Mating Central Park Plaza Hawks - February 4th, 2013

A coworker's office window has a partial view of Central Park. The sight of NYPD helicopters flying in tight formation over the park was too rare a thing to pass up photographing.

Today was the funeral for former New York City mayor Ed Koch. I had a hunch the helicopters might have had something to do with his funeral. I researched this tonight and found one of the only articles to mention this respectful flyby. Jpost.com read, "But just before the doors opened to the formal salute, where half-a-dozen helicopters were to pass overhead on the edge of Central Park, Koch’s family had the officers remove the flag, citing religious reasons." As of this writing this was the only real substantive mention of this ceremonial procession I could find.


Star of David formation? It would make sense if that were the case in honor of Koch's religion. (Edit 02/05: It's possible the helicopters were actually in the Missing Man formation): 


The helicopters were in this formation as they passed the location of the funeral; Temple Emanu-El at 65th Street and 5th Avenue.

I visited Southeastern Central Park about twenty minutes later and found one of the Plaza Red-tailed Hawks perched on a regular spot of The Plaza Hotel:


It was the more tan-colored Hawk:


It flew off, soared the sky a bit, then landed at the top of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, another regular perch:






Its mate came in for a landing on The Plaza:




Within seconds, the first Hawk descended and joined its mate:





Mounting then mating:










The mating lasted seconds but was a beautiful thing to behold! Hopefully, they'll build a great nest and have a successful brood in the spring.


I'm also glad to finally know the genders of these Hawks. The tan/tawny one is the male. He circled the southern corner of the park across from the Plaza about four times before disappearing north.

Four minutes later, he was back on the Plaza, but higher up than his mate:



I took a few shots of the window that I had seen the male flying to and from on January 30th. There was still nesting material on the window ledge:



Back with the Hawks:


The male flew over the park again:


He landed on a regular building further north, along 5th Avenue:




The female still on The Plaza: