Good progress in the eyrie

Chicks are progressing well; sometimes the prey items have still left them hungry and then along comes another fat galah or similar to fill them up.  Quill feathers are showing and even a little bit of tail.

They are very active, with lots of wing flapping now and often come close to the ledge.  I wouldn’t fret too much about that.  We’ve only had one chick go over the ledge in nine years and that was a chick asleep very close to the ledge during a bad storm and he pretty much fell or was blown out (and never recovered) about five days prior to fledging.   They seem to have a good instinct about these things and there’s little chance of rock climbers here!

And the mouths are cavernous!
And the mouths are cavernous!

Juvenile starlings are starting to appear on the menu – although small, they are very plentiful – and a pest, so good to see.   They are less brighly coloured than the adults, quite dull in comparison, often a dull brown, with the throat appearing lighter in colour.

juvenile starling for lunch
juvenile starling for lunch

Not sure about the gender yet – actually quite tricky.  When banders are determining sex, they take measurements to be sure, but we can’t really do that.  That’s because although females are larger when adult, males can develop more quickly.  Within a week though the females should be looking a bit bigger.  And when they all sit lined up on the ledge, it can be helpful.

I estimate that first flight could be any time from 11th November.  Last year the male went off quickly (and strongly), followed by one of the females, with the sister waiting another couple of days.  All had exceptionally good first flights, so let’s hope that is the case this year, too.

I have to go to a bushire management meeting this afternoon and to Wellington for a habitat management workshop tomorrow, but will look in on Saturday or Sunday.  Happy chick spotting.


14 thoughts

  1. 7.30 pm Diamond feeding
    Evenings look so peaceful

    Shepherd notes –
    – ‘chick asleep very close to the ledge during a bad storm and he pretty much fell or was blown out ‘
    – Chances are very good the parent found him and fed him and he is fine. Remember – THEY LIVE ON CLIFFS! A Minnesota USA falcon (GSB) had pre-fledge chicks fall – all 4 of them! – and they were just fine – found on the ground later. We called it a – fludge! If I could post links I’d do it but then it wouldnt post til a mod ok’d it.

    Guesses on sexes –
    The males feather out first. Soon we will see if lil Vim is a male.
    The females tend to remain whiter longer, and are always FIRST for the food! We will watch Rubi.

    It always seems I wake one morning and one of their breasts is spotted with brown. It always seems sudden.

    At GSB the juvie males appeared to try to warn sisters – protect is instinct. Of course, there are always banding errors, a male lays eggs! LOL! North Dakota falcon was banded female, but he is male.

  2. Thank you, Arjen, for the videos. My live connection has been freezing up for the past couple of days so I appreciate the videos!

  3. You’re welcome, Christie. I’m not able to capture everything, but I fill the gaps in the nestcam video, with parts of the ledgecam, if it is available.

    They can’t eat no more, crops are bursting 🙂
    8:52 Feeding 4,

  4. Vim seems to have a bare spot on his tummy.
    Anyone notice?
    Precious to see one laying at the window with mom <3

    It appered a storm is kickin up

  5. After a dire 24 hours here, camwise, here’s the tea-time prey delivery:

    Thinking of dear Aspro, who was lifted out of the scrape by a gust of wind, November 2014 :'(

  6. I’m afraid with our chick two years ago, it wasn’t ever fed by parents or found, despite much searching. I suspect it was taken by a cat in the night. We know this as it was a sole chick and we would have known if the parents had fed him.

    What is GSB?

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