Observation date: 21 February 2014
Soon after my last posting of February 14, I started noticing the female arriving with prey at the “rock” landing on the “chimney” or “butcher block” where she would plume and eat it. I have not seen her bring prey to the “butcher block” since last summer. Previously for the last few months, she will kill and eat her prey away from the “rock.”
But what I hadn’t noticed, until a few days ago, were the tiercel’s feet and talons covered with fresh bright blood from a very recent kill. The tiercel being one third smaller than the female cannot carry nearly as much as she can. The male after capturing a prey will bend over while flying and sever the head of the live bird in flight so as to lighten the load. This explains the bright oxygenated blood on his talons.
What I’m trying to tell you is that he has been feeding her for the last week. I just haven’t seen the transfer until yesterday. It was not an inflight transfer but one that took place at the nest site. As I watched her eating the prey, we all got a good view of her vent which appears clean and dry. It should not be long now before she starts laying eggs. I’d give it two weeks at most.
Happy trails, Bob
Falcons are equipped with a tomial tooth on either side of the beak, which fits nicely between vertebrae to sever the head.