5. Life cycles

Yearly life cycles

Peregrines mate for life and with suitable conditions will live for up to 15 years raising chicks year after year. There are two pair at Morro Rock, one on the north side and one on the south face. The south facing pair includes a female who has had three mates over a period of ten years and raised twenty one chicks. 2012 is her eleventh season that we have observed.


The breeding cycle of the peregrines at Morro Rock starts in mid-December around Christmas. Courtship is expressed by acrobatic maneuvers made by the male making extremely fast flights, loops and inverted turns past the female who is frequently sitting on any of the various perches of the rock face. Often they will sit side by side on a rock called the “throne” closely watching each other.


On January 2, 2012, our local pair was ready and began breeding. The falcon went deliberately into a submissive horizontal squat. The tiercel then flew over her and landed upon her, completing copulation. Before breeding season, the tiercel had testes that had become small due to lack of use. Copulation starts with once or twice a day and continually becomes more frequent in the following weeks. Just before egg laying they can be breeding every hour. These first copulations were short (5-6 seconds), but increased in frequency and time (18 seconds) as the weeks passed.

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