Monday, 18 February 2008

Courtship Activity

Close-up of female peregrine standing in the nest scrape. Click image to enlarge. Welcome. If you're a first time visitor to this blog you may wish to read an overview of the peregrine project, or add your name to our mailing list (see below)

The courtship phase has now begun, although it does seem to involve a lot of standing around. Our peregrine falcons were quite unmoved by our recent abseil to prepare their nest ledge for 2008. Within a day they were back on the platform, bowing intently at one another. We should see more and more of this activity in the weeks ahead.
Courtship in most birds is triggered by increasing day-length, and peregrines are no exception. It usually begins with the male standing in the nest scrape that he (mostly) has made. The female arrives with loud and repeateThe smaller male does most of the work in maintaining the nest scrape. Click image to enlarge.d "ee-chupp" calls. With his head down, the male remains static for four or five minutes, stared at by the larger female on the far side of the nest ledge. Almost looking as if his nerve suddenly gives out, he flies off, leaving the female alone. A minute or two may pass before she plods over and stands in the empty nest scrape. Turning a few times, she may also give a few scrapes at the gravel herself, before eventually moving to the edge of the ledge where she may remain for some time.

The much larger female will move over to inspect the scrape after the male has finished his head-bowing display and has flown off. Click inage to enlarge. You may be lucky enough to see head-bowing or nest-scraping activity in the freeze-frame of our webcams. You may also witness the male pass food to the female - another important part of their courtship.

The webcams have now been readjusted, with camera 1 set to the centre of the scrape. We hope to upgrade the webcam service for 2008 so as to give a much faster image refresh, plus a photo archive facility. We'll keep you informed of all these developments in the months ahead.

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Note: We've now moved the overview of our Peregrine Project to be the first entry for January 2008.


Ash said...

I note that the materials seem to be different on the two floor sections of the there any particular reason for this?

Karen Anne said...

I just saw a peregrine! I can't say how long it's been since I saw one on he nest box. Then s/he was gone in a flicker of an eyelash. So happy to see one again.

Nick Brown said...

re. the substrate question: small pea gravel seemed like the right sort of material for eggs to be laid on - so that's what we chose for the left side of the platform and it seems to have worked fine over the last two years.
The slate chippings on the other side were more an accident than a real choice as I recall. This is the side the growing chicks gradully move over to as they get bigger and want more space, so we figured any stoney substrate would do for that.
As you will know, peregrines never bring any materials to the nest, just using whatever happens to be there. On cliff ledges it is often soil and other rock rubble, on urban ledges it may well be debris left by pigeons over the years.
Nick B

Anonymous said...

11.54pm BC Canada
Falcon on the nest, can Spring be far away :)

Anonymous said...

Falcon on right hand cam 10.17am (today 21/2) Such a beautiful sight.

Karen Anne said...

Falcon on the right camera. Seems a bit sleepy.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful peregrine still there 3.00p.m.!!

Pax said...

Pax 12.11am
falcon on right side of nest

Jackie said...

It's really good to see them back, though I don't know which one I'm seeing because I still can't tell the male from the female when there is only one bird on the tray.

Is there any chance that you'll be able to constant stream images this year. I feel a bit ungrateful asking - you give us this wonderful site, and I just ask for more. But it would give a much better idea of how they behave.

But I'll be rivited again this year anyway.

Karen Anne said...

Falcon on the nest box, preening.

Anonymous said...

The pair of Ravens are back! They appear to investigating nest sites on the tower. The Pregrines are natuarally taking strong objection to this and are trying to drive the Ravens off! A truly spectacular display for bystanders in Irongate. Much that I like Ravens as well, I hope the Pergegrines win!


mark murfin said...

one on nest box (female) and male on ledge below...awsome can't wait for them to breed.