Lawrence Peregrines: female wailing at the male!

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

It’s Marathon Monday in the extended Boston area, and the day is starting with light rain with fog and mist, strong winds blowing from the NE at 18MPH with gusts close to 30MPH, and the temperature at 37F.  For the peregrines, the west facing nest box is shielded from direct winds. 

The forecast calls for rain off and on throughout the day. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Patchy fog. High near 50. Breezy, with an east wind 16 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

2018.0416.3-001During incubation, an observer may spend lots of time watching very little activity.  The peregrines take turns brooding the eggs. Typically, the female incubates about 2/3 of the time, often for four or more hours before the male relieves her. Males brood for shorter periods– typically 2 to 3 hours, and they brood less frequently. While one adult is brooding, the other may be out hunting. Brooding falcons still need to eat, after all. If they’re not hunting, the other falcon usually stays close to the nest.  The photo on the left shows the female sitting on eggs quietly and with great comfort.  She will adjust as she needs to but is not fidgety as the male tends to be!

2018.0416.1Sometimes while the female is brooding the eggs, the male will bring her food that he has hunted. She’ll eat the food, sometimes inside, and other times, outside the nest box while he takes a turn incubating, but then she’ll come back and take over– provided she can get him to move off the eggs. If he doesn’t move right away, she may stand in the nest box and wail at him. Wailing has different meanings for falcons, but in general it indicates dissatisfaction with the current situation.  Here they are together, inside the nest box at around 10:35 AM today, and she is wailing on him big time.

2018.0416.2So if this female wails at her guy while he’s incubating, or in the nest box it’s her way of telling him she’s not happy that he’s still standing around, or sitting on the eggs. As with most other interactions between male and female peregrines, the female usually gets her way, though sometimes it takes a while for him to get the message!  Guess who’s walking away, with his head bowed low, after getting wailed at….the male….note right leg silver leg band.

Literature cited:  Imprints Blog, The Journal of the Rfalconcam, Rochester Falcon Cam.  The Genesee Valley Audubon Society is the local chapter of the National Audubon Society in Rochester, NY. GVAS sponsors the Rochester Falconcam (Rfalconcam) as part of their education and awareness programs.