Observation date: 8 January 2017
Breeding could have happened before today, but I can only report when I see it happen. Last year, the pair were breeding on January 3rd. There is a three week window when this normally takes place. This morning arriving at Morro Rock about 8AM both male and female falcons on the south side where eating willets, a medium size long legged shore bird.
This is the first I have seen them bring prey to the rock in a few months. Courtship flights have been taking place around the rock for weeks. Now with the two eating at the rock you know something is going to happen. Within a half hour a Red-tailed Hawk appears around the north side of the rock. Both male and female falcon immediately take flight and make a bee line toward the hawk. Both falcons screaming and diving in tandem at his back and wings. With a successful rousting of the hawk, the female returns first to finish her meal of willet. The tiercel meantime makes a couple of high speed passes over and around her before landing atop her to copulate.
Funny what a little danger and excitement will do.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: 94.6% of breeding has started between December 24th and January 3rd.