Day 37: ready for flight!

June 19, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Today’s sunrise time was at 5:06 AM.  The peregrines started the day under mostly cloudy skies, winds from NW at 9MPH with gusts up to 22MPH and the temp at 76F.  The forecast for the day ahead calls for mostly cloudy skies through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 82. Northwest wind 9 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

2018.0619.1-001Just before 6AM this morning, the chicks were perched on the outer edge of the nest box overlooking the parking lot below.  At 6:15AM the female arrived with food and the largest chick grabbed it and went to the far back left corner.  A bit later, there was a tug of war over the food.  Aside from food battles and feedings, they now spend their time wing flapping, and running around the nest box.  While resting they will now perch at the outer edge of nest box.  The last bits of down have still seen on their backs, but not much left. At day 37, aside from perhaps a tuft of down feathers also remaining on the crown, peregrine chicks are fully developed and ready to take flight.  Their next major change in appearance will be around one year of age, when they begin to molt and acquire their adult plumage as their feathers are replaced.

2018.0619.2-001By now, the chicks are much more active and very restless, and they take advantage of whatever  space the nest box has to offer.  They will hold on for dear life as they flap wildly on the outer edge of the nest box.  They will face outward as well as straddle the edge of the box.  They are also estimating the distance to the nearby rooftop off to the right.  This rooftop offers them a proximate landing pad after initial launch!

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;