Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Unhatched Egg Report

The 3 eggs that were recovered from the nest on May 11, 2007, have been determined to be infertile. Since Orville has a history of successful breeding, it is likely due to Scout's young age. It is normal that some or all of the eggs may not be fertile on a first-time nesting attempt if the bird is not fully mature.

Some have wondered why we would take the eggs from the nest vs. letting "nature take its course." As stewards of the peregrine falcon population in Ohio, it is the Ohio Division of Wildlife's responsibility to foster these birds and protect them. Part of protection includes monitoring their reproductive success. It would be irresponsible of us not to evaluate the eggs to determine why they did not hatch. Back in the era of DDT, had wildlife managers not evaluated reproductive success (or lack thereof) of peregrines and other birds of prey the threats that chemical contamination posed to the species survival may not have been discovered. While DDT is less of a concern now, other contaminants may not be. So, as part of our peregrine falcon management program we note when nests succeed as well as when they do not and try to determine the cause of failure. This information is evaluated and used to track the species' progress over time.

On another note: along with Scout, Orville has been seen more frequently over the past few days. One or both birds seem to be checking out the nest box several times a day.