Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mating on the Ledge

Thanks to Mary Anne for saving a video of the two peregrines mating on the ledge by the nestbox and sharing it on YouTube. The birds have definitely been more active at the nestbox lately which hopefully indicates that egg laying will be soon...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Durand Working on the Scrape!

Well, it appears as though this newest, unbanded male will be our resident male in 2011. There have been no sightings of Trooper via the cams or by watchers downtown. Such is how falcons come and go but luckily, the population is healthy enough that when a vacancy does occur it is quickly filled. Unfortunately, without leg bands we will never know the origin of this male or what part of the Midwest from which he came. At this time there are no plans to name the male.

Whether this male and Durand will produce a clutch this year is yet to be seen. Regardless, the time of year and the length of the days tell them to bond, mate and prepare a nest. Both birds have been in and out of the nestbox almost daily working on multiple scrapes. Today was the first time I was able to save a video clip. Here, Durand illustrates perfectly how the nest despression (also called a scrape) is made. Both the male and female will "scrape," i.e., lay on the gravel and push out with a foot. Through this action a depression in the gravel is created and that is where the eggs (if produced) will be laid. The shallow depression helps ensure the eggs do not roll off of the "cliff." (Urban peregrines that use nestboxes and trays no doubt have a higher rate of survival than traditional cliff nesting falcons since the eggs are more protected from rolling away and from predators including snakes.)

If you look closely in the gravel there are 3 different scrapes: up front where Durand was working in the video clip, another right behind it towards the back of the box (these two blend together somewhat) and in the right rear corner. For the best viewing purposes we will hope that Durand will lay her eggs closest to the camera where she was working today!