Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fingers crossed

I want to start this saga before the predicted snow storm arrives. My fingers are crossed that the hawks' home-under-construction survives. There's never any way to know what one will see in the park. There was heavy ice on the river, few gulls, few ducks. When I saw the hawks' nest I could see that it had increased in size, but it's still pretty much an air-conditioned affair. I walked slowly watching for hawks. Finally I spotted Mama Hawk collecting twigs. This selection process is hysterical to watch.

There are several methods for collecting branches and twigs. The easiest is to pick it off the ground. The second is to snap a twig off, bite it off or grab same with talon. The third is the most fun to watch, select a branch and pounce down onto it so that it snaps off. Branch falls, hawk tumbles and catches branch with talons. NEVER STAND UNDER THE TREE IF A HAWK IS ABOVE COLLECTING BRANCHES.

There are a million branches and twigs available, but only a specific one will do. You can see the intense concentration,... not this twig, not that twig, THIS twig. What makes a branch or twig IT? I don't know, especially because after a twig gets placed in the nest the hawks move them around. Papa Hawk brings very nice branches and places them in a specific spot after much obvious observation and thought. Mama Hawk flies in and rearranges the lot. I watched for hours as branches got selected and delivered with pauses in between, sometimes Mama the worker, sometimes Papa the worker while Mama rested or watched for food- squirrels.

This blog will probably run three entries. I took a lot of pictures and got to practice getting action shots. It's not easy taking flight pictures. It's not easy shooting through branches. I pray that this nest survives the storm, because the hawks have put many hours of labor into it so far.

To be continued tomorrow.

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