If you are a peregrine falcon fan like me, you may have been keeping your eye on a specific breeding pair over the last few weeks. Perhaps you have had your binoculars out and attended a local ‘peregrine watch’, or have been tuning in to a live camera online. As mentioned in my previous post, the birds I am watching this year are once again Nottingham Trent University’s resident peregrine falcons and Leicester Cathedral’s pair. (I will also be keeping up to date with the Coventry peregrines via their Twitter account).
After noting that last year Mrs P, the Nottingham female, laid her first egg on 17th March, I have been periodically checking the camera since the beginning of March, during the snow storms and then spring-like weather, to look out for any signs of egg laying! I first noticed her sitting in the scrape on 9th March so knew the pair were getting ready for this year’s season, but then the ‘beast from the east’ returned to the UK! This did concern me as the nest box was covered in snow, but every time I checked between the 16th and 18th March, the male was hunkering down in the scrape.
As I had been away on holiday the week before, I wasn’t sure if there was already an egg being kept warm, but it was later announced that their first egg was laid in the early hours of Sunday 18th March. It took a few days before I got a glimpse of it, but I finally managed to grab a still image:
I also managed to save a great shot of one of the peregrines and the egg glowing warmly on the thermal camera:
On the 21st March, I thought Mrs P was preparing to lay her second egg, as she appeared to be in the ‘crouching’ position I witnessed last year, but there is still only one egg in the nest. As peregrine eggs tend to be laid at 2-3 day intervals, surely another will come along this weekend…
All stills taken from the NTU live cameras.
Both male and female have been sharing the incubation and I expect (hope) that by Easter, this attentive pair will have their full clutch of eggs to incubate!
The Leicester pair on the other hand are yet to lay any eggs, but there is nothing to worry about as peregrines usually lay eggs in late March / early April. The Leicester pair have however been very active – calling, posturing and scraping. I have seen both birds on their ledge, each spending different amounts of time in and around the back of the box.
Only time will tell if they have a successful breeding season!