Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Welcome to the 2023 Tompkins Square hawk nesting season

The week of Valentine's Day is generally the time of year we see our local hawks begin to display mating behavior, and Tompkins Square red-tails, Amelia and Christo, are right on schedule.

Amelia and Christo in a locust tree.

This was the scene on Valentine's Day. The mating is so quick, I almost missed it.

The pair has been seen mating atop the Christodora building.

Christo approaches Amelia as she perches on the roof of the Christodora building.

Christo and Amelia mating.

Christo and Amelia mating.

Here is some video of bonding activity on the rooftop. Please forgive the shaky camera work on this video - I was without a tripod on this day and I was zoomed in from a million miles away.

Amelia on the left, Christo on the right:

Amelia and Christo perched on the roof of the Christodora..

This photo of Amelia was taken today as she basked in the sun (66°F in February!).

Amelia taking a sun bath in her favorite locust tree.

As she perched, Christo flew in and they mated again (note her giant crop - stuffed with pigeon!).

Amelia all fluffed up:
Christo and Amelia with her feathers fluffed up.

The mating is taking place as the hawks build a new nest for this season. Here, Christo carries a stick:

Christo carrying a stick to the nest.

The pair have chosen a new location this year. They've returned to a tree they've used in the past, but their nest is in a new place within the tree.

Christo and Amelia working on their nest.

I saw the hawks building the foundation for this nest back in July/August 2022 when their fledgling was still around. They then ignored it until early January when they decided to go all out with construction. Last year's nest is still intact, but I have not seen them pay any attention to it.


Christo in his new nest.

The new nest is higher than previous locations, so the hawks likely have a good view from up there. As for us human observers, I suspect we won't be able to see much once the leaves on the tree grow in. When I saw the hawks working on this last summer, this part of the tree was entirely hidden and the hawks could not be seen at all when they were inside. If they are after more privacy, I'm happy for them.

Amelia perched next to her new nest.

Christo carrying a stick to the nest in January:

Christo carrying a stick to the nest.

Christo carrying a stick to the nest.

Christo carrying a stick to the nest.

Amelia on the nest in January:

Amelia in her new nest.


Christo perched next to his new nest.

Amelia today, practicing some yoga:

Amelia stretching.

Amelia and Christo today, after the sun dropped behind some clouds:

Christo takes off as Amelia watches.

So, what's next? If all goes well, we'll continue to see Christo and Amelia mate and work on their nest for the next few weeks, and we can expect egg-laying in early to mid-March. Hatch time is usually late April or early May.

For nest notes from previous years, see the table on my Tompkins Square Hawk Archives. On that page, you will also find links to hawk posts by year (2011-2023).

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