Friday, April 08, 2011

And Then There Were 3!

Durand laid the 3rd egg! It was in the nestbox first thing this morning, Friday, April 8th. As you can see in the photo, there is still a separation between the eggs and as far as I can tell so far this morning she has not started incubating yet.

Her behaviors over the past week during the egg laying phase should have reinforced for viewers that she is a young bird and not yet fully mature. For example, after the first egg is laid, scraping usually ceases and the female stays in or very near to the nestbox. But in Durand's case, after the first egg she has continued to scrape in the gravel (which has inadvertently moved the first egg to the middle of the box).

Additionally, so far it "seems" she has been less attentive to the eggs than other female falcons we have watched at this site, namely being gone from view of the cameras for extended periods of time. However, even I have to remind myself at times that the cameras only show about 75 square feet of the downtown area. There are places on the nest ledge that she can perch and still be close to the eggs but out of our view; likewise, the other ledges on the Rhodes Tower would keep her close to the eggs but out of sight of the cameras. The bottom line is "out of sight does not necessarily mean she is not there." This also applies to the male.

What does it all mean? It is important to remember that what might appear to be awkward behaviors outside of what we consider "normal" do actually reflect that her hormones are fluctuating and that is completely "normal" for an inexperienced falcon nesting for the first time. In other words, given her age it is normal for things to not seem normal!

How will this play out? Chances are good that things will "click" and she will transition into the next phase of the nesting cycle and we'll see her start incubating soon (with or without additional eggs). But with her inexperience and lack of maturity we should expect that events throughout the nesting cycle may not occur as smoothly as we've seen with other fully mature, experienced nesting falcons. Which will no doubt result in some drama causing some to bite their nails as they watch! As I say often, "stay tuned!"