I have noticed over the past few days just how much time the tiercel spends preening and making himself look good! When he is off incubation duty he can sit on his favourite oak branch preening his feathers and feet for hours on end. It probably explains why he is in such good condition for a 15 year old peregrine. Eventually he will bob his head up and down, showing his intention to move and fly off to hunt
The tiercel was also spotted landing in a oak tree upstream after he had been away from the eyrie for a couple of hours. It got me wondering whether this was so he could have a rest undetected by the falcon, so she wouldn’t call him down for incubation duty!
The tiercel needs to rest up while he can, making sure he is the best condition possible for the coming weeks. As we get closer to hatching the falcon will hunt less and rely on him more for food. Her maternal instincts mean she leaves the nest increasingly less as we get towards the big day. The falcon will also stay with the chicks for the first 2 weeks after hatching. She will keep them warm and feed them small portions of meat from the carcusses brought back by the tiercel.
The falcon brought in another feral pigeon today, but put it straight into storage. It is known birds can sense changes in pressure, due to a receptor in their ears known as the vitali organ. It is therefore possible due to the lower air pressure today she can sense that rain is on the way! She is forward planning for leaner time.
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer