It started out as another very cold day. The temperatures in the early morning were in the single digits, but by early afternoon we were in the thirties. Our falcons arrived at the box together at 4:48 AM. Following a short but spritely vocal exchange, she flew over to the north face of the State Building. Ares remained inside the box, sitting on his super-scrape and likely wishing there were eggs to sit on. At 6:30, Astrid returned to the box and the pair performed a three minute ledge display, The dance was heavy on the beaking and light on the footwork. She stayed at the box for about 15 minutes and then she was off our radar for the rest of the morning. Ares was in and out of camera view and not nearly as elusive as his mate. At 7:40, he showed up on the State Building with either a blackbird or a starling. He plucked it and prepared it to be gifted, but then his intended recipient wouldn’t participate. He came over to the box with it and put on a good show, but Astrid wasn’t coming. He flew off and the next time we saw him, he didn’t have it. Perhaps he stored it or maybe he brought it to her, we don’t know.
At 11 AM, Ares went over to the hotel. Only minutes before there had been a half-dozen Pigeons hanging out over there; the doves left when they saw him coming. At 11:20, Ares was back at the nest box. He had some prey feathers stuck on his beak and talons so he probably caught something and had been feeding. He also appeared to have a full crop. Twenty minutes later he began getting excited – as if he saw her in the distance somewhere. He was moving back and forth between the lip of the box and the back of the box and calling. Evidently, Astrid had flown in and landed on a window ledge just west of the nest. She was calling, but she was giving raspy long calls and not her usual interactive “chirruping”. Ares wasn’t giving alarm calls, but he was highly agitated. He began loping around between the box and the perches. Some bird flew through canyon heading north, but we didn’t get more than a fleeting look at it. Ares took off after it and flew north and over the roof of the ADK bank. Based on A & A’s reaction, the intruder most likely wasn’t a Peregrine. Regardless, Ares was back at the box by noon and he had already resuming work on his magnum scrape. Meanwhile she soared over to the State Building. The pair mated a few minutes later. After that Ares fetched a meal out of storage and brought it to the box. A food transfer took place and Astrid brought the prey over to the Hotel. Ares went over to the Hotel too, but stayed on the opposite corner of the ledge while she fed. After eating, Astrid went to the Grace Church steeple. She hadn’t been seen perching there for some time. She had fed well earlier and was showing a large crop. Meanwhile Ares was at the nest box shoveling to China. At one point he took a break and mated with Astrid on the steeple. At 1:20 PM, the pair had an aborted mating attempt, but then, precisely an hour after that, they tried again and were successful.
At 2:50, the pair came to the box and did a ledge display. Afterwards, Astrid did a few typical chores around the box. She left the nest at 3:47 and then a few minutes later Ares showed up with food. Not the best timing there, sport! When she failed to come for it he left. He was seen a little while later on the Hotel and without his gift. Did he store it or give it to Astrid? At 4:15, he went through the same routine again, except this time with different prey (a starling). For the next several hours, Ares was coming to the box fairly frequently. He was scraping, preening and sometimes giving long calls. Astrid was nowhere to be seen. Deb even had a look around Downtown to see if she could locate her, but had no luck. As it became later Ares was going up onto the roof of the State Building and to his serious lookout spot. Of course, we don’t know if he knew where she was or not. He alternated between the roof and the nest box until 7:10 and that’s when Astrid showed up and met him at the box. She was staying out on the cross-perch and bowing. It seemed like she was asking to mate, but he was more interested in coaxing her into the box proper. They continued this “conversation” for about five minutes and then Ares finally gave in. He jumped out of the box and presumably did his boomerang flight pattern to come in for a mating, but then before he finished his maneuver, she jumped into the box. Ares changed course and went to pick up some groceries instead. In a few minutes he was back to the box with a starling. For a while they both stood adjacent to each other on the cross perch, but Astrid rejected the meal. He left – probably to put the food back into storage. After that he likely went off to his night perch. At 7:36 PM, Astrid left the box and did the same.