Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Incubation Underway

Things are progressing nicely in the nest.  Unfortunately, I don't have the same report for the website.  Actually, both cameras are working fine, the problem is a server issue.  IT staff is working on restoring both streams but in the meantime, we are only able to show one view (the nest box).  If you are reading this and you are not able to get either stream then there may be a firewall issue of your own that we have no control over.  Until both streams are restored, when accessing our website, please scroll down past the "Live Ledgecam" (not working) to the "Live Nestcam" (working) and you will be able to view the streaming video of the nest box.  We do apologize for the inconvenience but know that the problem is being worked on and we are hoping for a quick resolution, as are all of the falcon fans!

The egg count is currently (and probably will stay) at 4.  Four is the normal clutch size for peregrines.  With the interruption in viewing we weren't able to say for sure when true incubation began but we estimate it may have begun after the 2nd egg.  Peregrines incubate for about 33 days.  That would put hatch about the 3rd week of April (~April 17).
In the meantime, expect to see much of the same every time you tune in:  either Durand or Spark sitting tightly on the eggs.  This is pretty much their full-time job for the next several weeks.  Typically, the female does most of the incubation duty while the male's primary job is to provide food--he will hunt for the female and bring her prey.  She will leave the eggs to go eat, and during that time away from the nest, the male will incubate the eggs.  Interestingly at the Columbus nest, it seems more times than not, Spark (the male) actually does quite a bit of incubation throughout the day.  But Durand is always nearby.
The goal of incubation is to keep the eggs at the proper temperature for the embryos to develop.  The adult falcons will actually spread their breast feathers as they settle down on the eggs so that there is direct egg-to-skin contact.  Also important is that they roll the eggs several times a day to keep the embryo from sticking to the shell.
It can be difficult to tell which adult is which at this nest, so here is a recap of ways to tell the two apart: (click on the image to enlarge it)