Oxbow Park, Reno, Washoe Co (4/3/13)
The Red-shouldered Hawks are still at Oxbow & I still can't find a nest or any evidence of nest building off-site. When first spotted this morning the presumed female was perched at the top of the tall cottonwood at the upstream end of the park where I had seen the pair last month. After a few minutes she was joined by the presumed male coming in from the direction of the railroad tracks & the 2 hawks mated. The male then flew straight across the river & disappeared into the distance. The female then flew off downriver & we lost track of her. About 20 minutes later she was back at her old perch in the cottonwood followed not many seconds later by the male & another bout of mating ensued. As before the male flew in from the direction of the railroad tracks and must have circled back at some point, re-crossing the river in the process. And also as before, he didn't stick around for long but flew off across the river once the deed was done.
I have no idea what's going on here. The female's a full-adult, but I've never seen the male well enough to know whether that's also true of him. If not--that is if the male hasn't bred before--that could be a reason why things seem to be getting off to a slow start, if that is indeed what's happening & there isn't a nest tucked away someplace outside the park boundaries.
Otherwise little to report. Work continues on the flicker nest reported earlier, the hole now so deep that the flicker almost disappears into it as it works, & I saw the first Tree Swallows of the season checking out the dead willows for nest sites. Of the pair of kestrels, I only saw the male today--at the top of a dead cottonwood pulling at small prey of some sort--so the female may be in a nest cavity somewhere in the vicinity.
--Fred Petersen, Reno