Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mating ritual

Hawk mating season is in full swing in Tompkins Square.  On Friday, I found Christo as soon as I entered the park.  He was perched in a tree near the Temperance Fountain calling to Dora to come and get the rat he'd just caught.

Christo catches a rat for Dora

He took the rat over to a big branch and mantled it as Dora made her approach.

Christo mantles his rat as Dora approaches

After passing the rat off to Dora, Christo continued to gaze at the meal he'd given up...

Christo passes the rat off to Dora

Christo passes the rat off to Dora

Dora takes off with the rat

Dora takes off with the rat

So long, lunch!

Dora takes off with the rat

Dora flies off with her rat

Dora flies off with her rat

Dora flies off with her rat

Dora took the rat over to Avenue B where Christo perched above her and watched her eat it.

Pre-mating meal

As soon as she was done with the meal, Christo pounced.

Mating hawks

Mating hawks

Mating hawks

The whole affair took about four seconds.

Christo and Dora

It's a real treat to see the hawks go through their natural ritual of gift-giving, eating, and then mating.  Afterwards, Christo often busies himself cutting sticks and working on the nest.  They repeat this cycle several times a day, so it's a great time to observe them in the park doing things we'd likely never see outside the city.

More to come...