... back he would come with yet another load, poking and fussing it into place.
Then he would step to the front of the nest and look out as if to locate his mate in a nearby tree and say, "Well, how about THAT piece I just brought in!"
On the rare occasions that she flew in, the formel spent hardly more than 30 seconds on the nest. Even when dad left her a tasty mouse morsel, she would grab it and go find a nice smooth, neat monument on which to eat her snack instead of that trash strewn nest. Hawk watchers started to wonder how and when the eggs would ever get laid.
And on Wednesday, the tide of trash rose higher.....
... and higher in the nest.
Yesterday (Wednesday) was windy, and some of it blew away. By mid-morning, the formel was on the nest...
...and finally seemed more interested in staying there for a while.
Then she settled deep into the nest bowl.
We don't know for sure when she laid the egg, but when she stood up and left the nest around 1:00 PM, there it was, nestled on the remaining piece of plastic she deemed worthy enough for her egg!
When she returned a few minutes later, the plastic had shifted slightly over the egg...
... and when dad showed up, he immediately moved into action, twitching the plastic fully over the egg,
... and then settled himself into the nest bowl.
... before he got the hint...
... to let her move back to her egg.
He left to rustle up a tasty rodent, and she decided it was time to start shifting that pesky plastic.
She moved it away from the egg and out of the nest bowl.
It stayed on the edge of the nest for a while
... but within the hour it was gone, leaving the nest finally looking a more normal environment for eggs, though there was still quite a bit of paper lining the nest bowl.
This morning (Thursday) dad was crouched over the egg along with a piece of newspaper...
... while his mate was out hunting - successfully, as it turned out. This is a family that definitely shares the household responsibilities!
When she moved down into the nest bowl, he adroitely shuffled the paper away from the egg as he shifted out of her way.
However, this piece of paper caught her eye (how could she miss it?)
... and she clearly wanted it back in the nest bowl.
Over the next few minutes, she tugged and tore at it, getting it just where she wanted it around the egg.
She shredded off some strips and tucked them down.
And then pushed away the larger pieces.
She kept starting to sit back down on the egg...
... then standing up.
More paper pushing...
And then after all that - poof - she was gone.
But within literally 10 seconds dad zoomed in to take his turn on the egg. He LOVES everything about this nest and taking care of the egg.
It is likely that egg #2 will show up sometime on Friday. Eggciting times to be sure!