Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Mating Game

Mating season has begun for NYC diurnal raptors. Courtship behavior can be observed as well as nesting and territorality. Here is the Cathedral female observing her domain.

She flew to a gargoyle,

where she lay in wait.

A nuthatch happened by, then the female launched from her blind,

and dove down in front of me. Instinctively I spun to see what she might be after!

There, that juvy Cooper's I've been photographing.

I watched wide-eyed as the female dove on the bird through the trees! Pulling up, the accipiter avoided the attack. But the Catherdral male also swooped in overhead. My camera could not follow the action through the denuded canopy. I caught the female as she emerged over Morningside Park, circling for more.

She and the male then flew off through the Park. As I walked up Morningside Avenue, I heard faint crowing. Eventually it grew louder and I soon found a group of 9 crows, moving through the trees.

Their cawing soon became very loud and in unison! The Cathedral female then dove in through the trees at the crows.

They crows broke and wheeled into the female. Through the branches I manage to get a shot.

But it didnt come out, darn. Anyway, the hawk circled a few times and rose above the crows. I worried that the Riverside Peregrines, just a few blocks away, would also enter the fray. But that did not I decided to go there to see if I could find out why. Scanning the scaffolding, I found the female at the tippy top!

Soon after, the male flew on site,

and soared up to the female!

I thought I might finally witness peregrine copulation,

but the male soared over her! He wheeled around for another pass.

On the next pass, they both flew off together!

Ahhh, togetherness!

I cant wait for Spring!

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