Observation date: 14 March 2014
It seems as though we have a change of venue this season. The resident female falcon has selected a nest site other than the “diving board” hole which she has used 9 out of 12 seasons. This year she chose the “waterfall” hole. She has only used this once before, that being in 2010 when she raised three young there that year. This is not unusual for females to make these changes as most men should know; it seems that they have a license to do this !
I believe egg laying has begun. The routine for the last two days is as follows. Female in the eyrie for 60 – 90 minutes, while the male perches nearby. When she leaves the nest site, she flies to a breeding rock, where the male soon follows and they copulate. He then returns to the nest site and disappears for 15 to 30 minutes. Then he will appear at the edge of the nest and stand there for nearly an hour while she stretches or exercises or eats something that he may have brought her. This scenario is repeated through out the day.
What I believe we are seeing is her trying to lay an egg, then resting, while he guards the clutch when she leaves. She will not begin brooding until all four eggs are laid. This is so they will all hatch at the same time. If we are close in our observations, incubation should start late next week. At that time the eggs will not be left unattended for more than half a minute.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: North side falcons at Morro Rock are a couple of days ahead of the south side pair, we believe.