That's always so cool to see when they start doing that. This is most
likely a mated pair who wintered over on or near their breeding grounds,
so their minds are free to wander towards reestablishing the pair bond
rather than wondering whether it's time to migrate back north.
Birding legend Pete Dunne wrote a short and wonderful essay about this
in one of his books, from the point of view of the male wondering how
close he could get to his mate this time before she'd chase him away.
Red-Tails (and presumably other raptors) typically do this gradually
over several months, and the length of time it takes does vary from pair
to pair (just like us!). But they'll start serious courtship in
mid-February around our parts, so it's not too early to cozy up a bit.
But you're right, they don't usually start laying eggs until late March.
(Arlington north-- raptor nut)
On 1/29/2013 4:18 PM, eve ticknor wrote:
> Early this afternoon I was driving along 2A headed for Hinesburg. At the very top of a tall tree near St George, before I reached the town centre, 2 Red-tailed Hawks were sitting with maybe 1/2 inch between them!
> Do they know something we don't? I"m used to this a bit further along in the year.
> Eve Ticknor
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