On 2nd April, two days after the pine trees were felled (coincidence?), Beau was seen for the last time. Four days later another male appeared, which I initially assumed was him. But I’m now pretty much convinced this is a different bird. I’ve compared photos from previous years (from website, I don’t have any suitable ones on file) and there are distinct, although subtle, differences in the head and chest patterns.
Moreover, the behavioural differences are striking. Prior to his departure, Beau would pace around the box, at least twice an hour when he was in residence, stopping to scrape at two different nest sites in the box. This behaviour has completely stopped; in fact our new male hardly goes in the box at all and when he first arrived he was quite nervous, constantly glancing around.
Courtship stopped, but resumed on 12th April ie after six days. This seems to make sense. Swift started bringing food into the box, almost as if this were for him. Although initially she chased him off, eventually she left him to it.
I’m not sure what has happened. Perhaps Beau got tangled up with the cockatoos or met some other misadventure. The good news is that Swift seems to have accepted her new mate quite quickly – and shows there must have been other peregrines around looking for a territory. I just hope it isn’t one of her offspring…..
I’ve asked the guys working on the Aboriginal Nature and Bioscience Park to think of a name for our new bird in the Wiradjuri language (as we did for our first bird, Midgee). Have to rush, more next week.
I’ve also attached (top) a picture of Swift after taking refuge during one of the storms this week.