Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Fourth Egg

The adult female is about to leave the nest as the male has just arrived to take over for a short while. Click image to enlargeWe now have confirmation of a fourth egg, laid on Tuesday morning between 8.30am - 10.30am.
It's unlikely that another egg will be laid, as incubation is known to start in earnest after the penultimate egg appears. A review of the last few days footage shows that both parents are now incubating almost continuously.

All four eggs starred briefly on BBC TV's regional news this evening, and we're hopeful tomorrow will see some developments on the IT front which will bring live pictures on the web one step closer. - Please watch this space for further news.

Two adults and one of last year's chicks all together on the nest platform. Female in foreground, male to right, juvenile on edge of nest platform. Click image to enlargeOne event which we did not expect to see was the repeated appearance at the nest of one of last year's chicks - now a juvenile. It is browner in colour than the adults and has white patches on its head. On two separate occasions over the Easter weekend our cameras and video recorder captured the young bird intimidating the male so much that he ceases incubating and flies away. It then spends about five minutes investigating the eggs - even giving one an accidental kick whilst indulging in some practice nest-scraping, before the adult female appears and gently takes over the incubation of the eggs. Its presence seems to be tolerated, and it's likely to remain around all summer, perhaps even helping to feed this year's chicks.

The juvenile peregrine really lays into the adult male to get him to get off the eggs. Click image to enlargeThe photo on the right shows the juvenile bird from last year having a good go at the incubating male. We see lots of claws and wing flapping until he eventually gives up and moves away. We know that our birds are not reluctant to see off both buzzards and other peregrines that enter their airspace, so its clear that they are willing to tolerate the presence of the young bird. Perhaps anthropomorphically, we've could liken the juvenile's actions to those of a teenager, copying some of the actions of the parents without fully appreciating what's going on. The parents tolerate this behaviour as they've already invested a lot in its upbringing. Perhaps in return it will do a spot of baby-sitting for them!

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