Breakfast on the bluff…

Adult peregrine peacefully waiting            Photo by Bob Mancuso

Adult peregrine peacefully waiting                       Photo by Bob Mancuso

The demands of a growing family of chicks, or should I say juvenile peregrine falcons, can be intense. Remember when you first heard the cry of your or your friend’s baby. It pulls at your heart. Now think of the cry of the falcon chicks when hunger strikes. Peace is gone and the hunt is on.

Hungry juvenile    Photo by Bob Mancuso

Hungry juvenile                                            Photo by Bob Mancuso

If the chicks live on Morro Rock, a trip is made by the tiercel to capture a peep on the long dune-covered sand spit or within the Morro Bay Estuary and its  pickleweed covered silty flats seen at low tide. The falcon will capture a larger bird such as a willet. Since she is one third larger, she can carry a bigger bird. Shell Beach birds have brought in shorebirds from the beaches or Meadowlarks from the hillside across the Pacific Coast Highway.

The more the better, but every bite counts when you are raising three or four growing chicks. Knowing that the peregrines can choose from over 200 types of birds, there is variety in their diet. This variety maintains the health and vibrant colors found on these wild birds.*

The cacking begins         Photo by Bob Mancuso

The cacking begins                                            Photo by Bob Mancuso

On their return, the parent is seen from a long distance and the juveniles set up a pleading request of constant cacking.

“Feed me. Feed me. Feed me.”

Prey  delivered    Photo by Bob Mancuso

Prey delivered                                        Photo by Bob Mancuso

If they are too young to fly up, greet the parent and grab the prey, they wait impatiently on the bluff. Well, barely patiently.

Who has the next bite?   Photo by Bob Mancuso

Who has the next bite?                                   Photo by Bob Mancuso

The parent dropping down, delivers the prey to the eager bunch who squabble over who gets the prey first. It’s the dominant juvenile who wins out, but may lose a bite while it is consuming its first bite. A sibling can easily sneak in and get its own tasty morsel. One may even try to run off with the prey. Games between the juveniles continue until the prey is devoured. Then the hunt is on again. More food! More! More! These are growing youngsters.

Mine !         Photo by Bob Mancuso

Mine !                                                              Photo by Bob Mancuso

Peace, ~Heather

*Captive birds fed on the same diet day in day out tend to be less colorful.


About Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch

The Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch is here to inform birders, students and all people who are eager to know about these handsome peregrines. We want you to enjoy and be able to use our on-site powerful spotting scopes. We are available to answer your questions about the pair of falcons that have been observed for many years.

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6 Responses to Breakfast on the bluff…

  1. Jill says:

    I am learning so much thanks! I have a pair of Red-Shoulder hawks that are feeding their “4” chicks. Now that they are flying, I am not sure all are getting feed – I hope. Am sharing a video of breakfast in the nest.

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      Thank you for your video and comment!
      Concerning your hawk chicks that you’re watching, you’ll find that all will be fed. Pay attention to the chicks so you might identify them individually. It takes time. Lots of time spent over a period when two to three prey items are brought into the nest. Yes, the first to be fed will eat first, become full, but then it’ll fall asleep. Then the next chick will feed, become full, then sleep. Then on to the next chick until all are fed. Digestion takes time. ~Bob & Heather

      • Jill says:

        Thanks for that up date on how to tell if they are all getting fed. Today am following them around our yard (live oak trees) and parents come and go, some chicks are excited and others are sleeping thru it. Was excited to see one on the ground drinking water from the chicken water. Didn’t have the camera ready however, darn.
        They are flying soo much better-exciting then last week. Jill

      • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

        It certainly does pay off to watch as much as possible! Glad to hear the chicks are getting fed and maturing well. ~Heather

  2. Sue says:

    I enjoy and appreciate your comments and observations. It is the next best thing to being there. I’ve learned so much.

    • Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

      I, too, learn so much daily when observing these peregrines and asking Bob any question that pops into mind. His many years of observation and reading have given him the ability to share his knowledge so freely.

      Bob just mentioned that he’d like to do a story on you and your method of “Birding by lawn chair,” so suitable for many people who don’t want to or might not be able to traipse though the countryside. He considers you the authority. We’ll be in touch. ~ Heather

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