For the third year in a row, the red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) have returned to nest in the eucalyptus tree across the road.
Preparing to hunt. The nest is in the lower right corner of the photo.
There's a wonderfully detailed article on the Red-Tailed Hawk on the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web site. They quote:
Red-tailed hawks usually begin breeding when they are three years old. They are monogamous, and mate with the same individual for many years. In fact, red-tailed hawks usually only change mates when their original mate dies. During courtship, the male and female soar together in circles, with flights lasting 10 minutes or more. Mating usually takes place following these flights. The male and female land on a perch and preen each other. The female then tilts forward, allowing the male to mount her. Copulation lasts 5 to 10 seconds.This afternoon I heard the hawks calling and turned to see the pair circling together high in the east. What a privilege it is to live in the middle of a city and still be able to witness these beautiful birds mating and nesting so close by.