First feeding session and new hatchlings in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre!
A second falcon chick hatched last night at the top of the tower of the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre city hall.
At 05:50 this morning, the male brings to the nest a first prey, a thrush or more probably a blackbird, so the female can feed the new-born chicks (video 1). But she doesn’t seem determined to feed. She turns and turns over her two young while holding the featherless carcass with the tip of her beak! She won't feed now.
Two hours later, the carcass is still lying in the middle of the nest. And the female is still handling the prey! She tears off small pieces of meat, but still no real feeding occurs (video 2). Shortly after, it's time! The female comes out of the nest with the prey. We can then perfectly distinguish the two chicks whose down is now perfectly dry and therefore very silky, as well as two eggs which have yet to hatch. The female nibbles the prey a little more, and returns to her falcons, which she feeds with great care. However, she turns her back to the camera, a beautiful shot, it will be the next time (video 3)!
As soon as the feeding session is finished, the female lies down again on the nest in order to protect her brood from the cold.
At 08:50, new remarkable behaviour. After having swallowed the organic matter remaining in the hatched eggshell yesterday, she is now eating, little fragment after little fragment, the shell (video 4). Obviously, a good source of calcium. Nothing is wasted in Nature!
Two more falcons to hatch in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, it's time for 6 weeks of attentive care before flight! In the meantime, the chicks will go from around thirty grams to 750 g or 1 kg depending on whether it is a male or a female. In the Peregrines indeed, as in most species of birds of prey, the females are of size, corpulence, weight definitely more important than their partner. Studies in Australia have concluded that this gives them a much-needed advantage in defending the nest against predators or...competitors. Falcons, and particularly Peregrines, are indeed very territorial. Until recently, it was thought that the only, or the main, advantage of this dimorphism was the fact of being able to hunt a wide variety of prey. It would therefore seem that it is secondary but nevertheless very real.
Video 1. The male brings a first prey to the chicks of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.
Video 2. Nibbling does not rhyme with feeding!
Video 3. Finally, the first feeding session.
Video 4. The female eats eggshell fragments.