The falcon was on the eyrie for almost all of today, the only time she came off was to have a quick feed from the larder and to to have a short sleep and preen. The tiercel was keen to get on to incubate twice today. The first time he flew down to the eyrie calling, but the falcon did not budge. He continued to call and showed an unusual amount of courage towards her by giving the female a few nudges with his beak! Eventually the falcon flew off the eyrie, but only for 30 minutes and then she was back on the nest.
Later in the day he tried to get on again, but this time the female said no and would not move. This behaviour shows that she thinks there is only a few days before the eggs hatch, possibly from hearing the chicks, sensing their movement or just through 8 years of breeding experience!
It is a little bit more difficult for us to judge exactly when we think the eggs will hatch. Time of day is not a factor, chicks can hatch out at any time of the day. One way we do know, is because the female will be sat much higher up on the eyrie to give the hatching chick some space.
Once hatching begins the falcon will completely reject any advancement from the tiercel to come on to nest, he can appear anxious flying from perch to perch sensing what is going on. His fatherly instincts will tell him that he needs to go and find prey. Once he brings this prey in it will be given to the female and she will tenderly feed the chicks.
I look forward to all this unravelling possibly by the weekend or early next week
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer