Tuesday, April 28, 2015


A little after 5 pm today, the 3rd egg hatched!  (Follow the link to see a video.)
Shortly afterward it was sitting up begging for food along with its nest mates.  This behavior is instinct and prompted when the adults give a low cluck while feeding.  Even though the chick was upright and had its beak open it really doesn't need to eat for at least a day or more, as it receives nourishment as its body absorbs the remainder of the yolk sac.

The cams seem to be freezing up quite often now which is frustrating to us and the viewers.  This happened last season also and is believed to be a result of the amount of traffic on the site, individual Internet speeds, and/or certain web browsers.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Still Two...

Finally, Durand moved and revealed 2 chicks and 2 eggs.  Both nestlings got a good meal this morning and appear to be doing well.  Hopefully, another egg (or two!) will hatch sometime today.

Live Streaming Back!

The live streaming is working again now - THANKS to THE OHIO CHANNEL!!!!  But so far no good view of whether a third egg has hatched or not as Durand is brooding tightly.  As I am writing this Spark is on the ledge with food but Durand doesn't show any sign of wanting to move...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bad Timing! (Cams Down)

The live streaming video is currently down due to problems at The Ohio Channel.  (The Ohio Channel provides the streaming service for us.)  The refreshed still images of the ledge view are still working but the nestbox view is not.  Extremely bad timing as I know a lot of folks are wanting to watch right now (me included!!!).  Unfortunately, things likely won't be able to be restored until normal business hours tomorrow.
In the meantime, here is a video of the chicks being fed and a picture of Spark with the 2 chicks earlier today:

Two Eggs Hatched!

At least a second egg has hatched--two chicks in the photo above!!!  The air temp is in the upper 30s in Columbus this morning but the sun is out which will help warm up the day--and the ledge!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

1st Chick!!!!

The first chick appeared about 5:28 pm, Saturday, April 25, 2015!!!!  And, a second egg is pipped as well so hopefully not too long before there are 2 hatchlings.  It is very common for the adult female to eat the egg shells.  Not only does this keep the nest clean but it helps Durand replenish the calcium her body used to produce the egg initially.  Here's a great video of the hatch and Durand consuming the shell.

Hatching Activity!

Looks like at least one of the eggs is pipped!!!  The pip is the first hole the chick makes in the shell as it begins to hatch:
Hatching can take some time.  The chick will work on pecking out for a bit then rest, then more pecking, then rest, etc.  Because of the time involved it's possible we may not see a chick until Sunday. But in the meantime, the chick will chirp from inside the egg and that is often picked up by the microphone inside the nestbox so listen carefully as you are watching.  Weather in Columbus today is a very chilly rain (mid-40s) so Durand no doubt will keep the eggs covered pretty good.  Here's a video of Durand adjusting the eggs when the pip was first seen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Close...

Now that we are nearing the home stretch of incubation, may viewers are getting excited (as am I). We estimate that incubation began after the 3rd egg was laid on March 24th, roughly calculated out, hatching should begin sometime around April 26th. As we get closer to the end of the 33 day waiting period I wanted to review some different clues in the adults behaviors to watch for to help tell when hatch is close.

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 vibrations from the egg causing their behavior to change. During the majority of the incubation phase the adults have set tightly on the eggs. Now you will begin to see the incubation bird will appear restless, it will get up and look down at the eggs more often, settle back down, and be up again looking again within a short amount of time.

Eggs can hatch at any time of the day or night. The process will start with a pip-- a small hole pecked through the shell from the inside by the chick using it's "egg tooth". It will take time and energy for the new chick to peck it's way out of the shell. Don't be surprised if you see Durand eating the egg shells. This is one way for her to replenish calcium in her body that was lost from her system when she initially produced the eggs.

After hatching the chicks will need to be kept warm so the adults will brood the hatchlings most of the time, especially if temperatures in Columbus are still cool like they are this week. This may look similar to incubation but they will actually be sitting up higher and may hold their wings out from their bodies more than we saw during incubation. Remember that during incubation the adults were sitting on still, smooth "rocks". Now they will hopefully be sitting on multiple wiggly, squirmy fidgety chicks. This will make a big difference in how the adults act and careful viewers will notice this.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

While we wait... some updates.

As I sit and watch these birds incubating the theme from the game show Jeopardy is playing in my head. You know the one they play while the audience is waiting for a contestant to answer a question.

An update on Blaze...
As most of you remember, one of the falcons from last nesting season suffered an injury and was not able to be released back into the wild. If you don't remember or are new with the blog and would like to learn the background on Blaze please visit the blog entry from December 5, 2014.
We recently heard from the Ohio Bird Sanctuary that Blaze did her first school programs last week and was a big hit with both students and teachers! The program evolves around the natural history of peregrines, human effects on their population and the restoration projects in Ohio. Great job Blaze!

Something interesting today....
There were some unsuspecting visitors to the ledge today. The below picture was captured at about 9:45 this morning of some pigeons that were rambling down the ledge towards the nestbox. The incubating bird (Spark) took notice but remained on the eggs during the unexpected visit.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Donations Part 2, Falcon ID

Another week of incubation down and things are moving along well (fingers crossed).
As we are sitting around twiddling our thumbs I would like to take a moment to talk about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. We often get questions of how people can support Ohio's wildlife. Since the ODNR, Division of Wildlife is primarily funded through the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, the obvious way would be to purchase one or more of these licenses but there are other ways as well. In the last blog post we talked about the Ohio tax check off option. Another way anyone (whether an Ohio resident or not) can contribute to Ohio's wildlife and projects like the peregrine falcon project is to purchase an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp.

Buying an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp allows wildlife enthusiasts the opportunity to directly impact the future of Ohio's native animals.  For $15 you'll receive a collectible stamp, window cling and commemorative card. 
Besides programs like the Columbus Falcon Cam, Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp proceeds support:

  • wildlife and habitat research projects
  • endangered & threatened native species habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements
  • keeping common species common
  • educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts
The 2015 Stamp is of an eastern bluebird. Each year there is a photo contest to select the next years stamp. For more information on how to enter the contest please follow the photo contest link. If you would like to order the current Wildlife Legacy Stamp or a past stamp (consider collecting them all!) print and send the Official Mail Order Form or you can order Wildlife Legacy Stamps through the Wild Ohio Customer Center.

(Commercial break is over...back to the falcons.)
Time to review how to identify 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.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Hurry up and...wait and DONATE!

Everything is going well at the nest. There were a couple of reports of a peregrine fighting with another bird downtown yesterday morning. I don't have any specific details but when this happens, it can be anything as simple as a falcon chasing a migrating turkey vulture out of its airspace to perhaps a peregrine defending against another unmated peregrine trying to move into the territory.  One report indicated that the battle went on for a few hours, so it is possible another peregrine was in the area.  Regardless--all views via the cams were normal so despite whatever happened, the defending peregrine did a great job of keeping the potential intruder at bay so that there was no undue disturbance to the nest.  Such is a typical day in the life of a peregrine and it is important for us all to remember that there is a lot more to these birds' lives then we see via the cams.

Four appears to be the final count for the eggs. From now until hatch both adults will incubate with the majority of the duty being done by Durand. When it's time for her to stretch her wings Spark eagerly takes his turn sitting on “the rocks”.  Incubation typically lasts about 33 days; when calculated out we can expect hatching to start about the last week of April.

Since everyone is in a wait and see mode now and since the tax deadline is just around the corner I would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that if you enjoy watching the Columbus FalconCam and would like to support Division of Wildlife projects like this, Ohioans can easily donate part or all of their state income tax refund by checking the box on line 27b of the 2014 Ohio Income Tax Form or line 20b on the 2014 Ohio 1040 EZ form.  We hope that Ohioans will take advantage of this convenient way to support our programs.  We will post in the coming weeks about other ways for folks in state and out to help as well!