It was an eventful day for the peregrines at the Falls of Clyde. The change in weather has changed the behaviour of the adults. The male is on hunting overdrive and has started to hunt throughout the day again, showing that the hot weather conditions were having an affect on his ability to hunt in the middle of the day.
The falcon is proving unpredictable (again!), after a week of barely leaving the chicks she has been out for long periods for the last couple of days, but has not been catching much prey. The reason we know that she is not around is that the tiercel is finally getting the chance to feed the chicks. When the falcon is present she quickly takes the prey off him before he gets the chance!
Some days the falcon does bring in a pigeon, which to be fair to her, ways the same as at least 4 starlings. She may be out hunting less, usually only once a day, but brings in the same amount of meat as him over each 24 hour period.
The other major excitement today was a first year (born 2011) buzzard getting a little bit close to the nest. We often get Buzzards flying over the gorge but they provoke only alarm calling. This one however seemed to want to come to land on the plucking branch. The falcon was around at the time and she flew at the bemused hawk at speed, colliding with the larger bird of prey with some force in a cloud of feathers. Shocked as the buzzard may have been they a tough individuals and it continued on its way. I don’t expect we will see it again time soon though, just like all the other intruders chased off by our highly strung resident falcon. More experienced Buzzards know to keep clear.
The chicks were stretching and flapping their wings vigorously today, to the point that one managed to keep height after a jump. When the tiercel appeared with food on the plucking branch, the juvenile falcons were getting particularly excited. This all bodes well showing that they are eager to begin there lives away from the eyrie. Fledging is possible from early next week onwards! We are all very excited and eager to see another family raised successfully by our very prolific pair.
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer