Friday, May 03, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

First off, an update:  Everything is going very well at the nest.  After a rough "learning curve" the first couple of days, both Durand and Spark seem to have the feeding process down pat.  The chick is growing fast!!  It is still possible for one or more of the remaining eggs to hatch, but at this point I would be surprised if so.  If it doesn't happen over the weekend then it probably won't happen.  Any eggs that don't hatch will eventually be cast off to the side and ignored as the adults will shift their focus to the chick only.  Sometimes the adults will remove unhatched eggs from the nest, other times they will actually consume them.  In the meantime, as Durand broods the chick, the eggs are continually kept warm so we'll give them another few days before we say definitely the clutch is complete.

Lots of questions coming in that I will attempt to address here.  Also please check out 2 different pages on the Division of Wildlife's website for information on peregrines:  FAQs and Falcon Facts

Brooding:  Because it can't regulate it's own temperature at first, Durand will brood the chick regularly for about the first 10 days or so.  After that, you'll see the chick being left alone more and more. 
Cleanliness of the box:  One person commented that the Columbus nestbox was so much cleaner than other peregrine nestboxes they view.  Here in Ohio, we routinely clean out nestboxes after the nesting season is over.  The Columbus box starts out each new season with new gravel and a fresh coat of paint so it looks pretty clean and tidy right now.  That will change quickly over the next few weeks.  We can expect even one chick to mess the box with feces and prey remains.  Once the chick gets a little bigger, it will start pooping on the walls of the box and maybe even on the front of the nestboxcam housing.  If you happen to surf back through this blog's archives to other nesting years you can see examples of how dirty our nestbox can get!  [And, no--it is not much fun to clean out the box after a clutch has fledged!]
Does the chick need water?:  In a word, yes!  But birds of prey rarely actually drink water directly, rather they get the hydration they need from the flesh of their prey.  So, the chick doesn't need to drink as long as Durand and Spark are supplying nice juicy songbirds.
How long will the chick be in the nest?:  The chick will actually begin walking around and exploring the box in a matter of days and will even leave the nestbox to explore the ledge as it gets older.  They grow very fast--they take their first flights at about 6 weeks of age.  So, don't blink or you might miss something!

I think that brings us all up to date.  More information next week regarding naming and banding!