Photo courtesy of palemale.com
Octavia on the 927 nest on February 27, 2013
First a missive from longtime NYC Hawkwatcher Katherine Herzog in regards to the behavior of Octavia uptown and my hypothesis that reverse sexual dimorphism is a product of female Red-tails fighting each other for the males in a similar way that many mammal males fight each other for the females.
(For details on the hypothesis see the post below The Flash of earlier today.)
Katherine Herzog's email sent before she and Stella Hamilton's adventures uptown watching Pale Male's nest and downtown watching the area around The Plaza.
I can only report what I've observed for the past three days, Feb 27 through Mar 1st....Pale Male and Octavia behaving like the consummate couple...flying together, sharing food, mating, sitting together, visiting the 5th Avenue nest together - rearranging the "furniture" and bringing in additional nesting material. Their bond seems to be very strong.
I am impressed with Octavia's size and wing-span...sometimes when I see her flying she looks as big as a Turkey Vulture!
I don't know but it would not surprise me if the larger female RTHs choose their mates and not the other way around. If this is so, perhaps they are the Alpha mate in the pairing hierarchy....which would give her authority and preference as to who she mates with....Pale Male, another mate, or possibly, alternating between both.
Of course, she would have to settle on one nest to lay and brood her offspring and the Plaza nest looks to be barely a nest (more like a pile from a "Pick Up Sticks" children's game!).
Given all of Pale Male's experience and apparent good health... I have faith in our old friend to keep his cool and win over the (possibly) flirty female.
Won't be able to follow the Plaza goings on...so will have to depend on other people's observations.
[Stella Hamilton took on the duties of downtown observer today. And Kat took over observation of 927 Fifth Avenue, uptown. D.B.]
As the Zen master said "we'll see".
STAY TUNED! MUCH MORE TONIGHT!
But while you're waiting... another urban Mallard Mom gets human help escorting she and her ducklings through part of Washington DC to water.
Photo courtesy of Harald Olsen