Here we have 6 photos that illustrate Red-tailed Hawks briefly exhibiting courting, breeding or bonding behaviour at Lockerby.
In their aerial displays the bird of prey may dive downward from fifty to over five hundred feet before climbing upward again with vigorous flapping. The display can be repeated numerous times with this basic behaviour becoming more elaborate and sophisticated in some species.
Such aerial displays may be used initially to attract a mate. The displays are repeated throughout the breeding season, often throughout the year, which serves to reinforce the pair bond. The bonding involves both sexes ( i.e. sometimes the female dives on the male). The most common of the joint displays is when the pair is soaring over their territory. The male may dive on the female who at the last moment rolls in flight to present her talons to the male. In more exotic birds of prey the birds they actually clasp talons(bald eagles) and roll in a cartwheel and separate close to the ground.
Many birds of prey, Red-tailed Hawks in particular, have an enviable reputation of mating for life and this bonding behaviour throughout the year between such pairs plays a large part in their monogamous lifestyle. A Red-tailed Hawk will seek out a new mate generally only if their mate dies from predation, accident or disease....that makes perfect sense in the natural world.
If I remember correctly these photos were taken in September of 2010 so that the chicks were already on their own at the time these shots were recorded, flying, hunting and feeding themselves. Unfortunately I did not locate their nest but i will try again this year so the assumptions here are those based on publicly available information about their life-cycle. For this reason i think that this is likely pair bonding.
A wonderful display of natural affection that made my day....cheers....dave.
Categories & Keywords
Keywords:Birds of Prey, Bonding Behaviour, Breeding Behaviour, Red-tailed Hawk, monogamous for life