Observation date: 30 June 2014
Air shows by juveniles have been the theme of the last couple weeks. Visitors and friends that have come to view the peregrine falcon have been totally amazed and awestruck by the show of speed, maneuvering and antics of the three young birds.
The two young from the north side have for the most part taken up residence on the south side of the rock for the last three weeks. Even though the two are not offspring they are fed by the south side adults. In the last few days, the single chick on the south side who can be readily identified by the extra large creamy cheek patch and stays around the rock constantly earning the name “Homie.” He seems to give me always something to put a spotting scope on. With him, I am never without something to show the public.
When I think the two young have gone back to the north side because I have not seen them all day or the adults, around 3 PM all four return to the rock after a day of hunting over the sand spit and estuary. Meanwhile, ”Homie” holding the fort down has not eaten for 7 hours although he has been trying his best with the cliff swallows and white-throated swifts that abound over and around the rock. I have yet to see him capture one. All three of the young have seen the adult falcons chase gulls off their nests then swoop in and grab a fuzzy gull chick. The young are good at the former, but not yet at the latter. I have yet to discern why the two young did not stay with their own parents. With both nest sites having young at the same time, I could only watch one.
Happy trails, Bob
Concerning the previous story about the falcons’ eye injuries, both male and female injuries on opposite eyes have now healed. Eye injuries such as these are common mostly when aerial food transfers to chicks occur.
In the photo above, food is transferred from the adult’s talons to the beak so as to not entangle the talons on the transfer. The incoming chick reaches up to grab the food from the parents beak which makes the adult’s eyes very vulnerable. The nictitating membrane protects the eyes from damage.