Photo by Cleve Nash
On the left you can see the female and her wet vent area. The male on the right has brought her prey to eat.
All signs, from observations, tell us that egg laying has begun. Cleve Nash and I have been monitoring the female very closely. Saturday she spent nearly three hours in the “diving board” eyrie, again on Monday, but not as long. We have both noticed visible soiling around the vent, which usually in an indication of egg laying. We, also, see that she is not so apt to do battle with the Red-tailed Hawks or the north side falcons. Let’s face it, you don’t get into a bar fight when you are nine months pregnant.
The tiercel is constantly bringing in prey, sometimes to her directly or stashing it in one of his many larders. If what we are seeing is correct, we should see incubation begin around the weekend of March 2-3. This will be confirmed by the tiercel taking his turn at brooding. In past years, watching this behavior, it seems the tiercel spends 35% of time brooding to the falcon’s 65%. The time off the nest that he gives her has to be spent eating, digesting and exercising so as to keep the muscles from atrophying. It is a delicate balance between the two to bring this about in a month’s time without the eggs being uncovered for more than a minute.
Happy trails, Bob
P.S. Before we had a WordPress website, we used Facebook to deliver information. This was our Facebook entry:
“March 4, 2012. This is the first day of brooding observed. At 12 noon there was an exchange. The female left the nest and the male went in to sit on the eggs.”
As you can see, we are only one day off from last year’s entry. That is if we are correct.