Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Tompkins Square hawks brooding, canoodling and dueling

Now that Tompkins Square red-tails, Christo and Amelia, are brooding eggs, there's not much activity to see as they spend most of their time taking turns hunkering down in the nest. This is a photo of Amelia taken yesterday:

Amelia in the nest

The nest this year sits slightly higher than the one last year, so it will be interesting to see if there is a view of it at all once the leaves grow in on the tree.

I took the photos below two days before Amelia settled in to begin brooding. Amelia is on the left and Christo is on the right. Note their size difference (she's larger) and coloring (he has a lighter head with a mostly white throat).

Amelia and Christo

When you see them in this position, it's easy to tell who is who!

Christo and Amelia mating

Christo and Amelia mating

Afterwards, Christo soars past his namesake, the Christodora building.

Christo

While Amelia spends most of her time on the nest, Christo brings her food, like this fresh rat.

Christo with a rat

Amelia takes one last stick to the nest.

Amelia carries a stick to her nest

Amelia sits in the nest, which looks more compact and denser than last year's model.

Amelia in the nest

Christo gathers bark to line the nest.  This time, he takes it from an American Elm (he also favors Japanese Scholar trees). Note the bare branch beneath him - he's picked this one clean.

Christo with a piece of bark

Christo on the nest:

Christo in the nest

Just before sunset (before egg-laying time), Christo and Amelia perched on the dome of Most Holy Redeemer church on E 3rd Street. Christo is hunching down on the left, so he looks extremely small compared to Amelia.

Christo and Amelia hanging out together

Christo may have been hunching down because an immature red-tail flew right up to the pair and tried to brazenly land on the ledge right next to them.

Immature red-tail attempts a landing next to Christo and Amelia

Christo was not having it and dove after the intruder while Amelia remained on the ledge.

Hawk fight

The hawks tumbled in the air several feet before the younger one flew off.

Hawk fight

Victorious, Christo returned to the ledge for one more round of mating before nightfall.

Christo and Amelia mating atop Most Holy Redeemer

We can expect hatching around the end of April. The nest is too high to see newborn chicks, but we should be able to tell that something has happened when the parents start bringing food to the nest.

Happy spring!

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