During video analysis today we located a piece of footage which appears to show a cracked third and final egg beneath Swift (video clip to go up soon…). We’re still monitoring but if this is indeed a cracked egg and not merely an early hatching then it will be the first observed season in the Project’s time frame where an entire clutch has failed.
If this is the case we will endeavour to enter the eyrie shortly and obtain any remaining samples of discarded egg to see if we can have the shell analysed for any weaknesses, toxins etc. At this stage we cannot rule out possible calcium or structural deficiencies which may be contributing to this situation. We can at least point to several clumsy moments in entering and leaving the eyrie by Beau (in particular)! In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s peregrine falcon sub-species around the world were threatened with extinction by the use of DDT in agricultural production. Indeed sub-species in eastern USA had lost their battle, but populations in that region have returned by re-introducing cross-bred sub-species. Since those dark days the numbers of peregrines worldwide have improvedwith the ban on the use of DDT, but peregrines are not safe yet.
It is known, and has been recorded, that an early season failed clutch could possibly be followed by a second later mating attempt. All is not lost and we would love to be able to say that today’s deduction has been incorrect! We will be closely monitoring the Concrete Hilton over the next few days.
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