12-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Perhaps we shouldn’t count our peregrines before they hatch but the chicks at the Hays bald eagle nest and Cornell’s red-tailed hawk nest made me think about nestling names.
When we see birds on camera we want them to have names.
Bald eagle chicks are named with the nest letter + a number that keeps increasing year after year. At the Hays nest the names are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, etc.
At Cornell’s red-tailed hawk nest, Big Red and Ezra’s chicks are named with a letter that changes every year + a number. The nest is now up to the letter G so the first two chicks were named G1 and G2 and together they’re called “the G’s.”
In the past we didn’t name peregrine nestlings until Banding Day but that led to misunderstandings and confusion so here’s the plan — similar to the bald eagle protocol.
The Cathedral of Learning nestlings will named with a nest letter that doesn’t change (C for Cathedral of Learning) + a number. If we’d started this in 2009 the four nestlings above would be C1, C2, C3, C4.
Good luck figuring out who’s who! Peregrine eggs all hatch within 24+ hours so the nestlings are the same size for a long time. This only changes when the females become noticeably larger that the males. Males are 1/3 smaller.
15-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
When will the eggs hatch at Pitt? I believe that real incubation did not begin until April 3 or 4. Wild peregrines hatch their eggs in about 33 days. (Incubator-raised eggs hatch sooner because of constant temperature without interruptions.) So my prediction for Hatch Day at Pitt is approximately May 6. …But I might be wrong…
Why isn’t the hatch date sooner? After E2 died, Hope spent a long time away from the nest searching for a mate. If she had heated the first three eggs to incubation temperature and then left them, her long absence would cause those embryos to fail. At this point I believe she merely protected the three eggs until all four began incubation in early April.
(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh, May 2009)