About the Blog
If you can fill the unforgiving minute ... with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run ... Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.
What I Write About
This website, including photos and words, is copyright 1997 - 2011 by Jenny Goellnitz. If you would like information on using materials in this website, please contact me. (I grant permission pretty freely, so please ask and don't just take.)
Category Archives: Nature
Rest in Peace, Tiercel aka "Dad."
The male hawk who has nested with his mate the past four years on the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia was killed on Saturday morning. He had been missing since Friday night and a kind motorist confirmed today via the hawk group on Facebook that a hawk was struck by a truck around 6:30 AM while hunting along I-76 near the Franklin Institute. Given the location, the hawk killed by the truck almost certainly was the dad for the Franklin Institute's nest. He had proven to be a superb hunter and a devoted father, and he died trying to find food for his family. Mom is soldiering on, and the Franklin Institute is providing her with extra food to help. If you'd like to check out the nest cam, it's here: http://www.fi.edu/hawks/
Like an urban hawk, as a runner I have to deal with the dangers posed by cars and other vehicles every day. I've missed being killed myself several times by a matter of a few inches -- and many of those times, I did nothing wrong (like a car making a left turn INTO me, or a car illegally making a right on red). So maybe that's partly why I am bothered so much by the death of Dad.
Hawks here in Cleveland also like to frequent freeways and you will often see them sitting on light posts above traffic. I nearly inadvertently hit a hawk myself last December while coming off the Ohio Turnpike onto Interstate 71; the hawk flew inches above my car and we missed each other by a matter of a few split seconds. So I know this was almost certainly a terrible accident -- dad probably misjudged distance or simply didn't see the truck coming -- and the truck driver likely couldn't have done anything. But sometimes it *isn't* an accident that causes people and animals to die by being hit by traffic .... it's sheer being in a hurry or distracted, and I wish people would be a little more careful driving their cars.
This photo is very likely dad; a larger bird with a solid red tail was sitting on top of the Franklin Institute, and as one of my birder friends pointed out, that year's juveniles would not have solid red tails yet. Since dad is smaller than his mate, I have to conclude this is dad.
I like this photo because he is taking off in it. As Della Micah put it so eloquently on the awesome HawkWatch blog, "As hard as it is to accept this awful reality for Dad, I am glad that he was not poisoned or trapped, or suffered a slow death from an injury. It seems right that he was airborne, swooping in the early morning sun, and hunting for his family right to the end." A fitting requiem for dad.
I have been running regularly since the summer of 1998 (prior to that I ran in high school and junior high, but I ran sprints). I've experienced a lot of things as a runner. But every so often something new happens.
Today something new happened.
A few days ago, my friend Bob posted some photos on Facebook of a juvenile red-tail in our neighborhood devouring a squirrel. This afternoon as I was running through a small park a few blocks from where Bob reported seeing the red-tail, I felt a swoosh of air pass over my head. Instinctively, I ducked my head as something large and feathered zipped over top of me. I then heard a loud PLOP as a large juvenile red-tail nabbed a poor unsuspecting squirrel. I watched the young bird as she mantled over her kill -- snapping photos with my running camera -- until she finally decided to take the squirrel up a tree to eat it.
More photographs of the red-tail hawk on my neighborhood.
If you're looking for something interesting to do, check out the Hampton Roads Bald Eagle Nest Cam at the Norfolk (Virginia) Botanical Gardens. Right now I am watching mom tear up and feed the eaglets a fish. I am amazed by how carefully she uses that huge, sharp beak to pass food gently to the babies. It really is an amazing camera!
This is a photo of an Ohio bald eagle.
On my run this morning, I found a flock of Cedar Waxwings busy stripping cherries off a tree. I jogged home to grab the camera because I love Cedar Waxwings so much -- they really are one of my favorite birds. The lighting wasn't the best, and it began snowing pretty heavily during the "shoot," but these are some of my favorite birds, so...
This completely has nothing to do with anything that I usually post about, but I've been noticing a lot of monarchs passing through Cleveland on their way to Mexico. One of my all-time favorite books when I was a kid was a book called Monarch X. (All the other ones were about horses, of course; I loved Walter Farley's Black Stallion series.) Monarch X told the story of a tagged monarch butterfly that eventually flew all the way to Mexico. I was surfing around looking for some info on monarch butterflies, and I found that you can read Monarch X on the web (unfortunately, it doesn't have the great images to go along with it that I remember, though). I'm guessing this book is the reason why I am so interested in nature so it was neat to find it again.
(I asked my mother if she remembered Monarch X and she said "you loved that book!" She thinks she saved Monarch X because I loved it so much. I found a copy on Amazon.com; that's EXACTLY the book cover I remember. It's full title was The Travels of Monarch X.)