Lawrence Peregrines: Day 37

June 10, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The hungry Peregrines started to today off under fair skies, wind from SW at 7MPH, and temp at 56F.  The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 79. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the morning. Tonight, showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 3am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Patchy fog after 2am. Low around 62. Southeast wind 7 to 9 mph. 

2019.0610.1-001Just before 6AM this morning, the chicks were perched on the outer edge of the nest box overlooking the parking lot below.  At 5:58AM 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.

By 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; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 35/36

June 8, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started off the day under fair skies, calm winds, and temp at 55F. The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 79. Northeast wind 3 to 7 mph. Tonight, clear, with a low around 52. Light southeast wind.

2019.0609.2Looking 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, along with all the feather remnants and other debris!

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 Peregines: Day 34

June 7, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines began the day under fair skies, calm wind, and temp at 55F. The day ahead calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 78. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon. Tonight, mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 56. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

2019.0607.2Approaching five weeks of age, the chicks are within a few days of being able to take flight for the first time, and the remaining down feathers are usually largely restricted to the lower back, lower legs, and crown. Later in the afternoon, the chicks were just hanging out, walking around, and looking out, with some intermittent wing flapping.  It is consistently the rule for male Peregrines, in common with most other raptors, to do the bulk of the hunting while the young are in the nest, as well as during the egg stage.  The contribution to the hunting by the female varies quite a bit, but is usually small, and she spends most of her time near the nest, ready to protect her little ones against predators. At about 3 weeks old the female may do more hunting, and the male amy bring food items directly to the chicks.

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 33 – Pantaloons!

June 6, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started the day off under overcast skies, fog and mist, wind conditions calm, and temp at 59F. The day ahead calls for showers and thunderstorms likely before 11am, then a slight chance of showers after 3pm. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 75. Calm wind becoming north 5 to 7 mph in the morning.  Tonight, mostly clear, with a low around 55. Light and variable wind.

2019.0606.1Day 33 – ‘the age of the white pantaloons’.  This may happen a day or two earlier or later, but most chicks do go through this phase where they have large fluffs of down conspicuously surrounding their legs, much more prominently than anywhere else on their bodies. It is consistently the rule for male Peregrines, in common with most other raptors, to do the bulk of the hunting while the young are in the nest, as well as during the egg stage.  The contribution to the hunting by the female varies quite a bit, but is usually small, and she spends most of her time near the nest, ready to protect her little ones against predators. At about 3 weeks old the female may do more hunting, and the male amy bring food items directly to the chicks.

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 32

June 5, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The peregrines started off the morning with a few clouds, wind from the S at 9MPH, and temp at 59F. The day ahead calls for mostly cloudy skies with isolated showers this morning, then scattered showers and thunderstorms this afternoon. Highs in the mid 70s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. Tonight, cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening, then thunderstorms and showers likely after midnight. Areas of fog after midnight. Some thunderstorms may produce gusty winds and heavy rainfall. Lows in the lower 60s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph. 

_W7I4428-002The webcam was down for most of the day.  Had nice looks at the female and chicks from outside late afternoon.  At one point, the female became more alert to a nearby distraction, began vocalizing, and then launched into flight. Overall by day 32, the patches of remaining down feathers are becoming restricted to the base of the legs, parts of the wings, and perhaps parts of the back, as well as the crown.  They are also becoming increasingly vocal and active around the nest area, to the extent that the adults rarely visit except to drop off food for them. The oldest of the three, has the darkest back and fewest remaining bits of down on its back and elsewhere.  Over the next few days, the wing flapping, and jumping around the box will increase substantially!

 

The calling for food, by the chicks, increases in strength as the young grow, and this call, develops into a wail similar to the parent’s call; and this call can be heard from quite a distance, perhaps even a mile away. Parental creaking noises on arrival with food, increases as the young mature. In the second half of the overall 40 day nestling period, a youngster consumes quite large amounts of food and its intake eventually exceeds that of an adult of the same sex!

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

Peregrine Falcons: Day 31

June 4, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started off the day under fair skies, wind from the Sw at 6MPh, and  temp at 47F.  The day ahead calls for increasing clouds, with a high near 68. West wind 5 to 11 mph. Tonight, a chance of showers, mainly after 10pm. Cloudy, with a low around 54. West wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm in the evening. 

2019.0604.2By day 31, the chicks often become actively interested in losing their down, preening themselves and sometimes ending up with feathers stuck to their beak as a result.  From the back they are looking increasingly dark, with the wing feathers approaching full length. In this photo, the chick in the back left corner was wing flapping, the others have been preening.  The darker feathers are coming in all over, and the down is decreasing rapidly!

Around this time, a nestling can rip up a prey item quite well, and at 39 days it soon demolishes even intact prey items. At this stage, prey is usually left intact for the young to deal with, though the parent may still break food up into smaller pieces.  There is, however, a considerable overlap between parental and self-feeding, and adults will present young with pieces of torn-up prey until they fledge, especially if nestlings solicit.

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 30!

June 3, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

This morning the Peregrines started the day under fair skies, wind from the west at 6 MPH, and the temp at 55F.  The forecast calls for sunny skies, with a high near 68. West wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 12 to 17 mph in the afternoon. Tonight, mostly cloudy during the early evening, then becoming clear, with a low around 47. West wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

2019.0603.1It’s often around day 30 that the chicks seem to turn into “real” peregrines almost overnight, very rapidly losing much of the down on their breast, thus revealing the heavily streaked breast feathers they will be carrying for the next year. In this photo, the larger female chick had just been flapping and the darker feather colors, on the wings, back, and tail are very visible! Feather ruffling with body and head shaking is now marked and increasing time is spent in exercise, notably walking on the feet and wing-flapping.  The young are now better able to eject their droppings out of the nest box. They present their backs to the edge of the nest box, but are careful not to fall out, and have a fairly well developed sense of the gravitational hazard…..but sometimes, it is…….look out below!

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 29

June 2, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started the day off under continuing overcast skies, light winds, and temp at 49F.  The forecast calls for a chance of showers before 11am, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5pm. Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 71. South wind 3 to 7 mph. Tonight, a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Areas of fog between 2am and 3am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. South wind 5 to 8 mph becoming west after midnight. 

The chicks have been lazy most of this morning and have huddled in the far left corner.  They take turns getting up, walking around a bit, preening, and then slumping back into the huddle. By day 29, the chicks often have their faces largely free of down, giving them a white-capped appearance.  On their backs, the remaining down often appears to be clumped together in certain areas, with extensive areas instead revealing the dark juvenile feathers, as you see in this photos. The wing and tail feathers are developing strongly and body feathers begin to appear in lines and patches along the back and breast.  Preening becomes a major activity.

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 28

June 1, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started off today under fair skies, wind from the NE at 3MPH, and temp at 55F. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 77. Calm wind becoming southeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. For tonight, a slight chance of showers between 1am and 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight. 

2019.0601.2The chicks were seen moving around the nest box this morning, at times restless and flapping their wings in an awkward way, and then going back into huddle mode for period of time. Just after 6:15PM, the female arrived with a freshly caught Blue Jay for dinner.  As they approach four weeks of age, the chicks are rapidly growing their juvenile feathers both below and above, and are looking visibly darker with each passing day. The chicks are nearing the midpoint of their transition from down-covered chick to juvenile-plumaged fledgling, and are nearly full-grown in terms of body size and weight.

Around this time in the growth cycle, the chicks may sometimes join their parents in alarm calling instead of falling silent. They are able to follow the flight patterns of their parents outside the nest box.  They will also become more vocal in calling for food.  As we see in this photo, they begin to grab or steal the incoming food offerings, and sometimes head away from the other chicks.  Sleeping and dozing still occupy a large part of the day, but close huddling begins to diminish.

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 27

May 31, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines are starting off the day under overcast skies, light SW wind, and temp at 58F.  The forecast calls for patchy fog before 7am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 75. Northwest wind 3 to 8 mph. Tonight, partly cloudy, with a low around 52. Southeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

2019.0531.1Over the past many days the facial pattern behind the eyes is becoming increasingly evident, and some coloration is becoming visible on the upper breast as juvenile feathers develop beneath the down.   The legs are now just about fully developed, and that made banding possible earlier in the week. A number of other chicks in the extended Boston area either have been banded, or are scheduled to be banded.

 

 

After the chicks can stand, the begging posture becomes more horizontal, though they feed in a normal standing position, and direct themselves at the parent’s beak. At about this age, they will start to regurgitate castings composed of indigestible remains, and wiping of the sides of the beak back and forth against the nest box edges.  Also, signs of self-feeding became more pronounced with nestlings starting to grab at food instead of just begging for it!

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