The falcon spent large parts of the day on the nest, particularly in the morning. It is possible that due to the very cold night here at the falls of clyde, she was keen to to be on the eggs. As stated in an earlier post the falcon is more adept at incubation due to her overall size and that of her brood patch.
It is usual for the falcon to increase her incubation share in the last couple of weeks before hatching. It will be interesting to see her share of the duties over the coming few days, whether we are getting indications that the female thinks hatching is only a fortnight away.
Incubation lengths of peregrines can be very variable. It is possible these cold nights may slow down embryo development. The condition of the falcon when she lays the eggs can also be a factor. The cold early spring weather of 2010, may have been the reason for such a long incubation that year. If her condition is poor, the quality of the yolk (nourishment for the developing chicks) is affected, slowing down their rate of development. These factors make it difficult to predict a hatching date, but we are still hoping for our first chick come the end of the month.
April can seem like the quiet time in the peregrine breeding cycle, but there can still be a lot of action to see. Both adults have the chance to spend time sitting on their favourite perches. With the good weather we are enjoying at the moment, the light can really bring out the best in their plumages. You can also see some fantastic behaviour and posturing between our pair during nest changeovers and when one of the pair brings some food in! Add to that our other avian stars such as the Dippers, Crossbills, Yellowhammers, migrating Pink-footed Geese and the constant musical tones of various bird song, it really is a good time of year to visit the site
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer