Monday, September 3, 2012

New Season for Hawks



This time of the year, end of summer, is not the best for hawk watching. The young fledglings are gone, and both parents seem to be quieter, hardly visible. The moulting period begins too, changing feathers to prepare for the winter and the new mating season. Maybe too, the adult hawks are not so visible because they might be building their new nest(?) In any case, I have many questions, doubts, worries, anxieties...

Where do their fledglings go? That is one of the many mysteries of these birds of prey. Do they follow other migrating birds and raptors flying through from the north to warmer areas in southern Mexico or other countries in South America? Did this particular clutch survive? How many of the three young hawks survived? If any survived, where will they be starting their new family? In another park in Mexico City? In another area away from the city? Were they injured? Were they poisoned? Some city park authorities continue to put rat poison to control their population causing terrible harm to squirrels too and of course to hawks because squirrels also included in their diet.
Were they captured by falconers? Two persons who regularly eat lunch in the park I interviewed say ten days ago they witnessed a man with a big glove and a whistle capture one of the hawks; another claims one the hawks was injured and was taken away...by whom? 

Whatever the real story is I hope the allegedly captured fledglings are in good hands, hopefully being trained to scare off large bird populations in airports, hospitals, field crops, etc.
And, as for the hawks that are flying free and living in wooded areas of our city, hopefully they are well.
In the meantime, our famous Harris hawk pair - Alba and Matias - are getting prepared for new family. Yesterday afternoon, we caught them mating and despite the poor light were able to get some shots.

Adult male (Matias) a few seconds after mating


Female (Alba) atop favorite cedar tree moments before mating

Male (Matias) mounts Alba 

An instant just after copulation. Matias (right) takes flight.

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