The falcon was in an impatient mood today!
Firstly she surprised everyone by leaving the nest for 30 minutes today unattended with the tiercel not present. The male had been absent for sometime, so whether she went to find him or to try and get food herself I am not sure, but she did not return with anything. In a week or so I would expect both adults to be out hunting on occasion, but this seemed a little early, particularly with the cold. She obviously felt it was worth the risk and as they say mother knows best!
Secondly, when the tiercel did bring a starling in this afternoon she was up and had taken it off him, almost before he had chance to land on the plucking branch! He seemed to put up a little bit of a fight, but was soon cowering further along the branch. It is possible he wanted to feed off the prey first or felt that he was capable of plucking the prey and the falcon could return to the nest.
This morning I was beginning to wonder how well our rather mature tiercel was coping with the hunting demands of yet another breeding season. He had only caught one prey item and it was late afternoon….. He then made me feel bad for questioning him by bringing in 3 starlings in 3 hours! The final one of the day he was left alone to feed on himself. It seems like he his only allowed to feed by his rather highly strung partner, once all the work is done for the day!
Despite all the drama the chicks were well fed in the end. They continue to grow well and are now around double the size they were when they hatched
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer