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Some peregrine chicks are missing!
Where did they go?
Don't worry—they’re safe. Peregrine biologists remove some of the chicks to a breeding facility and then the Pembina Hack Site. There are a couple of different reasons to do this. First, it’s much safer for the chicks when they are unlikely to crash into buildings or cars while learning to fly. Second, this is where they belong—historically, peregrines nest in cliffs, not buildings. And because they often return to where they learned to fly, the chicks will return next year to start their own families near the Pembina River.
Update: August 3, 2018
The chicks are doing well after the renovation--they spend quite a bit of time in the nestbox as they're a little behind the other sites. We'll be seeing a lot more wing-flapping and preening before we hear of any first flights.
Update: July 30, 2018
The chick, who had been left in the box after its ailing siblings were removed, was taken out and treated while the box was cleaned and the pea-gravel changed so that it's no longer contaminated. Once the cleaning was complete, the chick was put back in along with one of its siblings who has been cured.
Update: July 18, 2018
It took a little longer than the other nest boxes but the chicks have been banded at this site and will hopefully start fledging in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, two of the young have been removed because of disease, but will be returned to the site when they're better.
Update: July 9, 2018
Charlotte is certainly getting the hang of feeding now. Apparently her life mission is to stuff these three chicks until they burst. The good news is that no one is going hungry!
Update: June 29, 2018
Three of the four eggs have hatched and Charlotte is learning from Bill how to raise chicks. They are eating well and looking healthy.
Update: June 25, 2018
Better late than never! There are a couple of balls of fluff at this site; hatching started on Saturday. So far, Charlotte is busy figuring out the mechanics of feeding. She has learned that dropping the prey on the chick's head is not overly effective.
Update: June 19, 2018
There's no arguing that this site has seen a lot of drama this year. So this nest box, understandably, got a late start. We're still awaiting hatching.
Update: June 6, 2018
We're getting very close to hatch time!
Unborn peregrine chicks have what’s called a “hatching muscle”—a large muscle that runs from the middle of the neck to the top of the head. After 30 days of incubation, the muscle contracts, causing the chicks head to snap outwards, starting the hatching process.
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Update: May 31, 2018
Though the weather this week has been a little cool, the birds don’t sit on those eggs just to warm them up. Eggs can take some degree of cooling, but more importantly, they need to be protected from direct sunlight and heat otherwise they will dry out and kill the embryos.
And you may have noticed that during the hot weather, the birds will pant, kind of like a dog. Birds don’t sweat because water is too heavy to carry in flight, so they pant to cool.
Update: May 23, 2018
As of yesterday, there are four eggs at this site. Incubation will take a little longer for this nest, but they're well on their way. If you've ever wondered how chicks breathe while stuck inside the eggs: eggshells are porous and allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through.
Update: May 16, 2018
There's an egg! This nest is getting started a little late because of all the drama but there's finally an egg and they're on their way to being a family.
Update: May 11, 2018
The territorial fight between Charlotte and N53 has been settled. Unfortunately it ended pretty violently; N53's body was spotted by people on the site and removed by the lead biologist of the peregrine program.
Bill and Charlotte have been bonding in the box and now that things have settled down, we may see some eggs in the next little while.
Update: May 2, 2018
Big drama at this site. Remember when Bill ditched Charlotte for another female in 2016? Seems like Charlotte (K14) is back and she and N53 (the female he was with last year) have been fighting over the site. Not only that but it looks like Bill (we're pretty sure it's Bill) and another male have been been all-out brawling (cage match?) to see who wins the site.
Last year, we weren’t able to get a feed to this camera, but it’s up and running now! In 2016, a two-year-old female laid four eggs but because this is a lot for such a young bird, the eggs were swapped out with a chick. “Bruce” successfully fledged. Last year, before the camera shut down, Bill and Charlotte (adoptive parents of Bruce) were spotted from the ground… that is until Bill ditched Charlotte for another female. Stay tuned to find out if Bill is still around and who his new friend is.
Species at Risk
Although the peregrine falcon and the ferruginous hawk get a lot of attention because they are obviously excessively cool, there are many other interesting species that are considered to be Species at Risk, and there is no good reason not to learn about them! For example, the greater sage grouse is a very unique looking upland bird and there are very few left in Alberta. Also check out some of the bat conservation initiatives in Alberta.