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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Talon Locked Red-tailed Hawks

The following email from my friend Kathy was forwarded to me today:

From: Kathleen Toomey
Sent: Wed, Nov 27, 2013
Subject: Hawks locked in combat

A friend of mine who is a fireman, saw these two hawks fall out of the sky locked together. This happened by the Foodtown on MacDonald Avenue. The hawks didn't seem to be able to separate, and the firemen somehow helped them to disentangle. They then flew off.


The location she describes is just outside of Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery and about 1/4 away from last year's nest tree. This is not necessarily real battle. Red-tailed Hawks, and several other raptor species, will engage in talon grappling as a form of courtship or pair bonding. I've witnessed it many times, especially during the Winter months as the pair prepares to enter their breeding season. Around Brooklyn they usually begin deciding on the nest site, or preparing the previous year's nest, by January. Here's a link to a section in Charles R. Preston's book "Red-tailed Hawks" about this behavior.

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