Migrating , bonding and spanking…

Observation date: 1 October 2014


Osprey                                           Photo by Cleve Nash

Here on the Central Coast, migrations have begun to trickle into the county. Some of the raptors that have come by Morro Rock in the last few days are 6 Osprey, 3 Northern Harriers, male and female, 1 Merlin, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk… Of the other birds and water fowl, the San Luis Obispo hotline lists Northern Pintails, Blue-winged, Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, White-fronted geese. Of the song birds …Redstart, warblers, Black-necked Stilts, Phainopepla, just to name a few.

Yesterday, I saw the first day of bonding between the south side pair of falcons. The tiercel perched by himself on the throne chupping loudly. He was soon joined by the female, not six inches away did she land. They vocalized for twenty seconds or so, then sat quietly for the next hour.

peregrine, bonding

On the throne, bonding                                                Photo by Cleve Nash

Suddenly the tiercel sliced,* then shot off the rock and across the bay to the beach near the south jetty.  The female following close in, he stooped at the last second and flushed a small flock of shore birds. I lost both of them in the mêlée of birds. If they made a kill, they didn’t bring it back to the rock. When they did return to the rock ninety minutes later, they were greeted by two juvenile females which they abruptly gave chase, having no mercy on the young. Diving and spanking both of them, successfully running them off.

It was strange to see the bonding start so early.  It usual starts in November followed by breeding in mid-December.

Happy trails, Bob

Of the thirteen seasons I have watched this female, the earliest I have seen her breed was November 30th. The latest was January 4th.

*slice- falconers term: to defecate

peregrine,  Falcon terminology: To slice

Falcon terminology: To slice                               Photo by Cleve Nash


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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