May 22 2009

It’s Getting Crowded

Published by at 7:02 am under Nesting & Courtship,Peregrines

Six peregrines at the nest (photo from the National Aviary webcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Sometimes it takes two parents to feed four hungry peregrine chicks.

Here are Dorothy and E2 crowded at the nest with their four growing babies at the Cathedral of Learning.  Both of them were offering food and the kids could not decide which direction to face.   For a while all four faced Mom… but one of them is wondering…

(photo from the National Aviary webcam at the University of Pittsburgh)

p.s.  I’ve added new entries on the Peregrine FAQs page.  Check it out.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “It’s Getting Crowded”

  1. Tracion 22 May 2009 at 7:47 am

    I was reading about why and how they band the chicks on your FAQ – based on what was written – shouldn’t they be banding the COL chicks soon? Before they get old enough to think they can fly to escape?

    I was a bit taken back when I read that the birds are banded when they are adult sized – just lacking the adult feathers! So that means that the Gulf chicks are adult sized!! Man, do they grow fast!!

    Also, as someone is who afraid of heights, how do they actually reach these birds to band them? Isn’t whoever gets them, afraid of falling – especially if the parent birds attack? Are they somehow anchored? Aren’t they afraid of dropping a chick if they get attacked? How do they actually capture a parent who is very aggressive – just reach out and grab it? I wonder how the parent would let that happen – like with Tasha?

  2. Kate St. Johnon 22 May 2009 at 8:45 am

    The people who do the bandings aren’t afraid of heights. In some cases they are anchored to the building. At cliffs they sometimes must rappel down the cliff face. It’s not for the faint of heart!

  3. Bryanon 22 May 2009 at 1:01 pm

    After reading this posting, I’m now motivated to ask a couple of questions that I’ve had since watching the 4 COL chicks:

    *Has there ever been any record of stronger chicks “eliminating” smaller and weaker siblings so there’s more food for them? Is this based on the available food supply?

    *Both sets of chicks appear to be well mannered towards one another, even during feeding time? Is this a Peregrene trait?

    *Also, I notice that they only take food from the parent-they don’t get impatient and try to immitate the parent pull it from the carcass. Is there a reason for this-even though they are adult sized and trying out their wings?

    Thanks for all the work that you are doing to educate us about these fabulous birds.

  4. Kate St. Johnon 22 May 2009 at 1:34 pm

    >Has there ever been any record of stronger chicks “eliminating” smaller and weaker siblings
    No. Unlike bald eagles, peregrine chicks do not fight each other, do not beat each other up. Bald eagle chicks *will* kill each other. Not peregrines.

    >well mannered
    Yes this is a peregrine trait.

    >they only take food from the parent-they don’t get impatient
    That’s because they’re still young. As they grow their flight feathers and get closer to flying, the parents want them to learn how to tear apart a carcass so they will drop off the food and let the kids figure it out on their own. This is a necessary step in learning how to be a peregrine.

  5. Sharonon 22 May 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Dear Kate:
    Thank you so much for providing us with information about the falcon chicks. It’s an amazing sight to watch these chicks develop from little cotton balls to the amazing birds they are today. I can’t wait to see them take flight — but will miss seeing them as chicks at the same time. I have recommended the falcon cam to so many people because it is filled with fascinating information about the Peregrines. Thank you for your time and love of nature.
    Sincerely,
    Sharon

  6. gloriaon 23 May 2009 at 9:48 am

    Kate: I was wondering is it my imagination or are Louie and Tasha2 less involved with the kids since the banding? I always see either E2 or Dorothy at the COL next but I rarely see Louie or Tasha2 at the GT. What’s up with that?

  7. Kate St. Johnon 23 May 2009 at 6:20 pm

    As the nestlings age the parents spend less time on the nest but they are very close by. The adults sometimes perch on top of the nestbox hood, sometimes on the building. At Pitt, Dorothy and E2 perch on the bulwark above the nest, on a nearby roof, on a ledge above the nest box and on the lightning rod (looks like an antenna) on top of the Cathderal of Learning. If you are in Schenley Plaza and see a bird perched near or at the top of the building, it’s a peregrine.

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