Lawrence Peregrines: mock combat!

July 13, 2016 in Near the Clock Tower

Stopped by the Clock Tower in Lawrence last night just after 5:30 pm. Terrific late day light with clear skies,
winds blowing around 15 MPH with gusts over 20 MPH, and temperature about 90 degrees.

Observed one of the peregrine fledglings in aerial flight with large loops and infrequent diving stoops. Quite
an exciting show from the young fledgling. To my surprise, another fledgling joined the fun and the real show
got underway!

For over 20 minutes, they proceeded to engage in an amazing demonstration of playful mock combat. Here is
an explanation of mock combat from Cornell’s Birds of North America:

Play occurs mainly in young. Immatures will pursue adults, siblings, prey, and attack inanimate objects.
Playful pursuit of siblings begins 2–3 d after first flight, mock combat between siblings begins 4–5 d after.

Mock combat progresses from flying parallel and occasionally rolling to extend feet toward siblings, to making
short darting dives and grappling in the air, to using air currents to make vertical stoops. Latter develops within 3 wk of flying. Play in falcons may be an expression of joie de vivre or it may simply represent the maturation of neuro-muscular coordination and central control mechanisms involved in agonistic behavior and pursuit and
capture of prey.

For those with an interest, 11 mock combat flight photos posted:
Click “next” in upper right to advance frames