Precision team work, dedication, incredible loyalty, that's a few of the things I'm observing. Some might say they're just hawks responding to instincts. But my observations tell me there's a whole lot more going on. They cooperate, they trust each other, they count on each other and they're dependable.
When the female had eaten all she wanted, she flew with the prey and landed on the other side of me, on a deteriorated nest platform. You can see below that her lovely landing was obscured by two trees. On this collection of sticks, she deposited the remains of the prey and flew to a different limb to clean her bill and preen.Below, while she rested above me, I got a view of her tummy feathers or lack thereof. You can see the disarray of the downy feathers from incubation. But if you look more closely, you can also see her brood patch, where she has plucked her feathers to expose an area of skin with supplemental blood vessels that is especially suited for keeping the eggs warm.
And what you're seeing below is anyone's guess. She's either cleaning her bill or trying to pluck a twig. I think the former. She didn't leave with a twig.
There is a pine tree a short distance from the nest that the female favors. She visits it before returning to relieve the male, bringing a fresh twig full of needles to add to the nest. As soon as she arrives, the male departs. And this time he flew right to the cache platform, lifted the prey and moved it to a new perch to feed.
Special, huh? Teamwork worthy of admiration.