Beau and Swift have been doing quite a bit of ritual pair-bonding today. The first time, it lasted nearly four minutes, about half of which was quite far apart, and above half very close, involving something which I call a ‘staring competition’ (which Swift always wins). The second time was much shorter, just half a minute, but involved close ‘beaking’ (see below), initiated by Swift.
I was wondering if this was significant in respect of the loss of the youngster (and yes, we are still searching daily, but without any signs of life, although a few false alarms). I looked back through the records and noted that something similar happened in December 2013, some considerable time after the loss of all three eggs. There was then something of a gap before interaction started again in March (our early autumn).
In 2012, when there was one successful fledging (“Snow”), pair bonding was also noted, and this happened after the first time the box was empty at night, but whilst the youngster was still being fed, of course.
I must confess I love watching them pair bonding – before watching this camera I had never seen or imagined anything quite like it!