Dateline – May 3, 2007, Dallas, Texas

This is a followup to this Downtown Dallas Red-tailed Hawk observation.

Several weeks after I first observed these two downtown, highrise hawks (one lightly colored, the other dark), I was able to arrange a visit to the office behind the window where the hawks are typically seen.

As luck would have it, the light-color hawk was returning to the ledge just as I arrived.

Unfortunately, I was not prepared to get photographs of the bird’s interesting, but brief, interactions with its own reflection in the mirrored glass. For just a few moments after landing, this bird spread its wings wide, and grabbed and pecked its reflection in the glass with its talons and beak.

The hawk quickly settled down, though, and moved to its favorite position in the corner of the window. This prevented me from photographing the condition of the ledge at that location, but fortunately, I was able to get a good look at it, and I can report that there is nothing unusual about the location whatsoever. The stone surface is intact, flat, and sloped. There was no nest or eggs in the location, and it was clear that the ledge was generally unsuitable as a nesting location.

The ledge is located just outside the 34th floor of the KPMG building in downtown Dallas. The office manager on that floor tells me that the two hawks have been regular visitors to the ledge for at least the last 6 years. She explained that they usually arrive in April, and stay until sometime in June or July.

According to the office manager, the light-colored hawk spends the majority of its time on the ledge, while the other, darker colored, hawk brings assorted nesting materials, such as twigs, wire, and paper, all of which eventually fall off the side of the ledge.

Unfortunately, the second hawk did not make an appearance during this photography session. At one point, we believed we saw the darker bird coming into the downtown area, but as the bird drew nearer and flew by the building, we realized we were seeing a Turkey Vulture.

So what is going on with these two downtown hawks? Their behavior certainly strikes me as odd, but I do not have the experience to say for sure.

One possibility that we tossed around, is that this is a failed attempt at nesting, and for some reason the birds are driven to try and see it through nonetheless.

As luck would have it, the light-color hawk was returning to the ledge just as I arrived. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to get photographs of the bird's interesting, but brief, interactions with its own reflection in the mirrored glass. For just a few moments after landing, this bird spread its wings wide, and grabbed and pecked its reflection in the glass with its talons and beak. The hawk quickly settled down, though, and I was just able to get this picture before the bird moved to sit in its usual corner of the ledge. The speed with which this hawk moved to its favorite seat also prevented me from photographing the condition of the ledge at that location, but fortunately, I was able to get a good look at it, and I can report that there is nothing unusual about the location whatsoever. The stone surface is intact, flat, and sloped. There was no nest or eggs in the location, and it was clear that the ledge was generally unsuitable as a nesting location.
As luck would have it, the light-color hawk was returning to the ledge just as I arrived. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to get photographs of the bird’s interesting, but brief, interactions with its own reflection in the mirrored glass. For just a few moments after landing, this bird spread its wings wide, and grabbed and pecked its reflection in the glass with its talons and beak. The hawk quickly settled down, though, and I was just able to get this picture before the bird moved to sit in its usual corner of the ledge. The speed with which this hawk moved to its favorite seat also prevented me from photographing the condition of the ledge at that location, but fortunately, I was able to get a good look at it, and I can report that there is nothing unusual about the location whatsoever. The stone surface is intact, flat, and sloped. There was no nest or eggs in the location, and it was clear that the ledge was generally unsuitable as a nesting location.
After my first photograph, the hawk rapidly moved towards its favorite corner of the ledge, and assumed its regular position, facing the glass. As you can see from this picture, I had the best seat in the house, with only the width of the glass separating me from this beautiful bird. The next several photographs in this series will show the hawk moving into the corner and making itself comfortable. This picture also documents the condition of the ledge. As you can see, the ledge is relatively smooth and sloped; obviously not suitable as a nesting location.
After my first photograph, the hawk rapidly moved towards its favorite corner of the ledge, and assumed its regular position, facing the glass. As you can see from this picture, I had the best seat in the house, with only the width of the glass separating me from this beautiful bird. The next several photographs in this series will show the hawk moving into the corner and making itself comfortable. This picture also documents the condition of the ledge. As you can see, the ledge is relatively smooth and sloped; obviously not suitable as a nesting location.
In this picture, the hawk is working to get comfortable in its favorite corner of the ledge.
In this picture, the hawk is working to get comfortable in its favorite corner of the ledge.
The hawk took several seconds, and much maneuvering, before finally settling down.
The hawk took several seconds, and much maneuvering, before finally settling down.
Notice how tightly the bird nestles itself in the corner of the ledge.
Notice how tightly the bird nestles itself in the corner of the ledge.
Finally comfortable, the hawk takes up its usual position. This is where the hawk has been seen for the majority of each day for at least the last 4 and half weeks.
Finally comfortable, the hawk takes up its usual position. This is where the hawk has been seen for the majority of each day for at least the last 4 and half weeks.
Here is another good look at the hawk in its usual location, as well as an excellent view of the ledge on which its sits.
Here is another good look at the hawk in its usual location, as well as an excellent view of the ledge on which its sits.
Here is a look at this beautiful Red-tailed Hawk from another angle. As you can see, there is no sign of any nesting activity.
Here is a look at this beautiful Red-tailed Hawk from another angle. As you can see, there is no sign of any nesting activity.
A closeup of our Red-tailed Hawk. Notice, again, how tightly it has tucked itself into the corner of the ledge.
A closeup of our Red-tailed Hawk. Notice, again, how tightly it has tucked itself into the corner of the ledge.
As I moved back to my original vantage point, the hawk began making this unusual looking display with the feathers on the back of its head. Notice how the feathers there are standing straight up, looking very similar to a Native American headdress.
As I moved back to my original vantage point, the hawk began making this unusual looking display with the feathers on the back of its head. Notice how the feathers there are standing straight up, looking very similar to a Native American headdress.
Here is a closer look at the at the hawk, which for some reason has lifted and fanned the feathers on the back of its head.
Here is a closer look at the at the hawk, which for some reason has lifted and fanned the feathers on the back of its head.
Another photo for context. Notice the black window frame, and my reflection in the window glass. At times, the hawk would look right at me through the glass. At these times it seemed to be at least vaguely aware of my presence.
Another photo for context. Notice the black window frame, and my reflection in the window glass. At times, the hawk would look right at me through the glass. At these times it seemed to be at least vaguely aware of my presence.
And finally, a parting shot of the grand Red-tailed Hawk.
And finally, a parting shot of the grand Red-tailed Hawk.