Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Third Egg Hatching, Hatching...HATCHED!!!

Wow! What a show!  Viewers this morning thought they were going to witness a feeding (which they did) but sharp-eyed spotters also noticed one of the eggs next to the two chicks being fed was in the process of hatching!!!  In the photo above you can just barely make out the crack in the egg and part of the wet chick in view.  Follow the link to a video.

After feeding the chicks, Durand returned to brooding and within a few minutes the third chick had hatched!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Still Two...Morning Feeding

Here's a screen shot of Durand feeding the two chicks this morning.  Two eggs still remain, however, after the feed was complete, I'm fairly certain I heard chirping that was not coming from the hatchlings.  I suspect at least another chick is working on hatching!!  All looks normal with the two so far.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

TWO Chicks!

As of this Sunday morning there are 2 chicks!  In the photo above the chick on the left is the "newest" one, still a little wet.  The chick on the right hatched last evening and has had plenty of time to dry off.

There are a few egg shells still there, but in general, Durand will eat the egg shells.  Not only does this "clean up" the nest but in doing so she ingests calcium - one way for her body to replenish the calcium it expended when the eggs were produced.

When watching, also notice how Durand now will mostly set up higher on the nest - she has wiggling, squirming beings under her instead of hard, round eggs that don't move.  The chicks are unable to regulate their own temperatures at this age so it will be necessary for one of the adults to brood the chicks by setting on/over them to keep them warm.  Hopefully, we will see another hatch sometime today!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

1st Egg Hatched!!!!

The first egg hatched at about 7:30 p.m. this evening, Saturday, April 26!!  Here it is, albeit quite wet still!  It has some drying out to do before it looks like the typical white ball of fluff!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Home Stretch...

As has been mentioned already, the theme of this year's nest so far has been smooth sailing and we certainly hope that continues.  As a recap of the season thus far, the first egg was laid on March 19, the second March 22, the third March 24 and the fourth, March 26.  Our best guess is incubation began after the 3rd egg on March 24.  Incubation generally takes about 33 days, which would put the estimation of hatch to be around April 26.  Estimating is far from an exact science though, so don't be surprised if hatch begins earlier and don't panic if hatch is later!  I suspect there will be many eyes watching this nest over the coming days.

As I write this, the incubating adult is sitting tight on the eggs in classic incubation style.  The best clue to indicate hatching is near will be realized with a drastic change in the behavior of the adults.  While throughout the majority of incubation they have set mostly still and tight on the eggs we can expect the incubating adult to become very restless as it reacts to changes underneath it.  A day or so prior to hatching the chicks will begin vocalizing from inside the egg and pecking to work their way out. The adult birds can hear the chirping and feel the vibration of the pecking and so their behavior will change as they react to the new sensations.  It will get up and look down at the eggs more often, settle back down, and be up looking again within a short time.  The fidgety activity will be a response to the sounds and vibrations it is hearing/feeling from the eggs.

Eggs can hatch at any time of the day or night. The visual part of the process that we will look for is a pip--a small hole pecked through the shell from the inside by the chick using it's "egg tooth." (The egg tooth is a small, sharp projection at the end of the beak that disappears shortly after hatching.)  It will take some time from pipping for the chick to actually come completely out of the shell.

No doubt exciting times in the coming days!  Stay tuned for more updates as things progress and information becomes available!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Humdrum of Incubation

Well, things at the nest couldn't be going any better.  Incubation for the past ~24 days has been quite "boring" --and in this case, "boring" is good.  Unlike recent events at a nest at the University of Toledo where a competing female peregrine entered the nest and fought with the resident female.  The resident female appeared to be the victor, returning to incubation duty but not without blood and battle scars.  Meanwhile, back here in Columbus, Spark and Durand are taking shifts incubating the eggs and everything is quite "humdrum" to go along with the monotonous "hum" of the building air intake you can hear if you have the sound on your computer turned way up!

By this time next week we should be very near hatch.  As that process approaches, viewers can expect to see a change in the behavior of the adults.  With the warm weather Columbus is having late in the week I've noticed today more than a few times that the eggs have been uncovered for a few minutes with an adult sitting close by.  This is nothing to be alarmed about, especially with the sun and warm ambient temperatures.  More information next week on what to expect during hatch!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Birds Eye View

Things at the nest site are progressing nicely!  Incubation was estimated to have begun after the 3rd egg was laid on March 24th. Both adults have been doing a great job with the incubation duties. As Donna mentioned in an earlier blog entry, hatch is expected the 4th week of April.
Now is the period of time when we sit back and wait...wait...wait. The calm before the storm if you will. Once the young hatch the nest box will become a very busy place.
While we are waiting this is a great time to offer a review on identifying which falcon is sitting on the eggs.  Remember in the raptor world, males are smaller than the females.  Below is a side by side comparison of the male (Spark) and female (Durand) as they are incubating.  In these photos you can see how much more body mass the female has than the male.  The only other visual field mark that we have found to help tell Durand and Spark apart is a white area above Durand's beak that Spark does not have. (This only helps when the bird is facing the camera.)
By way of the nest box cam, we are always looking into the nest observing the falcons activity. The above pictures are examples of what we see during the months' time of incubation.  Do you ever wonder what the incubation of eggs must be like for a peregrine?  They sit in the same spot and look at the same things for at least 33 days. What is their view during this period?
We thought it would be fun last winter to take a picture from inside the nest box looking out. While we were working at the nest site during the off season we did just that.
We placed a camera in the nest box approximately where the scrape was and took a picture looking out from inside the box to simulate what an incubating peregrine sees. It's a pretty nice view of Columbus!