Monday, April 16, 2012

Which Adult is Incubating?

With our nesting pair in Columbus this year, Durand (the female) has leg bands but the male does not. That makes it easy to tell one from another--just look for the bands or lack thereof.

But if you tune in when a peregrine is in full incubation mode you won't be able to see the legs to tell for sure whether it is the male or the female keeping the eggs warm. So how can viewers tell which adult is incubating?

With this pair, the plumage of the male and female is very similar--there isn't much to set them apart. Therefore, viewers will have to rely on a basic size comparison to tell Durand from her mate. As with most birds of prey, the female is larger. Here are similar poses for comparison of the 2 adults. Look for a bulky body that takes up a substantial amount of space inside the nestbox. The difference can seem subtle at first but if you train your eye soon you will be able to tell Durand from the male easily.

Tune in often to see if you can tell which is which. (If you click on the photo it will open larger for easier viewing and/or printing.)

Speaking of incubation, all is going well. Hatch is predicted on or about May 6. However, it can be very difficult to determine when true incubation begins so that date is just an estimate!