Friday was another decidedly winter-like day, characterized by dense snow squalls and biting winds. Temperatures never got out of the thirties, but the wind made it seem much colder. Despite all that, the Utica Peregrines managed to get everything on their pre-nesting season agenda done. Ares arrived into camera view on the State Building at some time before 4 AM. About a half-hour later he was at the nest box. While there, his intense chirping indicated that Astrid was nearby. Apparently, she had flown over to the Hotel ledge, but didn’t stay there very long. Was she hunting? Ares remained at the box until about 5:30. At 6:00, Astrid took a perch on the corner of the State Building’s roof. That was another indication that she was in hunting mode. Ares came to the box about 15 minutes later and worked on his scrape project for a while. He is ¾ of the way to China now in that one corner. He ingested a stone or two before leaving. At around 8 o’clock, he came back to the box – this time with prey. He called for Astrid to come and take it and when she didn’t show, he went to try and entice her. It still wasn’t working. He returned to the box and waited for his mate one more time. She still didn’t come; he decided to leave but dropped the prey as he was exiting. Of course, he immediately dove down after it. We don’t know if he recovered it or not. We didn’t see the prey down below on the sidewalk. As for Ares, shortly after the incident, he was seen perched on the Grace Church steeple. He didn’t have the prey. Did he store it or give it to his mate?
For the next hour, the falcons were fairly inactive. The snow squalls became quite dense in the canyon. At 9:30, during a lull in the precipitation, the pair managed to mate on the State Building, but then they resumed being sedentary for the next hour. At close to 10:30, when there was a break in the snowfall, both falcons took to the air. Ares stopped at the box and chirped for a moment, but then he was gone. An hour later he was back at the box with prey in his talons. He soon flew to the east face of the State Building with the food. Following that we weren’t sure if he stored the prey or gifted it to Astrid. The snow squalls picked up again after that, and for a while we weren’t sure what was happening with the falcons. In the noon hour, they were once again on our radar. Ares made a lightning visit to the box, but mostly, the pair were playing musical chairs (or more appropriately, musical ledges) on the State Building. At 2:30, Ares was seen plucking prey (a Woodcock) and shortly after that there was a food exchange at the box. Only a few minutes after that, the pair shared a ledge display at the nest box. It was an interesting dance and fortunately, Deb got to see it live and got all of the details. Apparently, during the beaking portion of their dance, Ares tried to offer Astrid a little piece of meat attached to a feather. She showed no interest in taking it, so he pulled off the meat, ate some of it himself, and tried to feed the rest to her. I think this bird really wants to feed chicks this season. At 4:30, both falcons took advantage of the high winds and did some sailing around the canyon. At one point Ares swooped up to the box, but didn’t stay long. By 5:00 PM, Astrid was perched on the State Building. Ten minutes later, Ares flew in and perched on an adjacent ledge. In a moment, they were sharing the same spot and it became clear he had given her a gift. While she fed, he flew over to the nest box and wiped his bill on the cross perch. The pair spent the next fifty minutes on adjoining ledges on the State Building. At six o’clock, both birds flew. Ares made a very brief stop at the nest before they presumably went to their night perches.