Red-shouldered Hawks – Mating Behavior


Yesterday early morning while golf cart birding, I spotted a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks in a pine tree.  I stopped for this shot, including seeing the power lines crossing my ‘scene’ as I took the photo.  Ugh.  Must get better shot, I thought!


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Red-shouldered Hawks (male top, female bottom)


I quickly moved while trying to get my lens back on the scene.  At the same time, the male dropped down to the female and began mating!


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Red-shouldered Hawks mating


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Red-shouldered Hawks mating


As is with birds, it was over just as quick as it started.  But what followed I had not seen before.  The female immediately began to nip at the male’s feathers.  Bonding bites?


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Female nipping male


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Female nipping male as he edges away


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Female continues the bonding nips


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Female is saying something?


Just then some sunshine popped through the clouds, perfect timing for this next funny shot.


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“Ooooh, Baby!”
(male gets excited/fluffs up, as the female watches)


She must have said something pretty good, you think?  😏

(Fact:  Red-shouldered Hawks are monogamous and usually mate for life.)



52 thoughts on “Red-shouldered Hawks – Mating Behavior

  1. It was the right moment, for sure! For you as a photographer and them as the protagonists. Good job, Donna. 🙂

    • Thank you, HIen! Whew, how’d I manage this sighting? lol Hey, question, have you heard of birds nipping the mate immediately after mating like I shared? I’ve never seen that before. The male flew right after my last photo. Was it part of bonding? Or the female setting dominance? (I read about that on some birds but not after mating.) Or demand for food? I thought maybe you might know. 😊

      • First of all, you can call me H.J. or you can call me for dinner… No, I do not know about nips after sex, perhaps a cigaret? I think it was more, “coitus interrupts” because of someone was watching them. I don’t think it’s part of bonding. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful capture!! it looks like once she ‘hooked’ him, she started nagging him. Too funny!

  3. Great captures, Donna! I had to laugh at the thought of commentary… “So, was it as good for you as it was for me?” …. “Ooh, baby, don’t you know it!” 😀

  4. What a wonderful little story in pictures Donna, catching the golden moment so well, that is a real blessing to be at the right place at the right time. Well done ! 🙂

  5. Another instance of being at the right place at the right time. Donna. The details you observed are very touching and the final photo priceless. If only we could read bird thoughts!

  6. Wonderful series, Donna! Love the interaction between the couple, so cool!

    And that’s why you always take the shot with the power line, never know what’s going to happen.

  7. I’m kind of embarrassed to watch that. 😊😎 I didn’t know they were like Canada geese. The nipping is cute. Love bites! 😄

    My buddy Ray is contract security at IBM @ RTP. The geese love that area…lots of ponds. He has filmed one male that lost its mate a few years ago. He returns every year to protect a nest that doesn’t exist anymore. Comes back to the same spot… When mating season is over, he calms down and, waddles & honks all over the place.

    It’s kinda sad. Ray says he just hasn’t found another female. He continues to look for his previous one.

    • Thank you, Vic! hehe

      Oh my, that is really sad. The birds that mate for life really do create a committed bond. I watched a Canada Goose loose it’s mate, and the poor thing hung around for weeks right by the area, just waiting. I would tear up watching it, I felt so bad for it. 😔

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