I couldn’t see exactly because of the camera angle, but Xavier has certainly tried to mate with Diamond (and the ‘kicking episode’ was I think another aborted attempt) – in fact while she was covering the eyases. This is unusual behaviour for our birds; while the sulphur-crested cockatoos carry on as if the nest-box was a brothel, the falcons have always cemented their relationships outside (not in any demure way, I should add, as it often happens right on top of the water tower!).
Although Xavier hasn’t brought much food into the box and when he does, he is a bit shy of handing it over, I think he is hunting and handing prey over outside and probably also using a cache as Diamond often comes back with prey dressed to eat in a time period that is not possible for her to have made the kill herself. In fact I’ve seen her chase after X when he does a fly-past (probably with prey, but I couldn’t see).
I’m not concerned about the naughtiness of Xavier in not handing over the prey. That was common with other males, at least to start with and I think he is probably a first-time “father”. I don’t know if behaviour is different from actual fathers…something I’ll look into when I get time, but I do think they have to learn how to raise chicks and Diamond appears to be happy to teach him.
Prey has been difficult to identify due to it generally being well plucked and dismembered, but there have definitely been pigeons, starlings and rosellas (I think this is probably a crimson rosella), all good sized birds and I’ve noticed that Diamond is usually careful to see that all three chicks get a feed.
And yes we probably should start thinking about names. I was reluctant before as I wasn’t confident of any chicks surviving, but I’m feeling better about this now. What about naming them for local eucalypt species where they roost? dives,(pronounced: DIVE-es), melliodora, viminalis, bridgesiana, rubida, mannifera, blakelyi (perhaps suitably abbreviated: dive, mell, vim, bridge, roob, manni, blake). Of course, they are pretty difficult to sex or tell apart until they are a few weeks old, but one can try!
Put a post up with your three favourites and I’ll do a quick poll!
I’m busy with preparing our site for tree-planting and propagation Thursday and Friday, and the day itself is on Saturday, but will keep an eye on things and will come in on Sunday to try and catch up.