Lawrence Peregrines: Egg #4!

March 28, 2020 in In the Nest Box

Conditions; clear skies, wind S at 3MPH, temp at 37F; forecast for day ahead – increasing clouds, with a high near 56. Calm wind becoming southeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. Tonight rain likely, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 40. Light southeast wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

2020.0328.LPWhat a joy to behold this morning just before 7AM….egg #4! The eggs have been laid 48 hours apart over last number of days.  This is the normal pattern and this may be the last egg to be laid. So now, the Peregrines shift into full and shared incubation duties that will last the next 32 to 33 days or so.  We are about a week ahead of last year’s egg laying time frame and two weeks ahead from two years ago.  With God’s grace the circle of life continues!

2020.0328.LP1According to Birds of North American Online: the eggs are fairly smooth without gloss. When fresh, ground color varies from pale creamy to brownish or reddish overlaid with dots, spots, and blotches of various warm browns to deep reds and purples; great variation. Generally deeper and richer color than other large North American falcons.

Lawrence Peregrines: Egg #3

March 26, 2020 in In the Nest Box

Conditions: partly sunny, wind N at 18MPh, with gusts to 29MPH, 40F; forecast for today – cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 45. North wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph; tonight – increasing clouds, with a low around 40. Light south wind becoming southwest 10 to 15 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.

2020.0326.LP-001After a long observation period this morning through the New Balance Falcon Cam, finally just before 9AM, the female lifted up and took in flight for a break and revealed egg #3 right on schedule.  Typically the female Peregrine lays eggs about every 48 hours until the process is complete.  We have seen mostly 4 eggs laid per year at this location, and usually near the end of March! This first image shows the eggs in the scrape all close together!

2020.0326.LP1-001Moments later, the female returned to the lateral perch that extends out from the nest box.  She rested there for a awhile before resuming her incubation duties!

Lawrence Peregrines: 2020 Egg #2!

March 26, 2020 in In the Nest Box

Conditions: overcast skies, wind NW at 7MPH, temp at 35F; forecast for today – partly sunny, with a high near 51. Northwest wind around 8 mph and tonight -mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. Northeast wind 3 to 5 mph.

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Great news this morning about 10 minutes before sunrise time, checked the nest box web cam and egg #2 has been laid overnight! This first image was captured through the webcam about 6:40AM. At first look, the female was out of the nest box, and then returned minutes later. Normally, the eggs are laid 48 hours apart, but there may be variations. We’ll expect the third egg on Thursday morning. Until the next to last egg is laid, the female may only incubate form time to time unless the temp is a bit cooler.

 

 


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Later in the afternoon as the sun came out and the temperature warmed up, the female was seen incubating both eggs!

Lawrence Peregrines: 2020 Egg #1!

March 22, 2020 in In the Nest Box

It was a cold start to this Sunday, with temperatures in the upper teens to 20s, under a clear sky and subtle breeze.  This afternoon, under sun-filled skies, temperatures only rebounded back into the upper 30s. The wind chills were in the upper 20s through most of the day. Tonight, the Peregrines will have increasing clouds, with a low around 24. Southeast wind around 6 mph.

2020.0322.LPMade a visit to the extended Clock Tower area late Friday afternoon, and checked on the activity around the nest box and the extended Clock Tower. It was fairly quiet and the female was seen from the street and through the webcam. She was mulling around inside the nest box. Checked again this morning and wonderful surprise in seeing the first egg for 2020!

Later in the afternoon, she spent a more time incubating the egg, and basking in the later afternoon sunshine! Recently, her behavior was very consistent with the general lethargy that a female falcon typically experiences in the few days prior to laying the first egg. In many cases this lethargy may last a week or longer. She lazes around and spends lots of time in the nest box, nest scraping, and other courtship related activities.

2020.0322.1-001Incubation usually will not begin until the second to last egg has been laid. In this cool spring weather, with night time temps in the low 30’s, the female will spend some time incubating the egg, but it may not be a non-stop effort! The female has a silver federal leg band on her right leg; and a black over green 38/BV band on her left leg.  The male has only a silver right leg band and no band on his left leg.

Peregrine Falcons: Day 31

June 4, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started off the day under fair skies, wind from the Sw at 6MPh, and  temp at 47F.  The day ahead calls for increasing clouds, with a high near 68. West wind 5 to 11 mph. Tonight, a chance of showers, mainly after 10pm. Cloudy, with a low around 54. West wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm in the evening. 

2019.0604.2By day 31, the chicks often become actively interested in losing their down, preening themselves and sometimes ending up with feathers stuck to their beak as a result.  From the back they are looking increasingly dark, with the wing feathers approaching full length. In this photo, the chick in the back left corner was wing flapping, the others have been preening.  The darker feathers are coming in all over, and the down is decreasing rapidly!

Around this time, a nestling can rip up a prey item quite well, and at 39 days it soon demolishes even intact prey items. At this stage, prey is usually left intact for the young to deal with, though the parent may still break food up into smaller pieces.  There is, however, a considerable overlap between parental and self-feeding, and adults will present young with pieces of torn-up prey until they fledge, especially if nestlings solicit.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 30!

June 3, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

This morning the Peregrines started the day under fair skies, wind from the west at 6 MPH, and the temp at 55F.  The forecast calls for sunny skies, with a high near 68. West wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 12 to 17 mph in the afternoon. Tonight, mostly cloudy during the early evening, then becoming clear, with a low around 47. West wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

2019.0603.1It’s often around day 30 that the chicks seem to turn into “real” peregrines almost overnight, very rapidly losing much of the down on their breast, thus revealing the heavily streaked breast feathers they will be carrying for the next year. In this photo, the larger female chick had just been flapping and the darker feather colors, on the wings, back, and tail are very visible! Feather ruffling with body and head shaking is now marked and increasing time is spent in exercise, notably walking on the feet and wing-flapping.  The young are now better able to eject their droppings out of the nest box. They present their backs to the edge of the nest box, but are careful not to fall out, and have a fairly well developed sense of the gravitational hazard…..but sometimes, it is…….look out below!

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 29

June 2, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started the day off under continuing overcast skies, light winds, and temp at 49F.  The forecast calls for a chance of showers before 11am, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5pm. Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 71. South wind 3 to 7 mph. Tonight, a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Areas of fog between 2am and 3am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. South wind 5 to 8 mph becoming west after midnight. 

The chicks have been lazy most of this morning and have huddled in the far left corner.  They take turns getting up, walking around a bit, preening, and then slumping back into the huddle. By day 29, the chicks often have their faces largely free of down, giving them a white-capped appearance.  On their backs, the remaining down often appears to be clumped together in certain areas, with extensive areas instead revealing the dark juvenile feathers, as you see in this photos. The wing and tail feathers are developing strongly and body feathers begin to appear in lines and patches along the back and breast.  Preening becomes a major activity.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 28

June 1, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started off today under fair skies, wind from the NE at 3MPH, and temp at 55F. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 77. Calm wind becoming southeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. For tonight, a slight chance of showers between 1am and 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight. 

2019.0601.2The chicks were seen moving around the nest box this morning, at times restless and flapping their wings in an awkward way, and then going back into huddle mode for period of time. Just after 6:15PM, the female arrived with a freshly caught Blue Jay for dinner.  As they approach four weeks of age, the chicks are rapidly growing their juvenile feathers both below and above, and are looking visibly darker with each passing day. The chicks are nearing the midpoint of their transition from down-covered chick to juvenile-plumaged fledgling, and are nearly full-grown in terms of body size and weight.

Around this time in the growth cycle, the chicks may sometimes join their parents in alarm calling instead of falling silent. They are able to follow the flight patterns of their parents outside the nest box.  They will also become more vocal in calling for food.  As we see in this photo, they begin to grab or steal the incoming food offerings, and sometimes head away from the other chicks.  Sleeping and dozing still occupy a large part of the day, but close huddling begins to diminish.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 27

May 31, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines are starting off the day under overcast skies, light SW wind, and temp at 58F.  The forecast calls for patchy fog before 7am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 75. Northwest wind 3 to 8 mph. Tonight, partly cloudy, with a low around 52. Southeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

2019.0531.1Over the past many days the facial pattern behind the eyes is becoming increasingly evident, and some coloration is becoming visible on the upper breast as juvenile feathers develop beneath the down.   The legs are now just about fully developed, and that made banding possible earlier in the week. A number of other chicks in the extended Boston area either have been banded, or are scheduled to be banded.

 

 

After the chicks can stand, the begging posture becomes more horizontal, though they feed in a normal standing position, and direct themselves at the parent’s beak. At about this age, they will start to regurgitate castings composed of indigestible remains, and wiping of the sides of the beak back and forth against the nest box edges.  Also, signs of self-feeding became more pronounced with nestlings starting to grab at food instead of just begging for it!

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: feeding time

May 30, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

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Had a nice opportunity to watch the Peregrines from below the nest box just before 6PM.  There were a few clouds, wind from the S at 9MPH and temp at 65F. The male was circling the Clock Tower a number of times in big lazy circles.  One of the chicks was seen looking west out of the nest box opening.   In the days ahead, the chicks will move closer to the edge of the nest box and will spend more time looking out and also exercising their wing muscles.  It’s always a joy to see them lined up at the edge and preparing to fledge, or make first flight.

 

 

_W7I3552-001Meanwhile, just around the corner, the female had been provided a next meal, and she was the one ripping apart the fresh caught prey with loose feathers flying every which way in the light wind.  Once she had completed her preparations, she launched into flight and circled around into the nest box and offered up a meal to the little ones!