Both juveniles falcons took their first flights today, which was great to see, if slightly nerve racking! At around 15:30 the adult falcon took food up to the branch where the eyasses roosted. She took care to only feed one. Whether this was because the other was fed earlier I am not sure. The falcon may have wanted to keep them both just a little bit hungry at all times. If they are hungry, they are more active and more likely to be persuaded to fly with food! She may also have thought that one chick was ready to fly and she wanted to encourage it off by not feeding it. The adult could have seen the other was not quite ready yet.
The falcons persuasion worked and the first juvenile took off and flew fairly clumsily across the gorge crashing into a small tree on this side. It quickly flew back across and well into the trees! A few hours later and it had flown again and was now some 50 metres away from the nest near the plucking branch, not bad going on its first day on the wing.
The second eyas took a bit longer to take it’s first flight, not until around 17:30. It’s first flight was shorter and it just flew off the branch and upwards into the tree higher up. This chick then stayed in here completely out of view. Both young birds are a bit uneasy at this time, after leaving the safety and familiarity of the nest. This means they are both staying well hidden in the trees, where their brown juveniles plumage blends in perfectly with their woody surroundings.
It is intersting to see in this pair, that so far the falcon is doing most of the parenting. The tiercel is doing more hunting and his primary role is to bring in food. This isn’t the case in all Peregrine pairs, where at this stage the adult female maybe catching the majority of the food. Tiercels in other pairs can be more involved with incubation, brooding and encouraging the chicks to fly and hunt.
Tom Wells – Peregrine Protection Officer