I took a break.
I haven't been reading blogs - or posting on my own. In the meantime, Spring has truly sprung here in eastern NC.
I kept waiting to post, hoping that I would have big news from the breeding chambers of the harris hawks.
We had the nest all made up for the birds, carefully intertwining vines and branches. I padded it well with pine needles in the bottom to keep any eggs from cracking. Then I watched, and waited.
Gonzo would go and move a stick here or there. Tess would take all of her food up to the ledge to eat at the nest.
The birds would perch shoulder to shoulder.
Gonzo's foot seemed to be healing well. even though it was partially immobilized, he would use both feet for perching and seemed very comfortable. I changed all the perching surfaces to long leaf astroturf to protect Gonzo's feet.
No eggs, no eggs, no eggs.
Then they tore the nest apart. Could be a good thing. They are acknowledging that it is there. I replaced the pine needles and made sure that there were plenty of sticks in the cage for building.
And I waited.
They messed around with it, bringing sticks in and removing more of the "bedding" material. Tess would settle into it while she tore at her breakfast.
But still, nothing.
I had to run to Raleigh for a teacher "thing" this last week, so I called up Arnaud to see if we could change Gonzo's bandages on his toe. The scheduling was perfect.
When we got the bandages off of the foot, the toe had healed perfectly! Well done Arnaud. The toe was straight and yellow. You could hardly even see where it hadn't been working.
Unfortunately, Gonzo was dead.
He had died sometime that day in his box. The necropsy (still waiting for some tests) showed that Gonzo had some signs consistent with West Nile Virus - but we're still unsure of the cause of death.
No babies this year. I am in the market for a new male harris hawk. I was hoping to pick one up that was of breeding age, but I may end up getting a young bird.
And Tess is all alone:(
If you hear of any birds for sale (preferably on the East coast) let me know.
I'll keep you posted.