Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When are we going to get a new male...??!!!

I know some viewers are anxious and getting nervous that we still don't have a new male in Columbus. Some of the questions on people's minds involve what Scout will do if she doesn't find a mate; will she leave and might we get a different pair in Columbus, and so on.

First, let me say that there is still PLENTY of time for a new male to fly into town for our nesting season to proceed on schedule. We are still a month away from egg laying. Given that a male can come into the territory and mate with Scout within a day's time gives us a very wide window. As the days continue to get longer it will increase the number of unmated peregrines on the move so again, the arrival of a new male could literally happen at any moment.

OK then - for all of the doubters out there...what if it doesn't happen? Will Scout leave? Not likely. This is and has been her established territory for many years. The absence of a male would not be a reason for her to up and leave. Would we get an entirely new pair? Also doubtful. Once a pair has a territory, they don't "shop around" for a new area. They stay on territory the same as Scout will stay on her territory. There's always the possibility that a lone female could wander into town with an interest in the territory, however, Scout would defend her area against a female intruder. The only way we'd get a new pair completely is if an umated female usurped the territory from Scout and then a new male came in after that. For those who track peregrine nestings around the world you'll know that scenario is always possible but it really doesn't happen very often.

Regardless of how the Columbus situation plays out, this is an exciting time. The next few weeks will be prime time for the arrival of a new male and everyone is in suspense. Over the years the Columbus FalconCams have given us a peek into the lives of these birds and many have enjoyed watching eggs hatch and young grow. It's easy to be distracted about what we don't have/what we aren't seeing via the cams-we aren't seeing a new male. But looking beyond what we don't have, I hope that everyone realizes the educational opportunity that the cams are continuing to give through this different (and completely normal) phase of a peregrine's life-a change in mate. Even if the view isn't of the type of activity and behaviors we might want to see, it is nonetheless an important time in Scout's life and we are all witnesses! You might say this is the best reality show on the web!