A changing of the guard

It seems that there has been a complete overhaul of our peregrines.  Focusing on the female, I noticed that, although she looked similar, with her puffy, spotty chest, she seemed younger and sprightlier with slightly duller beak and feet (which I put down to not being breeding season).  But if you look at these two photos,  one from July last year (top), and one from February this year (thank you, Clare) (bottom) they are clearly different birds.

Swift July 2014
Swift July 2014

Swift 11 February 2015 ClareOther evidence is that after late January, she no longer lay down in the box to sleep at any time of the day or night (prior to that she would regularly sleep in the box during the night, but often during the day, too).  This bird only stands on the ledge at night, when she’s there.

What’s odd is that there was no ‘gap’ in the data apart from a day or so, so the new girl must have been around a while.  We had a lot of fierce thunderstorms late January and early February, so perhaps this was the death knell for our Swift.   Maybe the new one is one of our youngsters hence knew where the box was, but I hope not.    I do hope we don’t have siblings mating (another good reason for banding….).

I notice she has a diamond shaped pattern of spots on the left side of her chest, so thought of calling her Diamond.  What do you think?

This female seems to have two suitors:  one I’m calling Streak as he has a clear black streak on his neck (particularly pronounced on the left side), but another who doesn’t (and looks like Beau, but I don’t think it is him, based on behaviour).   The Wiradjuri name for ‘two’ is Bula, which I quite like, but I’ll stick to ‘Streak’ for the moment to avoid confusion.  Streak seems to have the upper hand at present.  Often you can’t see the streak due to the angle of the head or if you can only see his right side, but it’s really clear and long when you can.

Hopefully, a clearer picture will emerge shortly and things settle down.  Our new female is busy preparing a scrape, so we could have an early season.

Incidentally if you are having difficulty putting comments on the website, you can contact me directly ckinross[at]csu.edu.au  (you replace the [at] with a  @).

Streak - close up of his left neck
Streak – close up of his left neck

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