If you’ve been keeping up with Boise’s Fastest Family, you’ve probably noticed that we have four fluffy chicks in the nest, they’re growing like weeds, and mom hasn’t been spending as much time incubating.
In the next 3-4 weeks, the chicks will be going through a lot of changes. Their fuzzy hatchling down will give way to full feathers and they will grow to be the size of a full adult Peregrine. Because of their increased size and the warmer weather, the parents do not need to spend as much time incubating. They do, however, need to spend significant more time hunting to feed the growing chicks.
Fortunately for our chicks, both parents are talented hunters. During one 20 minute viewing session last week, we watched dad deliver small prey items to the nest ledge twice! Later that day, mom brought back a full-sized pigeon and spent approximately 30 minutes feeding the chicks and herself from the large quarry.
One of the most interesting things about watching the FalconCam at this stage of chick growth is to see what prey items are brought to the nest and how the chicks eat. Not all chicks eat at every feeding. Often one or two chicks in the back of the cluster won’t be fed during one session, but will get the majority of the food at the next feeding. The parents usually feed based on a chick’s feeding response – which is often just the chick opening its beak as the parent holds food nearby. A chick that is full from a previous feeding won’t exhibit a strong feeding response, which cues the parent to move on to another chick.
Mostly the parents are being “good parents” and keeping the eggs protected and warm. There are at least 4 eggs in the nest and no reports of 5 eggs. The weather in Boise is warming up this week, mid to high 70’s and close to 80, but then a cool down next week to the low to mid 60’s. It’s Springtime in the Rockies! This screen capture was taken this morning at 0900. Keep Looking Up!
This just in from the Peregrine fund…
2016 FalconCam Update 4/11/16
Welcome to the 2016 FalconCam season! This is the eighth year a webcam has provided you with a front-row seat for watching the daily activities at a nest box in downtown Boise.
The female Peregrine Falcon is already incubating eggs, and we’re all eager to get a glimpse to see how many have already been laid. Peregrine Falcon eggs are typically incubated for an average of 34 days before hatching which means our first chicks should make an appearance at the beginning of May.
The Peregrine Fund was instrumental in the recovery of Peregrine Falcons in the United States and our work led to them being removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999. It is particularly neat to get to watch a pair doing so well right in downtown Boise!
We would like to thank our FalconCam partners Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Fiberpipe Data Centers for their support in monitoring the birds and for providing live streaming video. We hope you enjoy watching the Boise Falcon Family grow!
Oh my, how these “guys” have grown! Actually, 3 females and 1 male. If I were to guess, I would say that the last one to hatch is the male. It just looks smaller, even at this stage in their development. The Peregrine Fund put a great post on the falconcam site about their development and activities at this age. Interesting.
You may be noticing that the chicks are becoming much more active now that they’re a bit older and are actually jumping out onto the ledge on occassion. They do eventually jump back into the nest, but this is a normal part of development for nestlings. Soon, they will enter a stage of life where they’re referred to as “branchers.” During this stage, chicks will spend more time out of the nest and flapping their wings. This helps to build muscle so that their breast muscles are ready to support their wings in the air when they take their first flights.”
Enjoy these screen shots from this morning! Keep Looking Up!
I received word this week from the Peregrine Fund that the Boise falcon chicks were checked medically – they passed with flying colors – and they were banded. There was no word on the probable sex of each bird. Here is the complete text of the notification from the Peregrine Fund. Keep Looking Up and Left-Click any of these screen shots to see them enlarged.
“The Peregrine Fund chicks are sporting new jewelry today after having been banded by biologists from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game this morning. In addition to banding the chicks, wing and leg measurements were taken, and health was observed. All four falcon chicks appeared to be healthy and thriving, and the data collected will help researchers to continue monitoring the condition of the Peregrine Falcon population within our region.”
“Did you know that the earliest recorded use of “bird bands” was made around 218-201 B.C. when a thread was tied to a crow’s leg to send messages between Roman officers during the Punic Wars? Since that time, the technology of banding birds has improved greatly. Bands are now often made of aluminum or another lightweight material imprinted with a series of unique numbers to help identify the bird, and people who band birds are required to obtain a special banding permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In fact, scientists rely on banding for data collection so much that in 1909 the American Bird Banding Association was formed to organize and assist the growing number of bird banders throughout North America.”
“So the next time you are watching the FalconCam, make sure to keep an eye out for the chick’s shiny new bands!”
It is great to see that the Peregrine Fund’s Falconcam has been selected as a Nest Cam of the Month: Peregrine Falcons by the Nature Conservancy. The link will take you to the article and explain a little about the Peregrine program and the history of the falcons. Interesting information. Be sure to read the comments, too. Keep Looking Up!
The chicks – all four of the – are looking good this morning. Eating. Bobbing around. Moving their wings, although weakly. Nice weather: 69 degrees F, 42% humidity and winds at 5 mph. The bottom of the nest box looks like there was a buffet there recently – wings and legs leftovers. Here are some screen captures from the Peregrine Webcam from the Peregrine Fund camera. Enjoy and Keep Looking Up! Left Click any of the pictures to see enlarged.