Fourth Egg Laid!
The female peregrine falcon laid the fourth egg of her clutch at 12:05 pm this afternoon. In the photo below, the fourth egg is visible on the left, under the female’s bill. Freshly laid eggs typically have a luster, as you can see with the new egg compared to the previously laid eggs by the female’s feet, which are duller in appearance. Although peregrine falcons can lay up to five eggs, four eggs are the most common clutch size in Virginia. This has also been true for the Richmond pair over their breeding history. In all likelihood, this fourth egg marks the final egg of this year’s clutch. However, this pair did surprise us by laying five eggs in 2013, so there is the possibility that another surprise could be in store!
When will the eggs hatch? In previous breeding seasons, the Richmond falcons have experienced a 38-day period between the laying of their first egg and the first hatch. If this trend continues, we can expect to see a first hatching on Monday, April 27th. In the meantime, we will continue to observe the eggs and the incubation behaviors of the parents. Scroll down to view highlights from today and an incubation exchange between the male and female that took place earlier this week.
Female falcon in the process of laying her fourth egg.
The male falcon returns to the nest box for the first time after the fourth egg’s arrival, but the female holds tight to her incubation position.
The male and female falcons communicate during an incubation exchange on Thursday, March 26th. This exchange begins at the 2:10 mark.