Week One Update
As of tomorrow, May 20th, the peregrine falcon chick will be one week old. To date, biologists have documented daily feedings which have been provided primarily by the female, and occasionally from the male. The chick appears to be developing according to schedule, evidenced by its substantial increase in size, overall alertness, and ability to sit up in a relatively stable position. Over the course of the next few days, the chick will begin to develop a second coat of down which serves to further insulate it from heat loss. Although we still expect to see the chick spending most of its time sleeping and being brooded by the adults, be on the lookout for other behaviors like preening, stretching its wings and legs, and even moving about the nest box, which we may begin to see in the second week.
At this point, it is unlikely that we will see any of the remaining three eggs hatch as we are well outside of the typical hatching window. On average, a four egg clutch hatches synchronously within one to two days’ time. Unhatched peregrine falcon eggs generally remain in the nest or become cracked and broken during the course of chick rearing. In past years, the previous peregrine falcon pair has even been documented consuming the unhatched eggs. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologists plan on accessing the ledge and banding the chick when it is approximately four weeks of age. If the unhatched eggs are still intact and available at this time they will be collected and may be tested for contaminants.