Monday, March 14, 2022

Brooding commences in Tompkins Square

It's egg time for Tompkins Square red-tailed hawks, Christo and Amelia, marking this their fifth breeding season together. Wood is the traditional gift for a fifth anniversary, which seems appropriate for this pair. They have gifted each other with sticks and bark, and maybe we humans can think about planting a tree (or many!) in their honor.

Christo and Amelia performing a nest switch

We observed the hawks performing a nest switch on March 10, when Christo brought food to Amelia at the nest and she took it to eat in a nearby tree. While she was out, Christo laid down in the nest. This is a sure sign an egg has been laid, and the pair did not perform this action the day before, so we are confident in saying the first egg was laid on the 10th. This corresponds with their schedule of laying eggs in early-mid March. You can see all the previous dates in the Nest Notes section of our Tompkins Hawk Archive.

This will be the scene for the next few weeks as Amelia will stay hidden in the nest brooding while Christo is responsible for providing all the meals for the two of them.

Amelia brooding

Amelia looking out from her nest

Leading up to this milestone last week, we observed the hawks mating and sharing food. Below, Christo approaches Amelia as she perched on the roof of the Christodora building one evening.

Christo approaches Amelia

Christo lands on Amelia's back

Christo and Amelia mating

They mated a couple of times, then Christo took off for a few minutes.

Christo and Amelia mating

He returned with a fresh rat.

Christo brings Amelia a rat

Amelia looks on at Christo and his rat

Amelia didn't seem too interested at first, so Christo kept flying around with the rat.

Christo takes his rat to a chimney top

He took it to another part of the building and called to her, as if he wanted her to come get it. Over the last eight years, we have never seen Amelia, nor Dora before her, come to him when he calls.

Below, Christo is on the lower left while Amelia looks on from her perch on the right.

Christo and Amelia in their positions atop the Christodora

After getting no response, Christo took the rat back up to the roof.

Christo takes off with his rat

Christo carries his rat to the Christodora roof

Christo approaches Amelia with the rat

He kept flying back and forth with it, showing it to her.

Christo brings the rat to Amelia

Finally, he took the rat right to her.

Amelia shows interest in Christo's rat

Now she's interested!

Amelia decides to take the rat from Christo

Amelia picks up the rat

Amelia took the rat from him and ate it on top of the roof.

Amelia takes the rat from Christo and prepares for dinner

We've noticed in the past that both Amelia and Dora acted slow and sluggish just before egg laying time. Amelia hasn't been very active recently, and on this day, she really didn't want to budge from her perch. This could be an indicator that an egg is imminent.

Later, Christo took an after-dinner stroll through the sky over the park as the sun went down. If all goes well, he'll have a busy summer raising a family.

Christo soars at sunset

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