Visit our YouTube channel during the nesting season to view the falcons:

The Falcon Season

February – courtship begins with individual visits to the nest box, and nesting scrapes begin to appear. Mostly made by the male, the scrapes are circular depressions formed by the falcon lowering its chest and pushing the pebbles to form a cavity for the eggs to be laid. Later in the month, both falcons will appear and perform courtship bowing and vocalizations, oftentimes resulting in mating.

March – courtship and bonding behaviors continue and defense of the nest box and territory from interlopers can prove to be dramatic, resulting in a life-or-death battle. Egg-laying happens during this month and incubation begins. The falcons typically lay between 3-5 eggs, spaced 2-3 days apart. They don’t start incubating until they’ve laid their next to last egg. Both adults incubate the eggs with incubation lasting from 32-35 days from egg-laying.

April – Incubation continues for 32-35 days.

May thru June – Once the eyases (little new ones) appear, both adults will tend to the newborns. One adult may remain with the eyases until they are 10-11 days old before both adults will leave them to hunt. After losing their downy feathers, the falcons are then known as nestlings. They double their weight in only six days and at three weeks will be ten times birth size. The months of May and June will be extremely active months filled with activity from both the adults and the nestlings. Look for adults to bring food to the box about once an hour. Since the young falcons start to fly within 42 days of hatching, they will be going through wing-strengthening flapping on a very regular basis, oftentimes while standing on the outer ledge. The falcons can then be seen standing out on the edge of the box, acclimating themselves to the outside environment. At this time, the adults start to bait the youngsters out of the box on their one and only fledging flight, hopefully with a successful outcome! The adults will stop direct feeding of the young to encourage flight but continue to provide prey and teach the fledglings how to hunt.

July – Flight and hunting lessons continue but the young falcons are preparing for life on their own. Towards the end of July and into early August, the adults will start to encourage the young falcons to disperse and find a new territory they can call their own.

 


We wish to express our great appreciation for our sponsors, without whom this project would not be possible:

Pepco Holdings/Delmarva Power

Wild Birds Unlimited/Hockessin Delaware Ornithological Society

Jay Gundel and Associates

United States Fish & Wildlife Service

Buccini-Pollin Group

…and numerous Facebook viewers and fans!
And a special thank you to Assurance Media for guidance and installation of the new cameras, and WHYFLY for hooking us up with awesome wireless streaming direct to you!