Thursday, March 04, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk Update: Pale Male and Lola Part I

Photographs by Donegal Browne
Central Park was nearly at its winter picturesque best and the place was packed even with the heavy cloud cover and dim light.

When I got to the Hawk Bench, past the snow strollers, and kids zooming downhill at breakneck speed, there was Lola sitting on the Carlyle. Pale Male was on patrol giving us a glimpse here and there as he flew between buildings.

It was nippy on the ground but Lola looked like she was dealing with much more wind than we, the earthbound.

Then she took off for the nest.

She looked at it and immediately set work.

Possibly eye contact with Pale Male.

Working a twig into the side of the bowl.

Tussling a twig.
She stares at the bowl.

Peers at us on the Bench.

Checks the perimeter?

Then stares alertly.

Back to the twigs that just aren't quite right.

She does something to the bowl for quite a few minutes.

Changes position slightly and does whatever it is some more.

There is just something terribly unsatisfactory about that particular patch of twigs.

Lola does not give up and keeps at it.

She once again stares south.

And here comes Pale Male circling over Woody.
He heads in toward the nest.
Continued in Part 2, below.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk Update: Pale Male and Lola Part II

From what I could tell, that is Pale Male on the left, placing some food on the pigeon spikes on the the top of the window frame for Lola. But first the back story...

I spent a number of hours watching Pale Male and Lola on Sunday. A good many things happened before where we're going to start up right here, but if I put it all up at once it wouldn't get posted for several days more. Therefore we're starting at this point for the moment, alright it's in the middle but a rather natural break point so we can get on with it.

To recap a little, previous to this Lola was doing a tremendous amount of work on the bowl of the nest. She brought in grasses, she brought in bark, she brought in items identifiable, worked them into the bowl, sat in it, got up, re-worked them, sat again getting everything all ready and comfy for the upcoming extended period of time in which she'll be sitting in there. Pale Male was also in evidence, going after intruders, patrolling, visiting the nest, you name it.

There weren't a great number of hawkwatchers present, though Stella Hamilton and her binoculars were a great help even though it was overcast, cold, dim, and sleeted on us a couple of times but we did our best at trying to figure out what Pale Male and Lola were up to.

That caveat taken care of note that in the photo immediately above that there is now a dark lump, center, that was not in the top photo of the post. That is Lola rising up out of the bowl.

Here we have Lola flying toward the Linda Building. Where Pale Male went I don't know.

Lola then lands on the fence on the right side of Linda and begins to eat something.

She finishes off Pale Male's gift.

Waits in place a few moments. Immediately after eating Pale Male's gifts is often the moment for copulation.

She begins to look around. I look around. I don't see him either.

She switches to a corner of the masonry and waits a few beats.

Then begins scanning again.

Where is he?

She waits, feet gripping wide. Still no Pale Male.

Maybe he'll find this angle better?

Perhaps there is an intruder on the boundaries of the territory?

Lola heads for the nest and stands in the bowl. A typical defensive position often used and a protected spot with an excellent view of the area.

She switches to another vantage point and scans.

Ah, something happening on Madison Avenue?

Lola takes off for Stovepipe and the moment she arrives, Pale Male is there and they copulate.

They sit companionably next to each other. A relaxed Lola preens.

Pale Male watches; Lola preens. Copulation can muss ones feathers after all.

Something going on to the north.

Lola is beginning to have that fluffy breasted heavy looking pre-egg look.

Interesting that they are not, as they will do often, sit reversed from each other for a better view. Perhaps it is the big back drop of Stovepipe that makes that less important?

They truly are beautiful birds and deeply bonded to each other.

Pale Male takes off to the west, while Lola still perches.

Eventually she too takes to her wings and goes south. And I take to my heels and head southwest toward the subway.
Donegal Browne