Observation date: 2 June 2015
After a week of flying, the three young falcons on the north side of Morro Rock are having more fun than a litter of piglets in a mud hole. It’s hard to describe, first two chase one, then one chases two and all the time they are doing maneuvers they could not do yesterday.
It’s nonstop tag, “You’re it!”
I forgot to mention there are two males and one female. She is the one being chased most. It’s 9:30 AM and all the young are squealing. They have spotted the tiercel, incoming over the bay delivering breakfast at 60 + mph. He has a tail wind and is carrying a very small prey item. All three launch off the cornice, while he is still 300 yards out. They pass over me in the parking lot, but don’t venture too far out over the water. As the tiercel passes, they turn and give chase. One of the male chicks makes a pass with open talons to snatch the prey and misses completely. Next the big female tries, but collides with the adult dislodging the prey. And the third bird, a small male, dives after the falling prey, catches it mid-air and heads back to the cornice.
Needless to say the two others are chasing him.
It’s like watching a flying circus. A few minutes later the adult female arrives with nothing that I can see. The two remaining chicks chase her any way thinking she has something. She then makes an abrupt wing-over into a stoop and deftly picks off a white crown sparrow sitting on the dirt parking lot. The two chicks try to follow her. They could not keep up, but they saw what she did. Now they know where these meals come from.
The last chick had to wait another hour before he got fed.
Happy trails, Bob
At Piedras Blancas Light Station in San Simeon, there are three chicks and at Shell Beach, four chicks.