Egg laying time nears

Bonding and prey-giving intensifies as the day draws near, as does mating. Last year the first egg was on 26 August, and most first eggs have been within a few days of this date. As the day gets closer, Diamond will spend more and more time in the box, preparing her scrape and resting, perhaps even straining a bit in the hours before laying.

Most of the prey recently has been starling. This would be good as starlings are a pest in this area. Unfortunately, Diamond doesn’t seem to like them and only taken them as a last resort. She will feed them to the chicks, however.

Bonding duration has varied from less than a minute to one extraordinary session over four hours, although they both feel asleep (or so it appeared) for part of that time. In this video from two days ago, Xavier arrived so early that Diamond was still asleep:

The parents need to keep close to the tower at this time of year in case of intruders, often called ‘floater’ falcons…these are falcons that don’t have a territory of their own, but are keeping an eye on our Concrete Hilton as prime real estate. In this video Xavier is dive-bombed by an intruder, but he barely ducks, then you see Diamond chasing him or her (probably the latter) off

Mating has increased to at least nine times per day (none today when it is cold, wet and very windy) on the tower. The duration of each mating has increased slightly too. Mating usually ceases once full-time incubation starts.