The eyrie we have this year is causing me to use a lot of guesswork! Our pair have chosen to nest on a ledge, where a rock and various plants ruin any chance of being able to see the eggs. Today I am willing to put my neck on the line and suggest we now have a third egg, laid sometime today, for the following reasons……
The pair were constantly incubating all day today, this is the first time this year that this has happened. As I wrote in an earlier post, this is behaviour we would expect when the third egg in a peregrine clutch is laid. It is thought the birds just keep the first couple of eggs ticking over, until the third egg is laid. Warm enough to survive, but not warm enough to allow too much development. This means the chicks will hatch at no more than a couple of days interval, preventing a large size difference within the brood.
My other reason for believing we have a third egg is that in 2011 the female laid her first 2 eggs on consecutive days. There was then a 6 day gap before the third egg, which would mirror what has happened this year. Our falcon has been quite consistent at laying 3 eggs over the last few years. She has not laid 4 eggs since 2008, I therefore think it is unlikely to happen this year. However, as I have found out over my time working with various wild animal species, they don’t like to follow the rules and can be entirely unpredictable!
Still it will make it all the more exciting when the eggs hatch….
I just wanted to say a quick thanks to all the fantastic visitors we have had to the site today. It’s great to see just how many people take great pleasure in watching birds of prey. Talking to you all has helped re-affirm in my mind that it is just a selfish minority who wish to destroy these fantastic birds and prevent the rest of us observing their exhilarating lives.
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer