Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pale Male & Lola update

PM and Lola in nest, May, 2005

Pale Male in nest - November 26, 2005 [yesterday!]

Lola feeding chick, May 2003
photos by Lincoln Karim

During my week away, Pale Male and Lola were noted spending more time in the nest than in previous months. They have been bringing sticks to the nest sporadically for months, as they have done in previous years during the period between the end of one breeding season and the beginning of the next. But this does not signify that the real nest-building season has begun. Nest-building is a hormone-driven stage during the hawks' breeding season that begins in late January or early February. During that stage the hawks make hundreds of trips from park to nest with twigs. What we have been seeing in recent months you might call the "home decorating" stage, when the hawk pair seem to bring occasional twigs just to retain a connection or for some other reason of their own.. This year it appears to us that they have been bringing more twigs during this stage than they normally do.

If indeed the nest failure last spring was caused, as I believe it was, by an insufficient number of twigs covering the anti-pigeon spikes that form the base of the nest, then perhaps some sort of instinct has been encouraging the hawk pair to bring a few more twigs than usual before the breeding season begins.

Though it's a bit hard to make out, if you compare the first two photos above you might be able to see that the twigs rise a few inches above the wooden support structure in the second, more recent one. If you look at the third photo, taken in 2003, you'll see that they still have a ways to go. By the end of the actual nest-building phase nest February the nest may be thick enough for ... a happy ending in 2006.