Blakeman comments further: “It’s important that observers not arbitrarily or casually ascribe human or mammalian explanations for any red-tail behaviors….It’s love all right, but very different from that of social predators…or the ultimate primate, humans. People need to understand that red-tailed hawks are altogether unique unto themselves. They are not a mirror or model of any other species. Their nobility is their own.”
And so it is with this pair of red-shouldered hawks. They behave like hawks in general and specifically, like their own species. And they have behaviors that are uniquely their own. They live in a suburban territory to which they have been loyal for fifteen years. They hunt and nest in both the front and back yards of people like you and me. People are part of their every day experience and I am fascinated with how they have adapted, how their human neighbors have adapted to them.
I was doubly fascinated on this day, when they ignored me, acting as though I were a natural part of their environment, no more threatening than a tree or a column of bricks.
And now, you may cover your eyes if you wish. I have given fair introduction to the activity you are about to witness through images. Copulation is the natural event that precedes fertile egg-laying. If I could show you egg-laying, I would, as well.
The female sat quietly on her perch after finishing her meal. But as time passed, she began to repeatedly look in the direction of the male and struck the posture you see above, with her head leaning back, her chest raised. When the moment arrived, signaled through communications too subtle for this observer, the male joined her, landing on her back.
While they rested, I remembered to breathe and continued to click the shutter. Can there be any more surprises? Well...yes.
Next: The male leaves the perch.
This is the sixth post in a series on this pair of red-shouldered hawks. To see the entire series click here. The first post will appear at the bottom.
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #30 at Birdfreak.com to promote the conservation of our world's birds.