Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Post Nesting Season Box Maintenance

With the 2012 nesting season in Columbus over, several post-season maintenance items were crossed off the list today.  The roosting platform directly in front of the ledge camera was removed to be refurbished as it had begun to deteriorate.  It will be replaced later this summer to aid with leg band observations when a falcon perches in front of the ledgecam.

The nestbox was also cleaned, old eggs removed and gravel topped off and smoothed over.  In a previous post I stated that 2 of the eggs looked like they were decomposing.  Actually, they were intact but had sunk down into the gravel.  They were very bleached out, while the third egg was still showing pigment.  All three eggs were determined to be infertile, i.e., no embryo had developed.  So, even if the male that was present in the territory early on hadn't disappeared we still would not have had chicks in the nest this year.  Hopefully Durand and her new mate, Spark, will have better luck next year!  More updates this summer as noteworthy events occur.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Male is Molting and Eggs are "Melting"

If you look closely this photo shows how Spark's plumage is changing as he matures.  His wing is still brown, the color of a sub-adult falcon.  But the feathers on his back--which used to be brown--have been replaced with blue "adult" feathers.  Interesting to see him change before our eyes!   By next nesting season all the brown feathers will be gone and he will bear the typical blue/gray coloration of a mature adult.
Meanwhile, the eggs appear to be deteriorating.  It looks like at least one and maybe two have/are "melting" into the gravel as they decompose.  My guess is they were again infertile this year but without examining them we won't know for sure.

Additional updates will be posted throughout the summer if/when anything notable occurs.