Jan 15 2017

Hawks Soaring

Published by at 7:15 am under Birds of Prey,Nesting & Courtship

Red-tailed hawk soaring (photo by Cris Hamilton)

Red-tailed hawk soaring (photo by Cris Hamilton)

Though they won’t lay eggs until March or April, red-tailed hawks are already thinking ahead in western Pennsylvania.

On sunny days in January, they claim their nesting territory by soaring above their chosen land, a gesture that says “This is mine!”

Red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are generally monogamous and mate for life.  The pairs soar together in courtship flight, the male higher than his lady.  Sometimes both of them dangle their legs or he approaches her from above and touches her with his toes.

After the female zooms to the nest area the male goes into roller coaster mode, steeply flying up and down, ending with his own zoom to the female and then … perhaps they’ll mate.

Watch for soaring hawks today.  The weather promises to be sunny.


(photo by Cris Hamilton)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Hawks Soaring”

  1. Carol kyrimeson 15 Jan 2017 at 7:37 am

    Pretty awesome foreplay.

  2. Robinon 15 Jan 2017 at 5:20 pm

    And the crows sometimes follow the hawks and give them trouble!

  3. Jon 16 Jan 2017 at 6:34 pm

    All that soaring is probably easier said than done for the Red-tails in Oakland. Has Terzo been as notorious for harassing the resident hawks as E2 was?

  4. Kate St. Johnon 16 Jan 2017 at 6:56 pm

    J, Terzo hasn’t been as hard on the hawks as E2 was. E2 was an exceptional bird.

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