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Friday, February 5, 2010

Preparing for the Storm

I didn't have much time for walking yesterday.  We have a snow storm coming so, like the rest of humanity I headed to the grocery store to beat the storm.  That didn't work out so well considering the mass of people in the store but that is a story for someplace else.  On the way down our drive, I decided to check out the next of our local red-tail hawk pair. I was thrilled to see one of the pair perched atop the nest.

Another blog that I follow has been discussing the actions of a pair of hawks in New York City as they appear to be building a new nest.  According  to that blog hawks often stick to one nest though they might build a secondary nest before laying eggs. These birders aren't sure why, but think the reason may be to give the female a choice or just as a bonding ritual. Sometimes the pair will desert the first nest in favor of the second. Very soon it will be time for our hawks to be nesting if not already.  This hawk was very busy flying  away from the nest and back.  While I didn't see it carrying any twigs, that may be what was going on.

I don't know how to differentiate the male from the female so I don't know which this is.  Both sexes take part in "twigging,"  the building of the nest.
When the hawk returned to the nest it perched on the side then bent over, putting its head deep into the nest.  I am zoomed in as far as my camera will go, making it hard for me to keep the lense settled on the bird.  It also makes it hard for me to watch the bird outside of the camera lense but I did get in a few shots of the hawk at work.  The photo below shows the hawk, on the left, leaning down into the nest.  Look carefully to see the hawk that is well camouflaged.  I wonder now if the hawk is also preparing its home for the upcomning storm. While I cannot see a television antenna above the nest, I'm convinced that the birds know when a storm is coming; perhaps as well as I do.
 I will search for a better spot to photograph the birds so that we can see some photos as they sit eggs and raise some young.  This will be at least the third summer for this particular pair to nest at this site.
The hawk seems to be observing me as I observe it.  I don't stay long and soon head to the store to refill my own nest.

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