Lawrence Peregrines: Day 12!

May 25, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

For the peregrines, the morning started off under clear skies, winds from the south at 9MPH, and the temp at 57F.  The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 89. West wind 7 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.  Sunrise this morning was at 5:14 AM.

2018.0525.1-001This morning the chicks were first seen int he next box by themselves with the female nearby on the perch pole.  By 5:40 AM she was back in the nest box preening and scratching herself aside the chicks.  Just after that, she settled on the outer edge of the nest box looking out to the west, and the chicks remained in tight huddle formation with the the addled egg still close by.  Right about 7:30 AM, the female returned to the nest box with fresh prey and the chicks had a quick feast. Overall, The little ones are moving around more, wing stretching and being playful with each other.  They are literally a tight bunch at this age!

 

 

2018.0525.2-001As was mentioned in a prior post, the adults will shelter the nestlings from strong sunshine, and rain, as may be needed, when they are too large to brood but not yet protected by their own feathers.  The sheltering falcon half-spreads its wings, as seen in this photo.  As the overall weather warms up, and these chicks are subjected to hot, intense sunshine afternoons, this type of sheltering may be important and helpful.  The female was seen with her mouth wide open, and tongue hanging out, a clear sign of being somewhat overheated.

 

 

Literature cited:

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

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 11

May 24, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

2018.0524.1-001The peregrines started the day off under clear skies and bright sun, calm winds, and the temp at 53F.  The day ahead calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 69. Light north wind increasing to 5 to 9 mph in the morning. Just before 5:30 AM, the female was seen hovering near the chicks but not really brooding them.  The little ones continue to stay close ton one another in a constant huddle formation.  By 5:30, the female moved out to the perch pole, keeping an eye on her chicks but remaining very close.  Finally, around 6:30 AM, she returned to the nest box with prey in talons and feed the hungry little ones!

 

 

 

2018.0524.2-001By day 11, the beak is already beginning to acquire a slightly yellow tinge, as opposed to the pink color it has had to this point in the chick’s development.  In regard to feeding behavior, hungry chicks solicit even if the adult arrives without food, but when satiated they remain indifferent. R. W. Nelson observed that chicks tend to form a semi-circle in front of the parent or to one side and all received portions of the prey item. Another researcher found that each chick was fed in turn until satiated, when it dropped back and was replaced by the next in line. After 10-12 days, chicks which called most received the most food

 

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 10

May 23, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The morning started off under mostly cloudy skies, winds from the SW at 6MPH and temp at 57F.  The day ahead calls for partly sunny skies, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 83. Southwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming northwest in the morning.  The sunshine will arrive later today and stay with us into the weekend.

2018.0523.2-001Just before 6 AM, the female was seen in the nest box preening, wind stretching, and watching over the little ones.  She departed and returned moments later, again with food in her talons. The hungry chicks were happy to receive a morning meal.  The egg has been moved back into the huddle!  After the feeding session, the female moved to the perch outside the box for a while, and then hopped back inside the nest box.  She settled back in for a bit, spent more time on perch and then returned to hover over her brood!

2018.0523.1-001By day 10, the chicks have already grown visibly, but remain covered in white down with pink patches of skin still showing through in some areas. Around this time, the young peregrines grow a second coat of down. From this age onwards, nestlings become more active and strong though the nature of their movements does not change markedly for another week or so. They are brooded less and less during the day and become more vigorous in their movements about the nest box, including backing up to squirt their feces outside the nest box. Vision develops strongly and the young, when hungry, scream and clamber towards an arrived parent. Most of the day is spent sleeping, up to about 16 days, but the comfort movements, become more developed, and include foot nibbling and hitching of the wings into adult position.

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 9

May 22, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Fair skies, calm wind, 54F with sunrise time at 5:16 AM. The forecast for today calls for showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 72. Calm wind becoming south around 6 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

2018.0522.1The female started the day off hovering and brooding over the chicks, including the remaining addled egg.  Towards 7 AM, she walked over to the far edge of the nest box and spent time gazing out to the west.  She will begin to do this more and more, getting the chicks use to her taking breaks, and then later breaks away from the nest box, but always nearby.  In the early afternoon, had a nice look and noticed the addled egg has been moved a bit away from the huddled chicks.  It may remain there for now, and be pushed off a bit further in next few days.  The female resumed her position at the far edge of the nest box and spent time preening herself, before feeding the chicks.

 

 

2018.0522.2In the early days, brooding and feeding are by the female alone, but the male later takes a share, though a lesser one, in feeding. Both parents are inclined to encourage the chicks to eat more than they appear to want: at 8-9 days, repeated gaping disappears, for the nestling watches the feeding actions of its parent and reaches up to take the food as it is presented. Treble whining increases in volume and is uttered between mouthfuls, but ceases when satiation is reached.

 

 

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: wing & leg stretching

May 21, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Monday morning starts off under clear skies, bright sun, calm wind, and 52F.  A beautiful day ahead with forecast that calls for sunny skies, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.

2018.0521.1-001Just before 6 AM, the female was seen brooding the 3 chicks and still keeping the addled egg close by.  A number of the chicks were seen peeping out from under Mom’s protective cover.  She rose up and walked to the edge of the nest box, rested for a time looking westward, and then departed in flight.  She is starting to spend more time at edge of nest box and not brooding the chicks. As usual she returned moments later with prey in talons.  Again, the prey had already been caught and was fully prepared for feeding the little ones.  They continue to grow in size and appetite.

2018.0521.2-001Day 8: The prey is often plucked and usually headless when received by the female, the head presumably being eaten by the male, and sometimes the neck as well.  If more work is required in plucking and preparing the carcass, the female usually flies with it to an adjoining perch before starting this.  The female at the nest box pins the prey firmly with its powerful feet and soon rips it up, giving the young tiny pieces when they are small, but larger portions as they develop.

Falcon researcher, R. Wayne Nelson, noted in his peregrine falcon research, that preening, scratching, wing/leg stretching and wing fanning movements by the young began at about 8 days, and also the first signs of actions which become marked later, such as ruffling out of feathers and shaking of the body. Locomotion is still extremely limited at this age and confined to an ineffective shuffling motion of the tarsi. Sight is good enough to allow accurate pecking at any nearby objects. While young peregrines have a marked instinct to eject excrement out of the nest box, their power of defecation is slight at first but increases steadily.

Literature cited:

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

Lawrence Peregrines: One week and growing!

May 20, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The peregrines started Sunday morning under overcast skies, winds from SW at 10MPH and temp at 67F. The forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms before 2pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 2pm and 3pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. High near 78. Southwest wind around 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

2018.0520.1-001At one week of age, the chicks have already grown considerably relative to the size of the eggs they emerged from.  They are covered with fine white down, and in some places the pink skin still shows through (e.g. the crop, full of food in this photo).  On the day of hatching, and for several days after, peregrine chicks respond to creaking calls of an adult by raising their heads, opening and closing their beaks and giving faint “treble whine” begging calls in reply. Alarm calling from the adults usually puts a damper on the nestlings. The eyes of a newly hatched chick are closed and until about 4 days of age they remain either half open, or bleary and unseeing.

2018.0520.2-001Between 4 and 8 days of age a nestling begins to distinguish and react by sight to an adult in the nest box. Very young chicks spend most of their time dozing and sleeping, and huddle closely together in a white, fuzzball, single bunch. An uncovered nestling will vocalize with an call intermediate between a “treble whine” and “chitter.” Young chicks will often look out from beneath the brooding adult. DR

Lawrence Peregrines: 3 hatchlings feeding!

May 17, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The morning started off with fair skies, calm wind, and temp at 55F.  The day ahead calls for patchy fog between 7am and 8am. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 79. Light and variable wind.

2018.0517.1-001The female was seen brooding the 3 chicks just after 6 AM this morning.  At 6:12 AM, she lifted up and walked over to the left edge of the nest box, and then hopped out onto the perch pole, for a quick bathroom break.  She hopped back into the nest box and settled back in over the chicks.  Just minutes later, she departed the nest box in flight and then returned with fresh prey…breakfast for the little ones.  The female feeds each of them with a gentle tenderness.  The fourth egg has not yet hatched, and, now, the time is growing late.

2018.0517.2-001From a growth and development perspective, the chicks are already starting to grow!   On Sunday, the adults began feeding the chicks shortly after they hatched.  At this age their eyes remain closed, but the chicks already have the instinct to crane their necks upward for food.  Over these very early days, the chicks eat and rest in a clump of whiteness.  They huddle close to one another while at rest.  They trip over each other while eating, and may even fall over if they lose their balance…..so very cute!

Lawrence Peregrines: feeding time!

May 16, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The three chicks started off the morning under fair skies, calm winds, and temp at 56F.  The forecast for the day ahead calls for partly sunny, with a high near 61. East wind 3 to 8 mph.  Had nice looks at morning feeding session just after 5:30 AM, and the three chicks were very hungry and eager to gobble up the offered prey from the female.  The fourth and final egg remains unhatched.  Hopefully it will hatch some later today!

2018.0516-001Most brooding of the small young is performed by the female, though the male occasionally takes short turns.  No attempt is made to share brooding simultaneously.  Apart from weaker motivation for brooding, a male still has greater difficulty in covering a full brood of chicks than a clutch of eggs. Although the actions of the brooding falcon are essentially similar to those of an incubating bird, there are slight and gradual adjustments appropriate to the change of covering delicate but growing nestlings.  Leaning forward and stepping around gradually cease, but shuffling movements become important, evidently to place the feet below the chicks.  Rocking stops on hatching, and other settling motions are replaced by gentle lowering of the body onto the nestlings.

Literature cited:

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

Lawrence Peregrines: third hatch?

May 15, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Just before 6 AM, the peregrines started the day with fair skies, wind from the south at 3MPH, and temp at 61F.  The forecast for the day ahead calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 5pm. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. High near 83. Light southwest wind increasing to 6 to 11 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

A line of storms will move through between 3pm-9pm, and will likely affect the evening commute. Some of these storms could be strong/severe.  This is the forecast from the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, indicating the most likely areas to see severe weather tomorrow.  With any strong/severe storm cells, the greatest threats will be strong/damaging wind gusts as well as heavy rain.  As with any thunderstorm, severe or not, lightning is a danger.

2018.0515.1-001The female was seen incubating and brooding first thing this morning.  She didn’t move for the longest time during my morning watch….no way of knowing if third egg hatched?  All eyes are upon the likely remaining two eggs, waiting for them to hatch.  In most years, the eggs tend to hatch close to one another in a fairly well synchronized way, and within 24 – 48 hours of each other.  We have seen the remaining egg shells around the hatchlings.  The adults may move these around a bit with their bills.  They may seem to nibble a bit on the broken pieces, but they don’t have a well developed habit for disposal of the egg shells.  For the most part, the remaining pieces of egg shell will become trampled.  The hatchlings have a delicate white down at birth, with none of the coloration that will come later with true feathers.  They form a feathery white cluster in the first few days and remain in very close contact with one another as though in a rugby scrum!

Lawrence Peregrines: 2 hatchlings!!!!!

May 14, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

This morning started off with overcast skies, wind from the south at 5MPH, and temp at 53F.  The forecast for the day ahead calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 75. Southwest wind 3 to 7 mph.

2018.0514.1-001Looks like the second egg hatched last evening!  At 5:45 AM this morning, the female was observed nestled over the hatchlings and two remaining eggs.  One of the little fluff balls was seen peeking out from underneath the mother’s protective cover.  At 6:07 AM, the female rose up, walked to edge of nest box and departed, showing the two hatchlings and two remaining eggs.  She returned within a minute with fresh prey in her talons.  It was a small dark bird, but unable to make a positive identification.

 

 

2018.0514.2-002She spent a few minute tearing off the feathers, and then at 6:15 AM, she started to feed the little ones.  She rips up very small pieces and carefully feed the chicks.  She took her time and the chicks gobbled up all that was offered.  Just before 6:30 AM, the female grabbed the remains in her bill, and departed the nest to dispose of the carcass.

 

 

Now let’s take a look at an overview of growth and development over the next 40 days.  Here’s a bit of what to expect:

At 5 days after hatch, their mass has doubled. The eyas can sit with relative ease, and the open eyes are more round.

At 6–8 days of age the second down (mesoptile or preplumulae) starts to emerge, first on humeral and alar tracts but no down visible on belly at 6 day, although on the legs and belly at 8 days. Also second down is well out on the wings and looks a bit blueish and sheaths of primaries breaking skin on wings.

By 10 days of age the second down is complete and uniform and outer rectrices are breaking skin. At 10 days, primaries growing at 2–3 mm/d, rectrix sheath not yet split.

At 14 days the second down is dense and long, rectrix sheath about 2 mm and typically ninth primary emerges from sheath.

By day 17 the contour feathers start to push out prepennae and only pale (buffy) tips of rectrices have emerged but growing at about 2 mm/d (since day 13).

By 10 days of age the second down is complete and uniform and outer rectrices are breaking skin. At 10 days, primaries growing at 2–3 mm/d, rectrix sheath not yet split.

At 14 days the second down is dense and long, rectrix sheath about 2 mm and typically ninth primary emerges from sheath.

By day 17 the contour feathers start to push out prepennae and only pale (buffy) tips of rectrices have emerged but growing at about 2 mm/d (since day 13).

At 20 days while still with heavy coat of second down, brown contour feathers are visible on margins of wings, tail, and faintly around the eyes.

By 30 days young appears about half down-covered and half feathered; while side of face well feathered, crown still covered with down.

At 35 days while mostly feathered, large conspicuous patches of down around legs, under wings, and on crown.

At 40 days almost fully feathered with traces of down on crown and under wings and outer several remiges; rectrices not fully grown but bird capable of weak flight.

Literature cited:

Veldhuis, Froona, Eyases growth and development                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://falcoperegrinus-froona.blogspot.com/2008/04/eyases-growth-and-development.html