Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Pale Male and Pale Beauty over Fifth Avenue 2/12/11

John Blakeman wrote the note below to the hawkwatchers at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia It applies as well to the Fifth Ave pair:

"Yes, the 2011 nesting season has begun in earnest. All of what you saw indicates this. The frequent copulations (not, properly, "matings") indicate that the lengthening days are affecting the birds' endocrine systems. Breeding hormones are flowing copiously. The tiercel is acting in response to these, including the bringing to the nest of the sticks (and later, leaves and such, for lining), along with the frequent copulations. The formel will do a lot of sitting around, watching the hectic activities of the tiercel, thereby prompting eventual ovulation.
The snow and cold have absolutely nothing to do with any of this. It's all controlled by the increasing length of the days, nothing else.
All of this indicates that the pair remains fully bonded, and will replicate the previous years' successes (barring unforeseen calamities).
Spring is on its way, snow and cold (both in Philadelphia and northern Ohio)* notwithstanding. Once again, a new Red-tail breeding season is wonderfully underway.
--John Blakeman

PS from Marie:
Tiercel = male hawk
Formel = female

* and in NYC as well