|Head-bowing courtship behaviour - see video below|
First, we see the falcon (female bird) on the nest ledge where she had just arrived. It’s 8th February, 7:30am local time (GMT) and dawn is breaking, and the cameras are still in night-mode. She spends a considerable amount of time moving slowly around the nest scrape, picking at debris and possibly consuming small pieces of grit. It seems unlikely that she was picking at insects as it was far too cold and early in the season for that.
Next we see the typical courtship routine of head-bowing and eee-chupp calls from the female. We expect to see the pair mating on the tower during March, and as a precursor to this, we will see a lot of courtship activity. Typical of this is the head-down eee-chupp sequence that follows. It was 11th February, and our male has just arrived at the nest ledge and the female flies in, landing just off camera. They face each other, heads bowed, with the female making an “eee-chup, eee-chup “ call, with the male also calling in the same way. During this display the male may remain absolutely motionless for many minutes. But eventually it seems that his nerve gives in and he suddenly flees the nest, leaving the female behind. Though not seen on this occasion, she often then moves slowly forward and stands inside the nest scrape.
We ask that any webcam viewers seeing interesting activity to make a note of the date and time and to post a comment on this blog. We won't be able to retrieve every one of them, but we can use your feedback to quickly obtain and post as many interesting clips as we are able, given our resources.