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.
We have a new camera! The Misericordia cam has come on board thanks to Covenant Health (and of course, our program sponsor: TransAlta). All of our peregrine 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).
Update: August 3, 2018
Reports from this site have the two youngsters flying well and spending a lot of time playing tag together... and then resting only to start over again.
Update: July 24, 2018
We've been trying to get a look at the band of the male at this site and we are about 92% sure that he's D01 who was Green Girl's beau (for long enough to fertilize the eggs before being chased off by B72) at Weber last year. We're happy to see he has a new home.
Update: July 9, 2018
The chicks here have been banded and two of them have been taken out to the hack site. This male and female are an excellent team and are having no trouble keeping the remaining two chicks fed.
Update: June 29, 2018
The female is definitely getting the hang of feeding her chicks. As well as the lesson about getting the food IN them instead of ON them, she has also learned to move the prey to the chicks rather than waiting for them to toddle over to her.
The male here is an outstanding provider. He does all the things you'd want a falcon to do: food delivery, topping up the chicks after a feed, and cleaning up the box once the chicks have eaten. This last one is pretty important; when chicks are this young, no food should be left in the box. This new female does not seem to know that though, so she's been stashing food in the corner. Generally speaking, the male has been instrumental in showing the female how to raise the chicks.
Update: June 19, 2018
These chicks are very eager eaters! Unfortunately, the female is a very slow feeder who tends to get more food ON them than IN them. Added to this, is that a peregrine's water source is the blood of its prey, so with this heat, the chicks could easily fall into distress. The chicks have been examined by the Biologist in Charge and found to be healthy so far. As with all the peregrines in these nestboxes, they will continue to be watched closely.
Update: June 14, 2018
A chick has hatched!
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 (Egg #4 showed up May 12) and the male and female 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
Two eggs laid in front of the new camera so far. Egg #1 showed up Saturday afternoon and Egg #2 last night.
The male is banded but we have not been able to get a good look at the band number.
Let’s go back to 1992—when scrunchies, Michael Jackson, and an infamous female peregrine reigned. RED G over H, nicknamed the “flying scalpel,” rates as one of the most violent peregrine falcons ever to nest in Edmonton! She was a captive-raised peregrine, first seen hanging out on the Cabrini Center of the Misericordia Complex. Her territorial instincts only grew, with her taking ownership of Inland Cement, U of A, and eventually, downtown on the Bell Tower. We’re guessing she was 12 or 13 years old when she disappeared—let’s just say downtown window washers didn’t mourn her passing.
The Misericordia site remained unoccupied until 2008, when a female peregrine born two years before at the University of Calgary hooked up with an unbanded male. This female has occupied the site ever since, having at least three different mates.
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.