The recent turn of events has some of my fellow hawk watchers and bloggers offering theories about what has happened on Fifth Avenue. I don't think we'll every be able to fully explain the turn of events, so all theories are welcome. I am however concerned about some premature conclusions that have been jumped to about what's been happening. Two issues concern me.
First, did an egg get laid by the Pale Female? With most females, a few days/nights are spent on the nest before they lay their eggs. With her immaturity, the Pale Female may have not have known to spend time on the nest before laying an egg. But only spending one night on the nest makes it seem unlikely that she laid an egg.
I think it's important to ask if she was old enough to lay an egg. Many first year nesters fail. She seemed to have limited interest in the nest. Could she have been too young to lay eggs, and once Pale Male realized, he invited another female to mate with him? Survival of the species must surely trump any pair bonding.
Secondly, there has been a lot of conjecture about why the dark female didn't bond with Pale Male the first time she was with Pale Male. Since few of the pundits, actually watched these hawks in the winter, they're jumping to the wrong conclusions based on a few Lincoln Karim photographs. The dark female arrived early in the season before the days had started getting longer and hormones had fully kicked in. More importantly, she already had a relationship with a brown tailed hawk. I saw her take leftovers from the youngster three times, twice in Locust Grove and one on Pilgrim Hill. Any theory about why bonding didn't happen the first time has to accommodate this third wheel.
Theories are welcome, but beware of any pundits (including me) who presents them as fact!
Saturday, was just like Friday. Lots of copulations, nest re-building by both hawks and lots of activity. Rarely did the hawks sit still for more than fifteen minutes.