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Monday, February 21, 2011

Our neighborhood pair of Red-tailed hawks has been sneakier this year than in years past. I have only caught them working on their nest once this year. Such nest building is called "twigging" and is apparently a social bonding activity for hawk mates. I wrote about it at: NEST BUILDING a few weeks ago.  Just click on that link to read about it.  
While I haven't caught them actually on last year's nest except that one time, I think they must have chosen to use it again this year because they are definitely hanging around close by it as they are in these photos.  The male is the smaller of the pair. Pairs usually mate for life, though a male may sometimes take a second mate.   This pair has raised a couple of progeny at least twice from this nest. They may have used the nest before that but I wasn't paying attention until the last couple years. That would have been a good year for them to have moved in, for it was also about when our neighbors moved in a yard full of chickens and guineas.  I wrote all about the Red-tailed's homebuilding last year at:  Twigging . 
Notice in the photo above that they are perched in a classical pose.  Each hawk is facing in opposite directions.  This defense mechanism keeps them aware of danger.  At the moment even the male who has his back to us is also watching.  I seem to be the most eminent danger sitting in my car watching them through my camera lens.  I always try not to watch very long so that I don't bother the hawks but within a few seconds the male has given a quiet scream then lifts off from the limb to draw my attention away from his mate.
I am looking forward to another brood where we get to watch the young hawks those few weeks before they learn to fear us, when they still haven't learned about the fast take-off. 

   
(Okay, those underwear with the red-tailed hawk on them are kinda funny.)

1 comment:

NicoleB said...

It must be amazing to watch them from the beginning to finish. Learned something new: 'twigging' wasn't in my vocabulary yet :D