SW and Boomer proudly announce the hatching of their first 2 eggs in 2011. Falcon fans watched and waited throughout Earth Day, April 22, until the next morning and were very surprised to see TWO chicks had hatched. It may be that SW did not begin incubation until the second egg was laid, which would explain why 2 eggs hatched so close together in time. Welcome to the world, little guys!
Volunteer peregrine nest monitors Mr. and Mrs. Saladin watched the hatching process on Earth Day and sent along pictures. First they saw a “pip” which is a hole in the egg and is made by a special “egg tooth” that the chick has especially for the hatch.
Mr. Harvey Webster, Director of Wildlife Resources at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History tells us: “Pipping is the act of creating a breach in the shell and shell membrane so that the chick can establish respiratory function. After the pip there is a quiet phase where the chick draws blood back into its body from the shell membrane.
Once complete, the chick will then vigorously score the inside of the shell with its egg tooth while simultaneously pushing against the blunt cap of the egg with its neck. After scoring the shell for two thirds of its circumference the chick pushes against the cap and it flexes back enough for the chick to push its way out. It generally takes 24-36 hours between the onset of the pip and actual hatching”. The parents watched and listened throughout ……………….
Boomer took over for SW while she was gone. In the following picture he arches his back and listens during the hatching process. Sara Jean Peters, Ohio Division of Wildlife (retired), tells us: "Note the way feathers are fluffed here...it's a great way to allow heat to escape. Young birds are doing a lot of exercises in a very small room as they break open their shell. It's easy for them to overheat, so the parents are trying to keep them warm....but not too warm."
Boomer left and then returned with food for his family. This is Boomer’s first time being a dad and he is doing a very good job.
A falcon chick – properly called an “eyass” - eats the same food that adult falcons eat, but SW will tear the meat into very small pieces. In this FalconCam still you can see the brand new eyasses begging for food.
It's fun to record the date that each egg hatches and then record the eyass’s growth and progress. When does it have its first meal? When will it take its first step? When will it get its first real feather? When will it fly? You can do this in a falcon journal, a technique that wildlife biologists use as they study the peregrines. To help you record the eyass's progress, you can go to the FalconCam and click on the archives link under each of the 3 current pictures to see all the day's activities.
Will the remaining 2 eggs hatch? Several times, one of SW’s eggs has failed to hatch. Watch closely at: http://www.falconcam-cmnh.org/news.php
Seeing the first tiny falcons hatch just after we celebrated Earth Day this year is amazing, because the species peregrine falcon was nearly extinct in North America by the 1970s. Its comeback is one of the great success stories of wildlife conservation. Let's commit ourselves to the future of all species.
For more about falcons, go to: http://raptorsinthecity.org/
To watch the falcons live go to: http://www.falconcam-cmnh.org/news.phpOur thanks to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for sponsoring the FalconCams and for the FalconCam stills.
Today’s photos are courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Saladin, volunteer peregrine nest monitors. They may be used in any non-commercial publication, electronic or print, but please give photo credit.