeet, the droppings are always round. A healthy parakeet will poop every 15-20 minutes while awake ... that's about 3-4 times per hour!

Did you know that a Canadian Goose can poop up to 92 times per day? Rumor has it that a Canadian Goose can poop up to 10 times per hour totaling up to 1 pound per day! However, according to Dr. Bruce Manny, research fishery biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, the average Canada goose only excretes 5.49 ounces per day. No matter how you look at it -- and I really try not to -- that's a lot of poop! Especially when it's all over the side walk ... or playground ... or golf course ... or beach! YUCK.

What can you say about Pigeon Poop? It's everywhere! Did you know that an average pigeon excretes 25 pounds of droppings per year? Pigeon poop clean-up creates significant problems for cities. There is a health risk to cleaning humans as well as repair of damages caused. Pigeons reproduce all year around, so populations grow rapidly further increasing the problems!

 When it comes to the Red-tailed Hawk, you just can't call it "poop"  because the RT makes excreting waste an art form! There is no "dropping" of a solid waste mass like the Canadian Goose, the pigeon, the parakeet or any other bird. Why? Because the RT is a strict carnivore (meat eater) and therefore, has a unique digestive system which allows the hawk to digest its food which, depending on size, she can usually swallow whole.
The protein waste generated by the RT's diet is excreted as uric acid, which makes the slicing appear white.
The RT then forcefully expels the uric acid proteins, called "slicing" from her body. This action is known as "slice" and is a remarkable fete to observe!
 The RT eyass begins the illustrious art of "slice" at approximately two weeks of age ... as soon as she is strong enough to stand on her own feet and back her little tush up to the edge of the nest in order to propel the slicing out of the nest. This is a genetic instinct that keeps them from filling the bowl of the nest with accumulated slicing. This is particularly important when a full clutch (approx 3 eggs) all successfully hatch.
RTs slice with a great deal of velocity, as evidenced by looking at the walls and windows surrounding the nest area ... and can be attested to by the unsuspecting human who just happens to walk beneath the nest just as the eyass or haggard slices! What a wonderful blessing to have a slicing bestowed on one's head!
Pip's slicing should be made into a wall panel and sold at auction to raise money to continue the nest cams and provide new learning opportunities at the NYU/NYT "Live From the Nest" web site. There is so much to be learned about the Urbanization of the Red-tailed Hawk. Pip and her parents, Bobby & Violet, gave us a unique in site to just how much possibility there is to create an entire graduate program with researching the RT behavior through the unique Night Cam provided by NYT. What a unique opportunity for children, college students and adults to learn in a 24 hour observation environment. 
Each year, a new panel could be placed on the wall outside of Dr. Sexton's 12th floor window to collect that particular years "slicing" which, in turn, could be auctioned off to pay for the following years cameras and personnel ... as well as fund educational publications and school projects for interested people around the world!