The falcon did the majority of the incubation today, maybe now the tiercel is older he has had enough of long periods sitting on the eggs! He spent quite a lot of the day sat in an old oak tree, posing for the visitors and giving them a great view. The rest of the time he was out hunting.
We had a further intrusion today, fairly late on in the day at 19:30. It was a female again, she looked to be an adult from what I could see of her. The tiercel flew up first from the tree and our falcon then left the nest to join the chase. There was a lot calling and chattering, until eventually all was quiet and the falcon returned to the nest after a couple of minutes away. The eggs are only left in emergencies and our female must have felt that this intrusion warranted her leaving the eyrie! The tiercel landed high up in a spruce tree to watch out and make sure the intruding female had definatly gone!
Our pair have a territory which is around a 2 mile radius of the nest. Studies have shown that while peregrines will intensively defend the area around the eyrie, towards the edge of the territory hunting areas may overlap between pairs. Unless prey is particularly short, they are unlikely to waste energy chasing away other peregrines in the outer regions of their territory.
At the moment our pair are doing all there hunting solo. It is known that a pair of peregrines can work together to hunt prey. The tiercel would usually fly in to disturb a group of birds and chase and individual or group towards the falcon, while she would come in for the kill. This way they can work to both their strengths. The male can use his agility to chase the prey, while she can use her extra size and muscle to make the kill. I have actually witnessed this happen on a cold winters day on an estuary in Wales. On that occasion the pair of welsh peregrines worked together to successfully catch a Redshank.
After around 2 weeks after our chicks hatch, both adults start bringing in prey, so it is possible they may hunt as a team on the odd occasion.
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer