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Name: steven
Status: educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Saturday, August 31, 2002



Question:
Can you please describe the mating rituals of the bird of prey which forms a rotating ball when in flight with its mate? Is it the eagle or hawk? This relates to the last section of Andrew Marvell's poem "To HisCoy Mistress"--the phrase "amorous birds of prey" etc.


Replies:
Steve,

This behavior is not uncommon. The Red-tailed Hawk and other members of the [Buteo sp.] have been described as mating in a similar method. Though I have not seen this first hand, a fellow ornithologist described the one observation he made. He reported the pair of hawks locking talons at a relatively high altitude and tumbling as they seemingly joined their cloaca vents. The entire process did not take very much time for like most birds, the transfer of sperm is expedient.

Many references such as "Biological Abstracts" indexes have clarifications of this type of behavior.

Steve Sample


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