I approached the hawk space with trepidation. Would they be subdued, sad? Would the whole family be in mourning? It was a dreary start to the day, grey, a bit misty.
The babies were in two different trees looking peaceful and helpless, calling for mama. Mama was ignoring the calls and preening. A few birders were watching. "Oh, I can't stand that cry". Everyone was projecting human emotions, crying for a family loss, but what those babies wanted was food. Finally Mama made a pass at the nest and one of the babies flew fast into the nest obviously awaiting food. The first food drop was something with feathers. After that activity was ferocious. There were three food drops, something else with feathers and a rat. Both babies were in the nest. It began so sweetly, preening. But very soon it was obvious this was not preening. You don't preen using talons.
FOOD FIGHT !!!!! These sweet babies turned into warriors. Food was grabbed, mantelled. What one got in battle, one ate. One baby got close to being tossed out of the nest. This was gladiator time. There was facing-off as each item was delivered and Papa sat calmly on a branch watching while his kids tried killing each other.
Think of those sweet, patient babies being fed bits by Mama. Those days are passed. These were raptors-in-making, astonishing to observe.