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What is up with this behavior?

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Old Wednesday 11th April 2007, 22:46   #1
DFW Urban Wildlife
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What is up with this behavior?

We've been watching 2 Red-tailed Hawks on a nearby building here in downtown Dallas. They seem to take turns perching on a brick ledge near the top of a high-rise just across the way from us. The ledge is sloped, and smooth, so I don't believe they are nesting. They face the mirrored glass, and seem very enamored with their own reflections.

The oddest behavior that we have witnessed is one of the hawks bringing the other a piece of paper, maybe a fast-food wrapper. The second hawk would take the paper, and work it over with its beak for a couple of minutes, and then discard it over the edge of the building. We have seen this behavior on 3 separate occasions... any idea whats going on here?
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Old Thursday 12th April 2007, 04:47   #2
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Do you know if are they male and female? Sounds like they are building a nest; maybe there are crevices somewhere near the slope of the building. If you're sure there's no place to build one, then it is quite odd behavior. I'm not that knowledgeable about hawks, so hopefully someone in the forum can help. Maybe they're just attracted to their reflection. Now I am quite curious as to what they're up to. Keep us posted!
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Old Friday 13th April 2007, 04:12   #3
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Hey! I got some pictures of the behavior I was describing in the previous post. This is the 4th instance of this behavior that I have witnessed with these two birds. Further, each observation has occurred at roughly 5:00 pm CST.

In the attached pictures you can see Bird A sitting on the ledge facing the mirrored glass. This bird has sat in this same spot, nearly all day long, for at least two weeks now.

Bird B approaches from the air and lands on the ledge next to Bird A. Bird B is observed on the ledge only once a day, usually at around 5:00 pm CST.

Bird B then produces a piece of paper, and presents it to Bird A.

The two birds manipulate the paper a bit, and then allow it to blow off the edge of the ledge.

Bird B then flies away as the piece of paper blows up towards the top of the building.

The ledge that these birds are sitting on is near the top of a 50+ story office building in downtown Dallas. The entire episode lasted on 2 or 3 minutes.

What's going on here?
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Old Monday 30th April 2007, 22:19   #4
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Here's a brief update... This morning I was allowed access into the office behind the window where these hawks are located. Only one of the birds was there at the time of my visit. It was seated in the corner of the ledge, facing the glass much as it is doing in the photos above. My view of the bird was excellent. With the reflective glass blocking the hawk's view of me inside the building, I was able to get within just inches of the sitting bird.

The folks in the office report that the hawks have returned to this ledge on an annual basis, for at least the last 6 years. They say that the second bird regularly brings paper, twigs, wire, etc for the first, but that all the brought items are eventually discarded over the edge of the ledge. They also report that some fledging hawks have been observed from time to time over the years.

There are no baby hawks there now. No eggs or any sign of a nest were visible. Still, the hawk has been sitting in the corner of that ledge all day, everyday, for almost 4 1/2 weeks now. The ledge is sloped and smooth... The only way the bird could be setting eggs is if there is some stone missing from the ledge that acts as a pocket to keep the eggs from rolling off.

Has anyone heard of Red-tailed Hawks incubating eggs in such an unprepared location?
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Old Tuesday 1st May 2007, 06:53   #5
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Hi, I cant say that I have heard of this behaviour before. I am surprised that the birds would choose such a location when there must be hundreds of areas in the city to nest in. I would be rather annoyed tho if I was the male and for four years your patner kept throwing your nesting material away. But if he does insist on bringing paper.
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Old Saturday 5th May 2007, 04:09   #6
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One last update... I was allowed to visit the office behind the window where these hawks have been seen once again, and this time I was able to determine, without question, that there is no nest or eggs.

Thais time I arrived just as the hawk was returning to the ledge after a brief flight. Interestingly, the hawk spent about a minute interacting with its reflection in the window glass (Touching the reflection with its beak and talons, spreading its wings, etc) before finally settling down in the corner of the ledge that it prefers to frequent.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, the hawks have been annual visitors to the ledge for at least the last 6 years... According to the office manager they show up in April and stay until June or July.

Attached are a couple of photos from my last visit.
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