Day 35: wing muscles stronger!

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

Happy Father’s Day!  The peregrines started the day with clear skies, bright sun, calm wind conditions, and temp at 67F. Sunrise at 5:06 AM.  Day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 87. Calm wind becoming southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.

2018.0617.2-001The chicks are ramping up the wing flapping big time.  At this point in the cycle, they are very active in movements around the nest box, and the biggest priority is working the wing muscles.  While watching them, you are able to get a sense of anticipation, as they ready for first flight.  They were working themselves into a frenzy just before 9AM.  The action was so intense, they whipped bits of down and feather debris into the air around them inside the nest box, as seen in photo on left.

 

2018.0617.1-001On rare occasions male peregrines may take flight as young as 35 days, which is possible, as they are fully developed at this age.  Usually they wait a few more days though, until their wing muscles are stronger through exercise in the nest area, and generally by the time they do take flight they have lost the last tufts of down.  The female continues to provide regular feedings, and you can sense their readiness for the next feeding when then stand and call for food!

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

Day 20: flight feathers grow!

June 2, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

This morning starts off with fair skies, calm wind conditions, and the temp already at 73F.  The forecast calls for a chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 1pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 83. Light and variable wind becoming north 5 to 9 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

2018.0602.1-001Around 5:45 AM, the female checked into the nest box, walked around a bit, and the chicks thought food might be part of her visit.  After a few moments, the female departed and the chicks went back into loafing mode.  The nest box is littered with more feather debris than before, while the unhatched egg survives through all of the activity! At 6:08 AM, the female returns to the nest box with prey in her talons.

 

2018.0602.2-001They prey has been prepared outside the box and another feeding session is at hand.  At first, only the chick in the lower left hand corner engages in feeding while the other two watch from the upper left corner.  Then the second chick joins in and both are fed, and finally the third chick joins in too!  At 6:19 AM, the female grabs the remaining uneaten prey and departs.

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 14

May 27, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

This morning started out under heavy overcast skies with fog and mist; winds from the northeast at 12MPH, and the temp at 56F.  The forecast calls for a chance of rain. Cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 52 by 4pm. Northeast wind around 9 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

2018.0527.2-001The 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 back left corner, 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.  A few lingering feathers can be seen, but given the number of feedings, the nest box remains fairly clean!  At 11:20 AM, the female can be seen calling and squawking for food.  Minutes later, the male provides and she enters into the nest box with pray in her bill, ready to feed to the hungry 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 13!

May 26, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The peregrines started off the morning under fair skies, winds from the SW at 5MPH and the temp at 68F.  The day ahead calls for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 86. Northwest wind 6 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.  Tonight, a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Patchy fog between 10pm and 2am.

2018.0526With the high heat, at least the chicks spend most of the day well protected from direct sun, until later in the afternoon.  Today, they are mostly snooze hounds, splayed out in the back left corner of the nest box, but, with the vigilant female always nearby. The male arrived to the nest box late morning .  He stayed for a short visit, as if looking for the female, and then left.

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: One week and growing!

May 20, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The peregrines started Sunday morning under overcast skies, winds from SW at 10MPH and temp at 67F. The forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms before 2pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 2pm and 3pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. High near 78. Southwest wind around 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

2018.0520.1-001At one week of age, the chicks have already grown considerably relative to the size of the eggs they emerged from.  They are covered with fine white down, and in some places the pink skin still shows through (e.g. the crop, full of food in this photo).  On the day of hatching, and for several days after, peregrine chicks respond to creaking calls of an adult by raising their heads, opening and closing their beaks and giving faint “treble whine” begging calls in reply. Alarm calling from the adults usually puts a damper on the nestlings. The eyes of a newly hatched chick are closed and until about 4 days of age they remain either half open, or bleary and unseeing.

2018.0520.2-001Between 4 and 8 days of age a nestling begins to distinguish and react by sight to an adult in the nest box. Very young chicks spend most of their time dozing and sleeping, and huddle closely together in a white, fuzzball, single bunch. An uncovered nestling will vocalize with an call intermediate between a “treble whine” and “chitter.” Young chicks will often look out from beneath the brooding adult. DR

Peregrine Falcons: East Cambridge pair

June 14, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I0151-001Here is a look at the female on watch at the nest box with the male nearby.  From a distance, only one chick has been visible and is close to fledge time!

Lawrence Peregrines: ready to fledge

June 12, 2017 in In the Nest Box

_W7I9852-001During a late afternoon visit to observe the nest box action, had a wonderful opportunity to see the chicks moving around the outer ledge of the nest box.  As happens at this stage of growth, there was lots of wing flapping and movement by the chicks.

Of particular note was watching the female go out on the perch a number of times and show the chicks how to do so.  she demonstrated how to balance and not fall off.  Then she took off into flight in to the west.  As she lifted off, her talons remained out, not tucked under in normal streamline fashion.

_W7I9895-001She was making a very short flight to a nearby rooftop to show the nestlings how to prepare for first flight!  she remained on the roof for a few minutes and then took off in a flash.

Peregrine Falcons: Boston University

June 7, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I9206-001At least 2 chicks were seen playing around and wing flapping atop one of the high rise towers at Boston University.  The 2 chicks were seen near the nest box with both adults perched nearby and keeping a close eye on the chicks!

Big takeout lunch!

May 29, 2017 in In the Nest Box

2017.0529-001Around noon today, observed the female deliver a big takeout lunch to the ravenous chicks!

The feeding frenzy continues!

May 28, 2017 in In the Nest Box

2017.0528-001Around day 16, dark spots can be seen along the edges of the wings, indicating the growth of flight feathers underneath the covering of down.  The down on the head also begins to take on a rougher texture around the stage of growth!