Volunteer nest monitor, Mr. Wright, tells us: "The chicks will spend a great deal of time sleeping and huddled together for warmth. What to look for..... You want to see each kid with two wings, two legs, two eyes and a beak, you also want to see the "begging response", any time a parent is near...... The parents will cover (mantle) the young for 4-7 days. The young are not able to control body temperature (self-regulate) for about a week, if it stays chilly”.
The day before the third egg hatched, nest monitors Mr. and Mrs. Saladin took this picture of SW feeding the first two.
Now that there are 3 little ones plus one remaining egg, SW and Boomer have to do some arranging to get all underneath.
You may have noticed that most of the eggshells have disappeared. This is because SW has eaten them. They are rich in calcium, which is an important nutrient that SW needs. Here she is nibbling…….
In the next picture, Boomer is arriving at the nest with some food. During a typical food exchange, Boomer will leave food on the ledge, SW will come out of the nestbox to retrieve the food, then quickly return and feed the eyasses.
Mr. Harvey Webster, Director of Wildlife Resources at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History tells us: “Peregrine Falcons have semi-altricial young meaning that though the young are comparatively helpless in their early nestling stage they still have to be active participants in the feeding process. Precocial birds like waterfowl are able to follow their mother from day one, are very well developed and feed themselves. Altricial birds are totally helpless at hatch. All they can do is simply thrust their beaks up whenever they sense the presence of a parent. Then the parent stuffs or regurgitates the food down the gaping nestling's mouth. With raptors, the adult will hold its prey in its talons, tear off a piece of meat with its beak and dangle it over the nestling. The chick must reach up and grab the morsel from the parent.”
The eyasses will grow and change very fast for the next 6 weeks. In fact, they will grow to the size of an adult! Check out a picture guide and information about eyass growth at The Canadian Peregrine Foundation: http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html
Mr. Wright reports that Boomer is nervous to see a human behind the skyscraper window watching the family, so the nest monitors have to be very careful not to upset him. Boomer is doing a great job his first time being a dad, but it’s hard work! Mr. and Mrs. Saladin took the following picture of him and report, “he remained snoozing motionless with his head buried in his back feathers for over 20 minutes.”
Question for kids: Can you think of 2 reasons that peregrine falcons often prefer city life to life in the wild? Hint: There are 2 different reasons that have to do with other birds.
Will the last egg hatch? Several years, one or more of SW’s eggs did not hatch. Keep watch at: http://www.falconcam-cmnh.org/news.php
For more about falcons, go to: http://raptorsinthecity.org/
Our thanks to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for sponsoring the FalconCams and for the still.
Photos are courtesy of Scott Wright, volunteer peregrine nest monitor except for the 2 photos of feeding and the sleeping Boomer, which are courtesy of volunteer nest monitors Mr. and Mrs. Saladin. They may be used in any non-commercial publication, electronic or print, but please give photo credit.