Well after the last Mondays somewhat melancholic blog I am very pleased to tell you that the last 3 days have been ones of excitement and strangely promising. Here are a few highlights to give you an idea of whats been happening.
Monday – 12:10pm (about lunchtime) Falcon brings in her first racing pigeon of the season and it was still alive! She soon dispatched her prey, with the a quick bite to the back of the neck.
Peregrines have a special adaptation called a tomial tooth, this isn’t a really tooth at all, in fact peregrines or all modern birds for that matter, don’t even have teeth! The tomial tooth is a large triangular protrusion on the peregines upper mandible with a corresponding notch on the lower mandible. This is on the curve part of the break and behind the classic raptor hook at the business end of the break. All falcon bird of prey family(falconidae) have this special adaptation and kill their prey, be it birds or rodents in this way. Simply severing the spinal column at base of the skull killing it instantly, often decapitating it at the same time. This originally gave rise to the theory that peregrines hit there prey at such a high speed and impact the victims head fell off. The only other birds I know of with a tomail tooth are the shrikes, also known as the butcher bird for there tendency to impale their victims on spikes of hawthorn bushes. This helps the shrikes tear the prey into more convenient pieces and serves as a kind of ominous cache to store food for later.
Anyway back on with the exciting week of peregrines. On Tuesday and Wednesday the falcon and tiercel were sharing prey on and Katy (Season Ranger) was even lucky enough to see the tiercel feeding the falcon, a very strong indication that there are renewing their bond and courtship is going well. All of this feeding behavior been the pair have taken place on the ledge last used in 2008, again a sure sign if they were going to try a new nest scrape it was going to be there. At least that’s what I thought until today..
I’m almost sorry to have to keeping do this to you devoted followers but its all too much excitement for one blog.
More peregrines tales coming soon…
Adam Murphy – Peregrine Ranger