There were a few steps towards independence for the chicks yesterday.
The young where taking part in a lot of pre flight training. This involved much flapping of their wings which are still mainly covered in white, downy feathers. All this exercise strengthens their flight muscles ready for when they take their maiden flight in three weeks time.
At 13:00 the falcon (female) began calling. She had been alerted by the flurry of activity which was the tiercel (male) seeing off a sparrowhawk who had strayed too close to the eyrie (nest ledge). It appeared she didn’t think the tiercel was up to dealing with the intruder, so she sped off in hot pursuit. The tiercel returned only ten minutes later, but the falcon wasn’t back for nearly another three hours!
When she did return it was to drop off a chewed up looking wing at the eyrie. The chicks were still happy to have the tidbit and had a go at feeding themselves. This gave them the chance to learn some dining etiquette, getting themselves ready for when they will eventually fend for themselves.
Rhian – Seasonal Ranger