Reports have been trickling in about increased red-tail activity around and at the nest. This is what we would expect to see at this time of year. This morning I tuned in and caught one of the adults bringing in new nest material. They will add to prior year's nest both before and during the nesting process. They add new material to repair the nest as well as to keep the nest clean. Over a period of years, the nest can grow to be quite large and weigh well over 100 pounds.
One viewer also noted that the hawks appeared to bring in a dark object to the nest yesterday morning and speculated that it might be a dead crow. The male will kill and deliver prey to the female as part of the courtship process. More often than not he will either deliver it directly to her or cache it near the nest. However in this case he may have left a gift right in the nest.
It also may have been garbage of some sort. Longtime Raptor Cam viewers will recall that the hawks incorporate a fair amount of garbage into the nest. Plastic bags which have made an appearance in each of the nesting season have been the most prominent items. However there was also a year when the hawks decorated their nest with a bicycle innertube. A close up view of the nest (hard to see on the computer screen) reveals that actually quite a significant portion of the nest is composed of human garbage: plastic, string, twine, bits of rubber, etc.
Hawk at Nest on 2-22-12