Air National Guard

April 10 (grab a soda and popcorn)

The day started with Eden sitting on the anthemion.  It was rather quiet and I couldn’t see any bird nor was there any movement in the nest.  I waited for Papa to stop in for the morning exchange but minutes passed and nothing.

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No Papa but Eden soon took off towards the nest.  I thought, nah, she wouldn’t but she did and landed IN the nest!

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She pecked a few times at something.  I wasn’t sure what it was but I hoped it wasn’t any of the eggs.

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It was a relief to see Mama take off from the other side of the nest.  Hmm… Nanny Eden?  Obviously, the eggs have not yet hatched or else Eden would not get anywhere close.

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Papa flew in minutes later and Eden took off westbound.  Mama came back a few minutes later (which was rather surprising)

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and Papa took off.  Mama probably just needed to stretch her wings.

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Papa taking in some sun

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At lunch time, a RT flew across the Capitol. I told myself I probably just missed the lunch time exchange.  But Mama didn’t go far and landed on the Cross of the 1st Baptist.  She was in no hurry and started to preen.

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back feathers…

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chest feathers…

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Pooping is always part of the routine…

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A good head scratch…

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A good head dip under the wing.  First time I’ve seen this.

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Tail feather stretch…

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More scratching.

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With preening out of the way, I thought Mama would take off to hunt but instead, she flew back to the nest area.

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Meanwhile, another hawk was atop the Wells.  Who? I don’t know.

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There was no activity in the nest but plenty in the skies.  I sighted a raptor high up and saw another bird fly up close to it.  This 2nd bird was definitely a Red-tail. It was Papa. He shadowed the other bird for several minutes…

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At first I thought it was Eden, but after criss crossing each others flight path several times, the intruder had no intention of leaving this air space.  Papa had no choice but to engage.

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Both birds slammed into each other and locked talons and this wasn’t an act of courtship.  It was a battle between 2 birds-of-prey.

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They tumbled in mid-air and fought.

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With both talons locked, they tangoed thru the skies…

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then it was Talon-on-Talon

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The intruder finally let go in defeat.  But Papa wasn’t done.  He engaged one more time.

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As the mid-air battle raged on, Papa called in for reinforcement.  Who came?  It wasn’t Mama.  She was protecting the nest.  Who else was at hand?

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While I can’t be 100% sure who this 3rd hawk was, I think this was Eden, who came in to take part of the action.

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As Eden chased the other hawk away, Papa exited the scene…

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and headed back to the nest.

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and Mama took off to continue her interrupted R&R.

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What a day!

Ciao!

JP

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8 thoughts on “Air National Guard

  1. How EXCITING! Awesome footage. WOW! I am shocked the parents allow last year’s “baby” anywhere near the nest. Mine run them out of the valley before they’ve laid their eggs. I believe they killed one, two years ago, that would not respect their boundaries. What amazing beings they are! Thank you for sharing your experiences and observations with us!

    • this has happened in the last 3 years. one of the kids from last year always stays behind. they drop by the nest and the parents seem okay with it, but only before the eggs hatch. after they hatch, the parents chase the kid out.

  2. What a great day you’ve had! Thanks so much for sharing your photos and observations – you’ve made my day end on a happy note.

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