Alcoa Anglesea Peregrine Falcon Webcam—2007 Archive

2007 Season Diary Updates
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - FINAL UPDATE
We have reached the end of another successful breeding season here at Alcoa Anglesea.  Our two chicks for 2007 Dash and Concorde have taken flight.  We hope you have enjoyed our inaugural season on the web and that you'll tune in again in 2008. If you have any feedback on the information and images we have provided this year, please contact us .

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The down feathers of the chicks is falling out on a regular basis and they spend much of their time actively trying to pull it out. Dash and Concorde have spent the last week exploring outside the nest box, flapping their wings and venturing further out on the perch each time until they finally dare to take off. This weekend they have both taken flight.  Unfortunately for us that means more time looking at an empty nest box while they are out and about learning to fly.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The adults no longer feed the chicks, but instead drop off carcasses and let the chicks tear the food up themselves. Even though the chicks appear to have voracious appetites, they are remarkably gentle with each other, and generally the chicks do not fight each other for food, but instead wait their turn. Click here to see Dash and Concorde having breakfast.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
What a difference a few days makes.  The chicks now have more feathers visible than white down.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
The chicks have grown to the point where they almost rival the adults in weight, but remain mostly covered in down. They have gained strength, and are able to walk a greater distance in the nest box, but remain somewhat clumsy. Click here to see Concorde and Dash venturing outside the enclosed section of the nest box showing off their mismatched plumage.
Monday, October 29, 2007
How can you tell if it is Concorde or Dash?  Apart from the size difference, the orientation of the leg bands is different between the male and female Peregrine Falcons in Victoria.  Concorde has a two-tone coloured aluminium band on his right leg and a white powder coated band on this left leg.  Dash has the same colour bands but on the opposite legs.  Each has a unique code combination on the two-tone aluminium band for identification.  The leg bands are placed on the chicks when they are large enough that their legs are fully grown, but not yet old enough to consider flying away when the researchers approach the nest. Click here to see Concorde getting his band.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
At this age the solid white coat of down the chicks have been sporting since hatching begins to be flecked with dark patches as the flight feathers begin to grow in. They even begin to flap their rapidly growing wings. Click here to see little Concorde trying his wings out.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
We are proud to formally introduce Dash and Concorde, Alcoa Anglesea's falcon chicks for 2007.  Even at three weeks of age, the size differences between the female and male are clearly evident. Weighing in at a very healthy 905g is our female, Dash, with all the characteristics to be as formidable as her mother.  More reserved and weighing in at 590g is our male, Concorde.  Sheila made her presence felt during the expedition up to retrieve the chicks - you thought we were joking about the hard hats!  And waited patiently for their return.  Click here to see Dash showing off her new bands.  The names for our falcon chicks this year were nominated by students from the Anglesea Primary School - good one guys!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Monday is banding day.  Between 9 -  10AM EST researchers from the Victorian Peregrine Project will travel up to the nest box to retrieve the two chicks for their health assessment and banding.  Mounted on an artificial structure 50 metres off the ground, the researchers take a leisurely trip up to the nest box in a travel tower.  A secure mode of transport which is very handy when in close proximity to territorial parents such as Sheila and Havoc.  The hard hats aren't just for show people!

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Now in their second week, the chicks are beginning to spend more time moving around the nest. Already at this age the chicks are becoming eager for food and the adults begin to give them larger chunks. The adults now need to leave the chicks alone at times so that both can hunt in order to satisfy the demand of the hungry chicks.  By now the parents are making food deliveries up to ten times a day.
How exhausting!

Friday, October 12, 2007
Each year we have a tradition to name the new falcon chicks.  This year as our birds have gone global, we're asking those
watching over the world wide web for nominations.  If you would like to nominate a name, please email us with your
nomination, whether it is suitable for male or female and what the name means to you.  For instance, Sheila is Australian slang
for a female whilst Havoc is derived from the old english word hafoc for falcon (or hawk) dating back to the middle ages of falconry. 
You can also check out the family tree for the names of the chicks from previous years.

Thursday, October 11, 2007
The chicks are beginning to stand up and become less willing to sit still under the adults.  During this week Sheila has spent
most of her time guarding the chicks, while the Havoc does most of the hunting.  Away from the camera, Havoc then delivers the
food to Sheila who then feeds the chicks at the nest.

Monday, October 8, 2007
Just the two of us.....It is now over a week since the first chick emerged from it's egg and it appears only two of the four eggs will hatch.

Whilst there is no explanation for why this happened at Anglesea in particular, a similar scenario occurred last year with only one of the four eggs hatching successfully.  There are several reasons why an egg may not hatch - parents may be incompatible or a parent may have left the nest for too long resulting in a drop in incubation temperature of the eggs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007
A second chick has emerged.  Click here to see Sheila delivering an early morning feed.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The first of the chicks has hatched.  Click here to see the little bundle of white fluff with the remaining eggs.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
It's the last couple of days before hatching and the female now becomes reluctant to leave the nest, and is aggressive towards the male if he offers to take over incubation.  Not that Havoc had much success moving Sheila from those eggs at any stage during incubation!  The eggs will generally hatch on successive days with the egg that was laid first hatching first.  Occasionally two eggs may hatch on the same day, or a day or two passes between hatching.  Click here to finally see a picture of Havoc with Sheila at the nest box.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Being at the top of the food chain isn't always easy.  Pesticides accumulate in small (not lethal) quantities in the tissues of small birds and mammals, but become concentrated enough in predatory birds, such as falcons, to kill them or impact upon reproduction.  About 40 years ago, Scientists discovered that organochlorine pesticides (DDT and dieldrin) reduced the falcons' ability to produce eggshells with sufficient calcium content.  Healthy birds were laying eggs so thin they were crushed by the weight of the incubating adult. Peregrine Falcons began dying out as a species worldwide with very few breeding pairs recorded resulting in wildlife scientists putting them on the endangered species in the 1960's.  Through a ban on the pesticide DDT in most countries in the 1970's - 80's the Peregrine Falcon population has now made a strong, but not yet complete, recovery.

Thursday, September 13, 2007
Typically the female sits on the eggs throughout the night, and also for much of the day. The male takes over for several short shifts through the day so that the female can get away and hunt for herself. As a result, the female usually does about three quarters of the incubation herself, while the male contributes the rest.  That's a lot of sitting down for the female.  So every 20-30 minutes you'll see Sheila stand up, stretch the legs, rotate the eggs to ensure even incubation and then sit down again in a new position.  Click here to see Sheila rotating her four eggs.

Thursday, September 6, 2007
During the incubation period, the eggs are rarely left uncovered for more than a minute or two, although on very warm days the adults may stay off them for somewhat longer periods.  Click here to a rare moment when the eggs are unattended.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The eggs were left mostly unattended until the last egg arrived, now incubation begins.  The picture you see if you click here will be a familiar one for the next five weeks as the eggs are rarely left uncovered. For Peregrines, the incubation period is 33 to 35 days from the date the last egg was laid.  A quick calendar check and it looks like an expected hatching day between the 29th of September and the 1st of October.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The fourth egg has arrived.  For all those watching the webcam live, you would've seen the egg drop at exactly 2:22PM today.

Whilst Peregrines can lay anywhere from two to six eggs, the average number is four.   Young pairs often only have two eggs in their first breeding season, and then increase to three or four eggs in subsequent years.  Since her arrival at Alcoa Anglesea in 2004, Sheila has laid four eggs every year.

Saturday, August 25, 2007
Under cover of darkness, Sheila has laid eggs number two and three .
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Announcing the arrival of the first egg for 2007.  Female Peregrine Falcons typically lay two to five eggs that are a bit smaller than chicken eggs. Eggs range in colour from creamy pink to reddish-brown. The female usually lays one egg every 48 hours so look out on August 23 for another addition!! Click here to see Sheila with her first egg for 2007.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The courtship continues between Sheila and Havoc. Once the pair have reformed their bond, they begin to hunt cooperatively and the female will also begin to demand food from the male.  Click here to view Sheila devouring Havoc's latest food delivery.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Returning each spring, most Peregrines will go through courtship
rituals. At first they will sit side by side at the nest ledge and then
engage in ‘ledge displays’ centered on the area of their nest or
scrape. Click here to view the ledge display image between Havoc
and Sheila.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The nest is called a 'scrape' because it is usually nothing more than
a slight depression scraped into the nesting substrate. Click here to view the image of Sheila forming the scrape.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
The birds are back! Peregrine Falcons generally mate for life returning to the same nest site year after year. The first priority is to select a nest site. The male chooses several potential nest sites, and shows these to the female. She then decides which one of these she likes the best, and that becomes the nest. Click here to see Sheila checking out our nest box.