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Is it spring yet? No?

No. However, there are signs that spring is coming -- redtailed hawks in nest-building mode!

In fact, today I was out around lunch-time in Harvard Square, unfortunately without my camera (it was raining), when I looked up to see a flock of pigeons startled up off a building's roof. When you see that it's always worth looking to see whether they were put into flight by a hawk -- and on this occasion, I got to see what I think was Harvard's redtail pair flying together up JFK street and circling around the area of the T station and in front of Holyoke Center. One of them then landed on the flagpole on top of the Citizen Bank, which left his/her partner nowhere nearby to land, so s/he circled several times more before taking up a perch on the weathervane of the First Church (a favorite of theirs).

Nice to see them out and about! And together.



This is NOT one of the Harvard pair. This is a different adult redtail, resting in a tree along Belmont Avenue in Belmont, right near where I get the bus in the morning. While waiting yesterday morning I happened to look up in time to see this hawk land in the tree, and pulled out my camera.



While it's not super-easy to see unless you zoom in on the pics above, the hawk has a branch in its beak, which it didn't have in the first picture. After the first pic, it hopped to different branches in the same tree a couple of times before acquiring the branch seen above, at which point it took off (last photo) and flew about 30 yards to a white-pine tree, located on the golf-course along Belmont Ave. (that my bus stop sits alongside).

Not long after, I saw either the same hawk or the other of the pair fly from the vicinity of that tree across the golf course to one of the trees bordering it. But then the bus came and I didn't get to watch until it took off again to see if it was on another branch-acquiring mission.

Still -- going to get the first branch highly suggests to me that there's a redtail pair either building or repairing a nest, probably in that same white-pine tree on the golf course. I don't know for sure whether they have nested there before or not. I mean, I haven't personally seen them, or any juveniles, or heard any, during last year's nesting season; but that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't there. So I can't tell if this is a brand-new nest or not. It could be.

Once last year, I saw a hawk circling high above the same vicinity. But, I know there is a nesting pair in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery down the road, and at the time I assumed it might be one of those hawks. That's probably a mile to the east? Maybe a little more. I also know there's a nesting pair up at Fresh Pond, but I think that's probably 2 or 3 miles to the north. So if this golf course wasn't already part of a redtail pair's territory, it looks like it is now -- I wonder if it's one or more of the chicks from some other local pair's previous years, setting up shop here? I mean, I wonder if this area of Belmont was formerly on the "border" of the other pairs' territories, and some of their offspring have dispersed just that far? (There are 6 nesting pairs that I know of in the Cambridge area, so in the past few years they have certainly been furnishing enough new birds to expand territory.) While I never got a look at this bird's tail's upper side, peering at the above photos suggests to me that it's the tail of a mature redtail, not a juvenile (which makes sense with the nest-building, but, I know of at least one other case of a 2nd-year redtail starting to nest-build while still sporting a juvenile barred brown tail).

This will give me something new to keep an eye out for while commuting!

(Finally: is it just me, or does it almost look like that tree has buds? If so, then I want to say: Tree, I know what Punxsatawney Phil said, but man, it seems a bit early to me for budding. *looks around at deep snow*)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Got home from work tonight. We only put the heat on twice a day - the minimum our system will let us in the morning and a tad more at night. The aim is that the place is warm when we get back.

Me to G: "Is it just me or is it really hot?"
G: "It's hot. And it was hot this morning."
Me: "I'll go and turn the heating off. Actually, would you mind if I turned off the timer as well?"

This now guarantees that London will have a temperature drop of dramatic proportions tonight.

On the other hand, this is beginning to feel like spring. And I know it takes a lot longer for you guys, but after the cold winter we've had (comparatively speaking - did you enjoy the benefit of pinching the Gulf Stream from us?), it's more than welcome. Hopefully yours[1] isn't too far behind.

[1] My first time in Boston, my sister laughed hollowly and informed me that New England had three seasons, not four. And it only had three because of the leaf change, otherwise it would be two.
Feb. 8th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Also, I love your bird pictures.
Feb. 9th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
SQUEEE!!!!!! There's going to be a nest, this is very very cool. *Hugs*
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )