May 22 2009

Question: Are the chicks getting enough to eat?

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Peregrine chick sleeps through a feeding (photo from the National Avairy webcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)Question:  Are the chicks getting enough to eat?  I see one at the back of the nest (or lying down) while the rest are eating?  Is something wrong?

Answer:  When peregrine falcons select a nesting territory they choose an area that has a lot of food, in other words, birds.  In fact they prefer an overabundance of food so there will be more than enough to feed themselves and their nestlings.

The nest sites you see on camera in Pittsburgh are in excellent territories.  Downtown Pittsburgh (Gulf Tower) and Oakland (University of Pittsburgh) have an overabundance of pigeons, starlings and house sparrows - especially in spring when the first broods fly.  In addition there’s a wide selection of unsuspecting spring migrants who push through the area in April and May.  There’s plenty of food here.

So why would one chick lie down or face the wall while the rest are eating?

He’s still full from the last meal!  Peregrine parents sometimes bring food more often than their youngsters need it.  No problem.  They’ll eat when they’re hungry.

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

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