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Posts Tagged ‘mating’

I added one new Bluebird House (and retired one) to my trail this spring. The Bluebirds started checking out the new house today in the stages to breeding; the wing wave. The male found the house and brought the female to it. She looked it over real thoroughly (inside and out); then the wing wave that signals mating is near and nest building will happen that same day (the new treated post is straight, camera crooked), Taken from 150′ with a Canon 50D and an EF400L f/5.6:

 

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The mating ritual was in full display yesterday; a male attracts a female to look at a house (house hunting). She is moderately impressed; but makes him continue the courting ritual for about 2 hours. She still does not accept the box and, so in a final attempt to get her attention, he starts to gather grass for the nest in hopes that she will follow – she does not  –  yet !!  He tries wing – wags, one and both, flies circles around the house, goes in to show her it is safe, comes out, makes several more short flights (never more than 10 feet from the house); finally, she approaches the house, checks the view, and leaves, flies back twice, once while he is in the box, sets on top, he looks for approval, she seem impressed but is not ready and leaves to land on a nearly post and watch while he attempts to pick up and take grass to the house. She watches. In the end nothing is decided.

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* All photos taken handled (no tripod) by a Canon 50D with a Canon 400 f/5.6 lens at ISO 500 and TV=1/2,000 sec.

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An ongoing series about the redheaded woodpeckers near Parthenon, Arkansas:

 

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The redheaded woodpeckers must be getting ready to mate and lay eggs real soon – perhaos later this week. This pair began working together on Monday 4/1/13; eating wasps and carrying nesting material and stuffing this hole:

 

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I have watched three pairs of Red Shoulders this week. They fly in ever tightening circles locking talons occasionally like Bald Eagles. One pair, here in my yard, has performed the mating flight or sky dance all week long. I got a few distant photographs. Taken with a Canon 1DS Mark III full frame and a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS Lens so the images appear small. Click to enlarge.

Red-shouldered hawks soar and circle with wings and tail spread out like a typical buteo hawk, but they also flap their wings quickly and glide through forests underneath the canopy, the way an accipiter such as Cooper’s Hawk does. When hunting, they perch near a wooded water body and watch for their prey to appear below them. In populated areas, such as forested suburban developments, they can become very unconcerned and approachable by people, but in wilder areas they flush easily. On their territories, Red-shouldered Hawks are aggressive, sometimes locking talons with intruding hawks and also attacking crows, Great Horned Owls, and even humans. As a mating display, the male enacts a “sky dance” in which he soars while calling, then makes a series of steep dives toward the female, climbing back up in wide spirals after each descent, before finally rapidly diving to perch upon the female’s back.

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