Tolerated Male Hawk at Washington Square Park
Fledge Day!

Washington Square Park, Day 3 Of Watching The New Male

I spent a few hours in Washington Square Park this afternoon.  The new male was still hanging around and the female was still annoyed by him. He flew around her when she was on the Education Building flag pole and she fluffed up when he came near.  She was near him on One Fifth, but never let him be too close.

(In the pictures, he's the lighter and smaller adult.)

I would caution anyone not to rush to any judgements about this new male hawk.  It isn't at all clear he is going to be accepted by the female.  I'm surprised that self-appointed experts have already declared the pair bonded and calculated the age of the hawk based on no first hand observations.  It reminds me of the first year for this nest, when "experts" predicted how the fledge was going to occur and got almost everything wrong.

This year, the NYU nest grants us an extraordinary opportunity to watch the behavior of an adult female who has lost her mate while her eyasses were still on the nest.  We have a camera feed to watch and a territory that is fairly easy to monitor.  Let's do our best to observe something that isn't in any book.  Let's stop spending energy waiting to ask questions of an "expert" or rush to conclusions based on our own romantic ideas of love.  And let's stop generalizing from the limited examples we have with how hawks replace lost mates and applying them to this nest.  If we insist on having answers to our questions prematurely, we then stop observing.  How sad is that!

Each year, nature shows me something about Red-tailed Hawk behavior I had never noticed before or had a chance to watch.  For me this is what is so exciting about watching Red-tailed Hawks.  They keep revealing more and more about themselves to me as I keep watching them.  That's one of the joys of behavioral science.

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