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Got your attention?  I never thought about the possibilities.  I always saw
the city as an desert for all the really cool birds.  However, I think this
repost from the Nocturnal Flight Calls Listserv can put that to rest.  I
think I'll find a tall building some night with a breeze out of the north...

 [nfc-l] Empire State Building, 9/25

jacob drucker
Sun, 26 Sep 2010 11:11:45 -0700

Hi all,
As part of a New York State Young Birders Club trip, Lila Fried, Hope and Mary
Batcheller, Benjamin VanDoren, Ben Goloff, Eamon Corbette and Brendan Fogarty
went up to the empire state building observatory last night from about 9-11pm.
Over the course of the two hours, we counted approximately 815 (via clicker
counter) birds, most of which were passerines, flying SSE or SSW (with a few
birds flying in the opposite directions) over the building. Most birds were
relatively high, around the top antenna of the building or higher, but later
into the night it seemed that birds were flying slightly lower, the lowest at
eye level from the observatory, with the exception of birds escaping hunting
peregrines. (See below) At first, birds went by singly or in groups of 2-5, but
later on, the numbers increased. Our high count was around 12 birds in a loose
group. Very little circling of the building (as occasionally occurs and as I've
seen in the past) occurred, as most birds just zoomed by. Occasionally
vocalizations would be heard, though with all the background noise, ID was
difficult if not impossible. Though the vast majority of birds were unIDable, a
handful were, and our list of IDs is as follows:
Canada Goose 9Great Egret 1Heron Sp. (Probable Great Blue) 1Peregrine Falcon 1+
(see below)Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3Cuckoo Sp. 4Northern Flicker 3+Downy
Woodpecker 1+Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1Gray Catbird 20Black-throated Blue
Warbler 1--well heard and seenRose-breasted Grosbeak 1+Dark-eyed Junco 1+
Another amazing spectacle was the peregrine (perhaps 2 peregrines) that would
perch on the building, fly out and catch migrants on the wing! We watched about
15 of these chases, and watched the falcon nail 4 or 5 birds. However, it
didn't eat them on the wing, or on the building, but after flying out of sight
with its prey, it would return 5 minutes later to sit and hunt, suggesting that
it could be stashing its prey somewhere for later consumption. Has anybody
heard of any falcon behavior like this?
Good Night-birding!
Jacob DruckerManhattan

Scott Laurent
Kansas City, MO

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