Day 36: more wing flapping!

June 18, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Sunrise this morning was at 5:06AM. The peregrines started of this morning under fair skies, winds from the south at 7MPH, and temp at 70F.  The forecast for the day ahead calls for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Increasing clouds and hot, with a high near 98!! Heat index values as high as 101. Southwest wind 6 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

2018.0618-001And then there were two?  After the first watch this morning, it looked like only two chicks in the nest box!! The third one was hiding underneath the web cam. Looking back, at 28 days, or 4 weeks old, the young falcons really began to show their juvenile plumage, and became much more active around the nest box. They started much more active wing flapping, which helps to shed the down.  At 35 days, or 5 weeks, they became well feathered and most of the down has been lost, though some adheres patchily to the young birds. The quill feathers are quite strongly developed, though the wings and tail are still short and rounded.

At day 36, the chicks look almost like full-fledged juveniles.  They are spending much of their day flapping their wings, which both strengthens their flight muscles and shakes loose some of the few remaining down feathers.  In the midst of wing flapping frenzy, those remaining bits of down go airborne!


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;