Posted by: grperegrines | 05/02/2018

5/2/18: 2nd hatch – GVSU nest

The second chick hatched overnight and is looking healthy.  Check out the pictures posted on the Peregrine Falcon Southwest Michigan Facebook page.  You can find a link to that page in the list on the right hand side.

Now the real fun begins!

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Posted by: grperegrines | 05/01/2018

5/1/18: First hatch – GVSU nest

first hatchling 2018At 12:04pm today, Mom stood up to reveal a very wet first chick.  The second egg appears intact, with no pips visible, so incubation will likely continue.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/30/2018

4/30/18: Two active nests in Grand Rapids

This afternoon I finally checked on the Kent County Courthouse nest box.  An adult peregrine was doing some rearranging and/or egg rolling before settling down to incubate.  The second adult was keeping watch from the SW corner of the grey elevator shaft on the south side of Children’s Hospital.  It is likely that they laid their eggs after the GVSU pair laid their’s, but there really is no way to know until we see chicks.

As for the GVSU pair, I think it is very likely that the hatching process has begun.  The adults are not sitting down as far, and they are holding their wings slightly out from their bodies, which generally means brooding.  However, there were two intact eggs at my last view of them about 2pm this afternoon.  Remember that it can take a day for a chick to break out of the egg, so not to worry yet.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/24/2018

4/24/18: Hatching in Kalamazoo

The peregrines in Kalamazoo have two little fluff balls and a pip in a third egg.  You can watch all the happenings on their live stream here.  Our eggs were laid about a week after the Kalamazoo pair, so we have at least a few days to go before we can expect signs of hatching.

You can also follow the news about the Kalamazoo nest and others in the area on the Peregrine Falcons Southwest Michigan Facebook page.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/16/2018

4/16/18: Down to two

I was alerted by an email this morning that there were only two eggs in the GVSU nest box.  During a shift change just a few minutes ago I was finally able to confirm the bad news.  Somehow, in the last 10 days or so, two eggs were lost.  Like last year, there is no evidence of broken shells in the box, so it is impossible to know what happened.   Here’s hoping they have managed to keep the remaining eggs well sheltered from all this unseasonable cold weather.

I’d be interested to know when someone last saw 3 or 4 eggs.  You can email me or add a comment to this post.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/04/2018

4/4/18: The Wait Continues

It seems that this year’s clutch in the GVSU nest box is complete with four eggs.  Full incubation likely began between eggs 3 and 4, as temperatures got back down near freezing.  If that estimate is accurate, hatching could begin as early as April 28, though May 1 is more likely.

In the meantime, enjoy watching the two adults take turns sitting on the eggs.  Look for patterns in their timing, they often develop a loose schedule.  And, if you are like me, you might find yourself yelling at the male to cover those eggs better.  His smaller size makes it tougher for him to get all four tucked in properly.  (Remember that the male has a clean white upper chest, while the female has spots all the way up her chest.)

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/28/2018

3/28/18: Egg #4 is here

Some time between 8am and 11am this morning, Majestic laid her fourth egg. (Many thanks, again, to Kathy from GVSU for her diligence!)  This is earlier than I expected, and is probably the last egg.  A fifth egg is possible, but not particularly likely.

At this point I would expect incubation to really get going.  The eggs may still be exposed, especially in warmer weather, but usually not for very long.  Once real incubation begins, it’s 32-35 days before hatching.  One result of not starting full incubation right away is that the eggs hatch closer together, generally within a day or two.  The male and female share incubation duties, though the female is generally there for longer.

I still haven’t gotten down for a look into the courthouse box, but I did see a falcon on the corner of the courthouse yesterday.  Considering it was raining at the time, it is possible there is an egg there, too.  If any one has seen falcon activity in that vicinity, please let me know!

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/26/2018

3/26/18: Egg #3

Thank you to Kathy from GVSU, who let me know that the 3rd egg arrived in the GVSU nest sometime between dark last night and 8am this morning.  If there will be another egg, I’d expect it to be laid late on Wednesday or perhaps early on Thursday.  It is typical for it to take longer for each egg to be produced.

There is still no news about nesting activity in the Courthouse nest box, other than a few reports of falcons in the area.

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/23/2018

3/23/18: First Egg!

Update: The second egg appeared sometime between noon and 2:15pm today.  A third egg could show up by late Sunday.  This probably means the first egg was laid on Wednesday, not yesterday.

Yes, it’s here and the camera was moved back into position right on time.  Majestic, our adult female again this year, stayed in the nest box last night, which generally indicates the presence of eggs.  So, I’m pretty sure this egg was laid sometime yesterday, the 22nd. (If anyone saw her stay in the box Wednesday night, let me know!) Eggs are usually laid every other day, and a normal clutch is 3 or 4, though I’ve seen up to six.

Full incubation starts after several eggs are laid, so don’t worry if you see the first eggs uncovered for a bit.  The eggs won’t cool that quickly, especially if the sun is on them.  As I type this Dad has returned to cover the egg, but he’s still fussing with the landscaping.  Now Mom is here to take proper care of her treasure.

By the way, the easiest way to tell our male and female apart is by the amount of grey spots/streaks on their upper chest.  Majestic (Mom) has spots nearly to her chin, while Dad (not yet identified, but same as last year) has a mostly clean upper chest.  Mom is also about 1/3 larger than Dad, but that is hard to judge when seeing just one of them.

 

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/01/2018

3/1/18: Check out the GVSU webcam

The peregrines that claim the nest box on GVSU’s Eberhard Center have been visiting the nest box several times a day.  Most of the time it appears to be the same male as last year.  He enters the box, checks out the bottom of the box, possibly rearranging the gravel to create a depression for the eggs.  Sometimes he perches on the front rail for a time before leaving.  Occasionally he is joined by the female in the box.  I haven’t gotten a complete look at her bands, but it sure looks like Majestic.

GVSU webcam can be found here.

My best guess is that they won’t lay eggs until the last week of March or early April, which is typical for the peregrines in this area.  If the weather stays warmer than usual, however, they could lay earlier.  As egg laying time gets closer, we might catch the pair mating on the front rail, but in my experience, most mating is done away from the nest box.

As always, please let me know when and where you see the falcons.  Observations of mating are of special interest right now.  By the way, I haven’t gotten many reports of falcons in or around the courthouse box.  It would be great to confirm that a pair is also using that box.

In response to an earlier question, yes, the nest box now has an access for safely banding the chicks.

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