Lawrence Peregrines: Day 20!

May 24, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started the day off under mostly sunny skies, wind from the west at 10MPH, and gusts up over 20MPH, and the temp at 63F.  The day ahead calls for partly sunny skies, with a high near 68. Breezy, with a west wind 14 to 21 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph, so this means right into the nest box which continues to be lined with lots of feathers.Tonight calls for mostly cloudy skies, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 48. Northeast wind 5 to 8 mph becoming calm in the evening.

2019.0524.2Here are the chicks being fed again while in the back left corner. At 19 days of age, the chicks are roughly half the size of their parents, but their feet are already nearly full-grown, and thus appear disproportionately large.  Also at this age, a small patch bare of down begins to appear behind the eyes. Around day 20, some yellow/beige becomes visible in the patch behind the eye, and a distinct dark edge to the wings becomes visible as the flight feathers continue to grow in length beneath the layer of down.  The dark eye patch is becoming larger.

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 18

May 22, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

This morning the Peregrines started the day under clear skies, wind from the NW at 12MPH, and temp at 51F. The forecast calls for a sunny day, with a high near 70. Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph. Tonight, mostly clear, with a low around 50. Calm wind.  So far, the daily average temperature for the month is below average, and we’re slightly above average for precipitation. It’s also feeling more like summer, with the sun rising earlier and setting later!

Over the past few days, the chicks have shifted to the north end of the nest box, up and under the web cam.  At times, it looks like no one is at home, and yet they are there.  Last year, a number of frantic emails came in with alarm and concern that somehow the chicks were gone…..not!  Recently, the same thing, just out of sight, but with the female, with her tail just visible, out near the end of the perch pole, keeping a close eye on her little ones.  The unhatched egg remains intact through it all, and the nest box continues to be littered with feather debris from left over meals.

 

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 17

May 21, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started today off under clear skies, wind from the west at 14MPH, gusting to 22MPH, and temp at 57F just before 6AM.  The day ahead looks like mostly sunny, with a high near 66. Breezy, with a west wind 11 to 16 mph increasing to 18 to 23 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 34 mph! Tonight’s forecast calls for mostly clear, with a low around 46. Northwest wind 8 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph…a very breezy day ahead.

2019.0521.3By day 17, the chicks have already grown considerably relative to the size of their parents, but still have a long way to go until they match their stature and reach full size.  In terms of feeding, the frequency of feeding visits by the parents depends on the size of the brood, but researchers have found that four meals per day was the norm during the nestling period.  Others have observed anywhere from 4-8 feeding visits per day, with some observing as many as 6-11 feeding visits per day.  Most observers agree that feeding begins very early in the morning, often before it is light enough for humans to see!

 

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 16

May 20, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started off this morning under overcast skies and light rain, wind from the S at 9MPH, and temp at 66F just before 6MA. The forecast calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 5pm. Some of the storms could produce small hail, gusty winds, and heavy rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 87!! Southwest wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Tonight, a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 9pm. Some of the storms could also produce small hail, gusty winds, and heavy rain. Cloudy during the early evening, then gradual clearing, with a low around 53. West wind 8 to 14 mph. Quite a day ahead!

2019.0521.2Just before 6AM, all was quiet in the nest box. The chicks were huddled in the back left corner, a growing group of loose feathers are collecting in the middle of the nest box around the addled egg, and the female is perched on the pole keeping watch. She bolted in flight and returned minutes later with fresh prey. The little ones were eager for a meal and nibbled at every morsel offered by Mama Bear! Then, all three retreated to the back left corner in a tight huddle.

Around day 16, dark spots can be seen along the edges of the wings, indicating the growth of the flight feathers underneath the covering of down.  The down on the head also begins to take on a “rougher” texture around this time.  As mentioned in a prior post, most of the day is spent sleeping, up to about 16 days, but movements around the nest box become more developed, and they start to become more active during the day.  

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 15

May 19, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower

Post and webcam photos submitted by Craig Gibson: please send any comments/questions to cbgibson AT comcast.net

The Peregrines started this morning off  under partly cloudy skies, wind fromt he SW at 6MPH, and temp at 54F.  The forecast calls for a chance of showers, mainly before 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 75. Southwest wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.  Tonight, a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3am. Patchy fog after 5am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. Southwest wind 8 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. 

2019.0519.2Now we are around day 15, and the chicks are beginning to enter the “hunchback” phase, during which they are often seen in the hunchback pose, with their feet splayed out in front of them and their head angled forward.  Today, we continue to observe the chicks in the ongoing lazy mode of lounging and sleeping in the very front of the nest box, out of sight below the webcam, with the attentive female always nearby.  Around 7AM, the female returned to the nest with prey in talons.  Once she settled inside, another morning feeding frenzy got started!

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 14

May 18, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started today under clear skies, bright sun, wind from the west at 7MPH and temp at 51F.  The forecast finally calls for a sunny day, with a high near 71. Northwest wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Tonight it will be partly cloudy, with a low around 50 and a light southeast wind.

2019.0518.2The daily pattern is now shifting with the female no longer brooding the chicks in close contact. She is very attentive, and remains close by, either in and around the nest box, or on the nearby perch pole. She is always alert, and may preen and stretch quite a bit.  The chicks like the far corners, and continue to stay close to one another, but in a bit of a looser huddle.  The addled egg remains in the nest box for now. More and more remnant feathers can be seen, but given the number of feedings, the nest box remains fairly clean overall!

 

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 13

May 17, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines

This morning the Peregrines started of the day looking forward to showers likely, mainly between 7am and 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 67. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Tonight, scattered showers, mainly before 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 50. Northwest wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

2019.0517.2In the morning we are starting to see the female spending more time wandering around inside the nest box, in the corner looking out, on the perch, or off for a spin nearby.  This is all normal behavior as the chicks grow in size.  She still broods them and watched over them, but the constant brooding now begins to lessen a bit.

As they approach two weeks of age, the chicks are beginning to sit upright more often, but still lean on each other, or against the nest box much of the time.  The very beginnings of wing feather development are also seen around this time. In a further look at feeding behavior, the female mostly avoids giving bones, intestines, or too many large feathers to small young.  She will usually pick up any dropped fragments of flesh.  The arrival, or return, of an adult, with food, is the signal for hungry nestlings to crowd forward and attempt to steal any prey morsels possible!

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

Lawrence Peregrines: adult food transfer

May 16, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower

_W7I0004-001Made a stop by the Clock Tower around 5:15PM this afternoon under overcast skies, wind from SE at 6MPH, and temp at 64F.  Upon arrival, the female was seen out of the nest box and making a number of circles around the Clock Tower.  She finally settled on an upper edge on the NW corner.  As I scanned all over to see if the male was around, airborne feathers started to float by above the west clock face.  Well that usually means one thing!  The male was ripping apart fresh caught prey and preparing the next meal.  Once the prep work was finished, he launched into flight, initially swooping downwards, and then around the corner and to the NW.

_W7I0043-001A few minutes later, while going out of sight, the female swooped in and then made a very nice food transfer. The male continues to do the bulk of the hunting.  To feed the chicks, the male will capture prey and prepare it nearby.  The male then readies himself for flight and food transfer.  the female will receive the fresh pray and return promptly to the nest box to feed the nestlings.  Great teamwork!

 

 

_W7I0047-001After the female captured the prey with her talon, she returned to the nest box.  She arrived and landed on the left side of the window box ledge.  In sorting through the photos, it was fascinating to see that as she arrived, the prey was in her left talon, and then in a flash, she moved it to her bill while landing on the outer edge of the box!

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 12

May 16, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines

The peregrines started this morning off under mostly sunny skies, little wind, and temp at 44F. The forecast calls for isolated showers after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 67. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. Tonight, patchy fog after 3am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 48. Light and variable wind.

2019.0516.1This 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.  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!

As 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.

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

Lawrence Peregrines: feeding time for 3 chicks!

May 9, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

LP.2019.0509.1The morning started off under clear skies, calm wind conditions, and cool at 37F just after 6AM. The female lifted up and off the 3 chicks just before 6:15AM for brief flight and returned with breakfast for the three chicks.  The fourth egg remains unhatched.  This has happened in years gone by.

Peregrine Falcon chicks are helpless. One parent (often the female but sometimes the male) stays with the chicks while the other finds food for the brood. Eyases eat an incredible amount of food – but then, they double their weight in only six days and at three weeks will be ten times birth size.

LP.2019.0509.2Newly hatched chicks are wet and covered with white down. But by three weeks of age, brownish juvenile feathers can be seen poking through the white fuzz. By five or six weeks of age, the white fuzz has been completely replaced by brown feathers. The eyases can be observed jumping around and testing their wings, getting ready to fly.