Tuesday was relatively mild for a winter day. Temperatures never left the 30’s, but the sun and lack of persistent wind made it seem more temperate. Our first view of a falcon came at 5:10 AM, when Ares made an appearance at the nest box. While there he did some screeching long calls and then zoomed out again. A few minutes later it was Astrid’s turn. She came to the box at 5:20 and made some “chirrup” calls. We thought that Ares would rush back to mate, but he didn’t seem to be around. Perhaps he was out trying to rustle up breakfast. As it turned out, he came back with empty-talons and at 6:10, they mated at the box. A half hour later, they had switched – Ares was at the box and Astrid was on her steeple perch. Shortly after that, Ares saw something and launched after it. Astrid followed ten seconds later. We have no idea what they saw but at 7:10, Ares was back at the box with prey. We missed it, but we think he handed the meal off to Astrid on the Hotel Ledge. All we knew for sure was she had been over there and then suddenly Ares was in her place wiping his beak off. This is what he usually does following a food transfer. At about this time the streaming video feed from our nest box cameras went out so we missed some action. When Deb was checking the connections at the modem box, she came face to face with Ares who was on the long perch right outside her office window. At 7:30, the falcons mated again, this time on the steeple. A few minutes later, Ares was doing some serious feather plucking on a window ledge west of the nest box. By the look of the feathers, he must have caught a starling or blackbird.
By 8 AM, all cameras in the nest box were up and running again and Ares was there in the box. A half-hour later, both were there together. Astrid seemed to want to mate, but Ares was looking for a dance. Sorry buddy, she left instead, but then fifteen minutes later, they again mated on the steeple. Spring fever continued in falcon town: The pair met at the box again at 9:30, and ten minutes later, the mated on the perch. For the next two hours, Ares was in and out of the box a lot. Astrid did a short flight display for him during that period. At a pretty good clip, she buzzed by his perch a couple of times. I can safely say that we were all impressed. At 11:12, Ares suddenly gave his most serious cackle alarm call. There must have been an intruder, but we saw nothing. Later when reviewing PTZ footage, we saw no third falcon, if that was what he was going after. Whatever it was, we think it was probably flying high and out of our field of view. Regardless, he saw it and dashed off to the northwest. Meanwhile Astrid stayed on her perch on the State Building. He was back at the box in a half-hour. While there he made a scrape near the box’s west wall. Both falcons have thus far been doing most of their scrapes in this same place. It’s really turning into a deep divot. They are half-way to China.
By noon, both falcons were up and they were out of camera view. Thirty minutes later, Ares came screeching in from the east and landed at the box. He was giving interactive calls, so we knew she was close by, still we couldn’t find her with the PTZ cams. Finally we noticed her on a window ledge west of the nest box. He was giving a lot of light squeaking calls, trying to lure her into the box, but she was staying put. He zipped over to her, but she wasn’t in the right position to mate so he flew right back to the box. At 2:30, Astrid joined Ares at the nest box. It looked like she was asking to mate, but then she hopped into the box and they shared a ledge display instead. There was no beaking or fancy footwork in this dance, just a lot of conversation. When he left, she made a scrape in the stone thus bringing them that much closer to china. Less than a half-hour later, Ares brought a food tribute and she took it from him on the cross-perch. She took the meal over to the Hotel and he flew over to watch her eat it. It’s always nice to have a waiter standing by.
The pair was out of view for a while after that, but then at 5 PM, they returned in tandem. He came to the box and she sailed through the canyon and landed on the west face of the State Building. He flew over and tried to mate with her, but the attempt failed and he dashed back to nest. Both were at the box at 5:26, and they shared another dance. This one was short but featured an abundance of beaking. At one point Ares itched his face with his talon, while beaking ensued. That was different. Following Ares’ dramatic “cowabunga” dive out of the box, Astrid did housekeeping. She bit the lip of the box and then moved some stones around – all important stuff. Within a couple of minutes, Ares returned with food. By the looks of it, it was something he just pulled out of storage. Astrid accepted it and flew over to State Building with it. Ares flew up to the roof of the same building where he remained for another half-hour. Neither was seen after that. Goodnight falcons.