It was another chilly winter day in the falcons’ canyon. The one thing that set today apart from the previous several days was that it didn’t snow. However, it was windy and temperatures once again were in the 30’s. We saw the first falcon arrive on the State Building at 5:45. It was probably Ares. An hour later, both falcons came to the box in tandem. Astrid put down on the cross-perch and stayed for less than a minute. At 7 o’clock Ares was seen on the Hotel ledge with what appeared to be a Pigeon. He was there for at least ten minutes and then flew away with the prey. We missed some of the action during this period so we weren’t sure if he tried to gift the meal to Astrid or not. In fact Astrid was successful at eluding our cameras at this point. She may have been eluding Ares as well; he went up to the roof of the State Building and then swung over to the box – chirping the whole time. It seemed like he wasn’t sure where she was. We speculated that she was either chasing an intruder or out hunting. At 8:30, he was feeding on something on a window ledge just west of the nest box, but it wasn’t the pigeon he had nabbed earlier; it was a starling. He brought it to the box and remained there with it in his talons for about an hour. He was chirping up a storm the whole time, but still, Astrid was nowhere to be seen. At one point, with the meal in his talons, Ares launched out of the box to chase after the local Pigeon flock. A few minutes later, Astrid was at the box, and the pair performed a marathon 13 minute ledge display. Although the falcons waltzed around the nest box twice, Ares wound up in his usual position, standing in the middle of the nest scrape he has been working on for weeks now. It’s really getting deep – so much so that when he’s standing in it you can’t see his feet. He was never so zealous about excavating in previous years. Why is he doing it this year? Lots of vocalization and beaking characterized this display. Besides the normal “chirrup” calls, Astrid produced a few donkey calls. She usually saves these for later in the breeding season. Astrid left directly after the display (dance) was finished and Ares stayed to tend his prize divot.
Through early afternoon, Astrid largely remained on one perch or another on the State Building. At 12:15, the pair mated on the State Building. One minute later, Ares was back to the box with a scrawny piece of prey he had evidently stored for such an occasion. Since she didn’t come to the box for it, Ares sailed up to window ledge on the State Building where Astrid was and he took a perch right next to hers. We presume that he gave her the scrap of food, but it was hard to tell for sure, since our PTZ won’t zoom in on objects that high. For the rest of the afternoon, Ares alternated his visits between the nest box and the State Building where Astrid was. Astrid did leave at around 3:20, in order to scrounge for leftovers on the Hotel Ledge. While there, we saw here swallow an entire pigeon leg. At 4:45, there was another failed mating attempt on the State Building. We didn’t really see Astrid again after 5 PM. However, we do think that Ares saw her once more about an hour later. The falcons’ day ended with a flock of crows passing through the canyon. As far as we could determine, they were allowed to pass un-assaulted.