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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.
The birds have come back for what we hope will be the best season yet. Cameras are equipped with HD night vision for 24-hour viewing. Watch the peregrines hatch, raise and nurture their chicks and gently guide them into adulthood (as only somewhat violent birds of prey can do).
The peregrines are monitored 24/7 and biologists are informed directly if there are any concerns. Occasionally, eggs or chicks may be removed from the nests and taken to a hack site to ensure proper growth.
Update: July 9, 2018
These chicks have been banded and two of them have been taken out to the hack site. Green Girl and her male companion are left with two healthy girls to nurture and feed.
Update: June 29, 2018
Green Girl and the male here are doing a great job of keeping these four fed and happy. Green Girl has started feeding them just out in front of the box rather than in it--step one of eventually fledging.
Update: June 19, 2018
Not much to report here. There are just four healthy, rapidly growing chicks.
Update: June 11, 2018
These birds did not take the weekend off. Sometime over the weekend, all four eggs hatched and this pair has a full nest.
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 22, 2018
There are four eggs at this site and the unbanded male and Green Girl are taking turns with incubating. 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.
Weekend Update: May 8, 2018
OH BOY! It never ends at this site. Remember last year when B72 came along and ousted D01? Well B72 has gotten a taste of his own medicine. B72 has not been seen since April 30, when a new, high-flying, unbanded male took things over, including the two eggs already laid by Green Girl. The new male is an excellent flyer, good provider, and has done all that could be asked for from a male peregrine so far. The chicks will ultimately be half-siblings, as two are B72's and two are the new guy's.
Update: May 2, 2018
We may rename this box "the nest of high drama." Around four hours after the first egg was laid, an unbanded male entered the box and has been in and out since. B72 and Green Girl have been bonding (and presumably the egg was fertilized by B72, but the presence of the unbanded male adds a smidgen of uncertainty). B72 has been chasing off the unbanded male but only time will tell who stays the course with Green Girl.
Update: May 1, 2018
Egg number one was laid yesterday afternoon.
Update: April 17, 2018
Green Girl has been spotted near this site. There is a male as well, but we're not yet sure who. Is it B72 or has D01 returned as her rightful beau?
It was exciting news at Weber when it was confirmed that D01 returned to Green Girl, but he ultimately lost a testosterone–fueled challenge! Although D01 wasn’t injured, the new male, B72, made sure he was no longer welcome. Despite the initial uproar, all four Weber chicks thrived. Green Girl was a very attentive mom and B72 provided his new family with many small meals throughout the day. The chicks learned a lot from their parents, flying with ease. Both adults, particularly B72, inherited the flying style of their father (Chase at the U of A)—so it’s a family of speed demons and daredevils!
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.