Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Will Winter Ever End?!

Well, it's been a l-o-n-g, cold winter and it seems to be hanging on still with single digit lows during this first week of March!  Despite the weather the ledge has been fairly active the past couple of weeks.  Spark and Durand have been bonding and courting.  There have food exchanges, scraping, vocalizing and even matings!  A sure sign that spring is coming, even if it doesn't really feel like it yet!

Here are links to check out some action you may have missed:
Bonding in the nestbox, March 1
Spark presenting food to Durand, March 1
Mating, March 3
Special thanks to MaryAnne for saving the video clips! ;-)
And a photo of Spark working on the scrape:
As a recap, a peregrine's nest is called a "scrape."  Basically, peregrines do not build a nest by bringing in nesting materials (sticks, mud, grass, etc.) like many birds do.  Rather, they simply scrape/dig out a depression in the substrate in which to lay their eggs.  In the case of man-made nestboxes, the substrate is usually pea gravel placed into a shallow tray or box.  Both the male and female falcons "scrape" by lying on their belly and pushing out with a foot to dig the depression.  They will use their wings for balance as seen in the photo above.  There are 2 main scrapes currently in the nestbox on the Rhodes Tower in Columbus.  One, that Spark is working on in the photo, and the second in the back right corner of the box.  Which scrape the eggs will ultimately be laid in is up to Durand. 

Speaking of is Durand's timeline/history with laying the first egg of the season:
2011-April 3
2012-March 26
2013-March 19
I have noted with watching the Columbus nesting pairs over the years, as females mature they generally lay a few days earlier each year as is evident in Durand's case.  Therefore, we could expect to see eggs this year anytime around/after ~March 15! 

If you haven't noticed yet, the Division of Wildlife recently updated its website and we now offer both the ledge and nestbox live video views streaming at the same time on the same page without a timeout!  Stay tuned - spring is just around the corner and peregrine nesting season will be underway before we know it!