Observation date: 25 February 2015
Breeding of the peregrine falcons continues at Morro Rock with copulations occurring every forty to fifty minutes. Occasionally, longer or shorter depending on the day’s activities, i.e. eating, hunting or chasing of other predators. Such was the case today. A large bold juvenile female made the mistake of following the tiercel back to the “rock” while he was carrying prey. She was abruptly met by the resident female with a full-on thrust to the chest, stopping the young bird in full flight. This I had never witnessed before… a frontal attack.
Many of the observers have commented to me on how full she looks, especially in the girth. After depositing the prey, the tiercel joined in the fray. The resident female and interloper were locked talon to talon spiraling down from 75 feet above then breaking apart a few feet above water’s edge. Forty plus people watched in awe and listened to the screams as the tiercel finished off the encounter with a long chase with multiple stoops heading across the bay taking a few feathers from the young one.
The female has ceased hunting which is normal and occurs a couple weeks before egg laying begins. Other than the encounter today, her flight seems a little slower and more labored. She also perches for longer periods of time. By all the things that I observe, everything seems to be on schedule.
The next thing we will be looking for will be soiling around the vent area. This will tell us egg laying has begun.
Happy trails, Bob
She will be picking a nest site soon. When she stays in one of these holes for more than an hour or so, this is another sign that egg laying has begun. Stay tuned!
*Photo – This photo was taken with an iPhone 5 with adaptor which attaches to the Swarovski spotting scope.