Bobby and his new mate(?) - December 25, 2011

Bobby palled around with a new red-tailed hawk friend today in Washington Square Park. All signs indicate the new hawk is Bobby's new mate. They hung around together all day. They flew together, perched together, fought off dive-bombing peregrine falcons together, did a courting talon-lock dance in the sky together, and ended up roosting together in a tree. If this new partner 'keeps', we'll most likely see new eggs in the spring. 

I first saw Bobby tucked onto a cornice at the eastern side of the park:

He took off and headed north so fast, I had no chance of getting a good shot of him:

He eventually came back into view, being harassed by a peregrine falcon. Here he is looking up at his nemesis:

the falcon:

He landed on one of his favorite perches near the top of One Fifth Avenue:

I could hardly believe what I was seeing next: A full-grown red-tailed hawk approaching One Fifth Avenue from behind:

It landed into a side crevice:

Bobby didn't seem to notice its arrival:

Bobby left his perch, swooped around, then landed on another forward-facing perch:

The visitor seemed to sneak up behind him and take a peek at him:

The female descending to a perch:

She went to a new perch:

Both hawks flew to perches atop Two Fifth Avenue:

Bobby flew to a perch at the far end of the park:

Peregrine falcon on the attack:

The female soon followed:

Female on the left, Bobby on the right:

They both turned and prepared themselves for another assault:


Peregrine on the pulley:

They both flew off their perch together. You can see their shapes as a blur:

They circled above the south side of the park together, ventured northeast (touching talons at one point), then separated. One hawk went to the pulley the peregrine was on earlier.

It got dark so I couldn't tell who this hawk was being harassed by a peregrine:

It flew from the pulley to a tree in the park (passing behind the arch at one point):

The other hawk appeared from the trees behind us and went to the other hawk in the trees:

It is difficult for me to tell the two hawks apart so far. Their markings and coloring are very similar. Until I can get closer to them in the day light and figure out their different markings, they might as well be twins. Thankfully, females are larger and so seeing them close together will help nail down who is who.

From what I have observed, the visitor has a more reddish-colored head compared to Bobby's more ashy, chocolatey head coloring. Bobby has two rather obvious white markings running down the side of his throat. The female seems to have a more solid look to her throat (sans white streaks).  Violet has the white streaks as well but they are not as obvious on this new female.