Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Egg #3 Arrives!

Egg #3 is in the nest!  Here's a video as egg #3 was being laid this afternoon about 4:30 pm. 👍


3rd Egg Due

We can expect the 3rd egg any time.  Four eggs is an average clutch, although we have had 5 eggs in this nest (that was in 1995 and all 5 hatched and survived to fledge!).

Eggs are laid every 2-3 days and the falcons continue to mate during this time.  Generally, the falcons do not begin to incubate their eggs until the next to the last egg of the clutch (usually #3) is laid, but we have seen both the male and Durand taking turns covering the eggs already.  The eggs don't begin to develop until there is consistent warmth from the incubating adult.

An important role of the male is to bring food for the female.  When she leaves to eat, he will take his turn on the eggs.
It is really difficult to tell the male and Durand apart!  I am working on some comparison photos and will post some tips soon.  In the meantime, the easiest way to tell one from the other is to look for their metal leg bands as they come and go.  The male only has one leg band on his left leg - it is the black over red band with the code 30/Z on it.  Durand has a band on each leg - her right leg has a silver USFWS band and her left leg has an all black band with the code 32/X on it. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

2 Eggs!

As of first light this morning, there are now 2 eggs in the nest!  Here are both of the eggs as the sun is coming up in Columbus:
Yesterday, Durand moved the first egg into the scrape closer to the camera.  So both eggs are now more in view.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Wait is OVER!!!

Woohoo! The first egg was laid in the nest sometime early evening 3/24/17.  Here's a video of the event captured by a fan in the Netherlands (thank you!) -- looks like the egg actually drops at 4:55 into the video. Her movements and behavior in the minutes just before are really intriguing to watch!
Interesting...Durand laid this egg in the far scrape. If I recall correctly, every other year she has laid her eggs closer to the camera. Oh well... everyone is just happy to see the first egg!!!

Eggs are laid every 2-3 days so it will probably be Monday before we see another. Hooray! 👍

Still waiting...

Unfortunately, there isn't much more, new or different to say... Durand is really keeping everyone guessing and waiting.  Wednesday she spent most of the day in the nest box in a hunched over position so we were really thinking she was close to laying an egg.  But then yesterday and this morning, she was back to spending most of the time near the box.
Wednesday's posture

As I write this she is back in the box, working on the far scrape and picking at pebbles.  I'm sure we're close, but golly!  Doesn't she know her fans are waiting?!! 👀

Monday, March 20, 2017

Anticipation...

Still no egg in the nest box but nothing to worry about.  Evidently, Durand and the new male (30/Z) are just taking a little bit of extra time to get in sync.  Everyone is certainly in anticipation mode though!!  On that note, here's a blast from the past regarding anticipation!  :-)

We are leaving the audio turned off because it was determined that it was causing the video streaming to kick off.  We have an idea of the fix but will wait until incubation begins just in case "the fix" causes the streaming to be down for longer than a few moments.  We don't want to lose the video while we are waiting for eggs.  The video isn't as exciting without the audio but at least we can see what is going on.  We appreciate everyone's patience!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cam/Audio Notes, Egg Update

The male bringing prey to the female.

After last year's struggles with reliable streaming during nesting season we have been actively working towards a more dependable system. We made some changes last week to upgrade computers and for the most part, the changes were successful!  However, there is still a gremlin in the system somewhere!!  We now have suspicion that it may have something to do with the sound card/audio mixer. 

For now, we have the audio turned off to help with troubleshooting.  So far it seems to have made a difference as we did not lose either stream overnight as had been happening.  The audio will remain off over the weekend and next week we will pick back up trouble shooting the audio issue as it relates to the streaming.  At least for now it's better to have both streams running without sound then to keep losing a stream - especially when we're all on "egg watch!"

When can we expect an egg? Durand's biological calendar has been pretty consistent over the years.  From 2013-2015 she laid her first egg on March 19 in each of those years.  Last year, she laid her first egg on March 12.  There has been plenty of courtship and mating with the new male, 30/Z, so all seems a go.  I think it safe to say we can expect an egg any day!  There is a lot of anticipation in the air among us here at the Division of Wildlife and with all of the fans watching.  We sincerely hope that the streaming video cooperates!

Until we have an egg to celebrate, here is a video of the pair bonding in the nest box from March 8 to view in the meantime!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Where's Winter?

Wow, the weather this February in Columbus has been more like March weather and beyond!  As I write this, the high temperature in the Capitol City tomorrow is predicted to be in the low 70s! I would suspect more seasonal temperatures will return at some point but in the meantime, many species of wildlife have been benefiting from a mild winter.  I have seen and heard several American woodcock performing their courtship displays, killdeer have migrated back into the area, American robins and many other birds are singing and yes, even our Columbus peregrines have started mating.

While mild weather makes life a little easier on wildlife, it is actually the length of day that triggers reproductive behaviors, not temperatures.  As the days get longer, hormones kick in and dictate the actions of the critters, signaling to the birds it is time to sing, attract mates, and build nests.  Even if the weather was more typically winter-like than it has been, the birds would still be singing, the woodcock would be displaying, and the peregrines would be courting--all based on the length of day at this time of year.  
So far it appears 30/Z will be our resident male, but there is still the possibility that Spark will return, however, as each day goes by that possibility lessens.  Regardless of which male ultimately claims the nesting territory we are just hoping for another successful clutch! 
The falcons were observed mating last week, although we shouldn't expect eggs until into March. Here is a nice video of the male working on the 2 scrapes in the nestbox. Tuesday I observed one of the falcons with a killdeer directly in front of the ledge camera but I wasn't quick enough to grab a screen shot. It looked like the falcon was trying to cache its prey under the camera!  Don't forget to check out the life history information and FAQs on the Ohio Division of Wildlife's website for more facts on peregrine falcons!
As the days get longer we, too, are preparing for peregrine nesting season.  Behind the scenes we are working on computer updates to hopefully see less down-time with the streaming video this season. There is a lot to see this time of year so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy 2017

Now that 2017 is off and running it is time to review 2016 and look forward to the coming season.

Both Durand (32/X), the female, and 30/Z (the male) have been seen with some frequency at the nest ledge.  Here they both are, taking advantage of some solar gain on what was a frigid January 8:
In 2016, 4 eggs were laid in the nest.  All hatched and fledged successfully!  Unfortunately, last season we had some issues with the server that rendered the live streaming video inoperable for much of egg laying, incubation and hatching.  It was also the first year we did not band or name the young.  These factors likely resulted in an overall lower number of viewers.  But interestingly, even though we had fewer viewers overall, the range of geography greatly increased in 2016! 

Columbus FalconCam Blog stats for Jan. 1 - Dec 31, 2016:
119,479 total visits from 29,851 individual users (compared to 39,325 in 2015)
The highest traffic day was April 19, 2016 with 2,721 hits (this was during hatching)
Visits came from 90 countries/territories!!  This compares to 71 the year before!
Ohioans made up 78% of the audience with 93,238 visits!!!
Thanks to all of our fans for a very impressive following!

Looking forward to 2017 we are hopeful to have some upgrades that will give us more reliable streaming with fewer outages.  Eggs are typically laid about the 3rd week in March.  Many will be watching anxiously to see if the previous male (Spark 32/B) returns to claim the territory or if 30/Z will become our new resident male.  In either case, here's hoping for a productive nest again in 2017!