Peregrine fans love to follow the offspring of their favorite nest sites. One of Pittsburgh’s favorites is Dorothy’s daughter Beauty who lives in Rochester, New York. I’d say that Beauty “nests” in Rochester but this year is odd.
Last year after a Peyton Place of reversals Beauty mated with DotCa (pictured above on Mercury’s heel) and raised one chick at the Times Square nest. She was not his only mate, though, as he made frequent visits to Pigott, a young female three miles south at the Brighton site.
DotCa left town on migration last fall and for a brief time this spring Beauty was courted by an unbanded male, but DotCa returned in March and drove that male away. Then he took up with both ladies as he had last year.
But as a mate DotCa treats Beauty badly. When he first returned he tried to bump her off her perches and drive her away from the Times Square nest. He doesn’t present her with food. Instead he takes food Beauty caught for herself and presents it to Pigott! This is just not done by serious suitors!
DotCa shows his preferences in other ways. He spends far more time courting and mating with Pigott than with Beauty, so much so that Beauty doesn’t seem geared up enough to lay eggs. And DotCa flew with Pigott to the Times Square nest and courted with her there last Thursday!
If he were a mime his meaning is clear. He prefers Pigott. Why doesn’t he gang up with Pigott to oust Beauty? My hunch is that there are two reasons: DotCa has a precedent for polygamy and Beauty is powerful.
DotCa’s father raised two families when DotCa was born. As a juvenile he probably flew over to the other side of town where he learned about his father’s other wife. Birds learn from their parents. Voilà.
Meanwhile Beauty is powerful enough that she retains the Time Square site despite DotCa’s attempts to oust her. And she is persuasive enough that he mates with her.
Perhaps we’re fortunate that DotCa has a polygamist family history as this allows him to have two females live peacefully in close proximity. Meanwhile Beauty and Pigott must work out the dynamics of sharing a mate.
But no eggs yet.
Find out the latest at RFalconcam’s FalconWatch blog.
(photo by Margaret Kurtz (MAK) from RFalconcam’s FalconWatch blog)
5 thoughts on “Now What?”
Kate, I have been watching the Rochester falcons too. Very interesting. Thanks for some more helpful insight into that situation. The question was raised yesterday as to why Beauty allows DotCa to take the food from her. Seems he has done this on occasion with Pigott also. Any thoughts?
Patsy, I have no idea what the ladies think of DotCa taking food from them. If they lived together in a harem I’m sure they’d be talking about it!
Kate, here is an update since this blog was published:
April 14: DotCa started bringing food and bowing in the nestbox with Beauty as she appeared to be in egg-laying mode. That same evening the unbanded tiercel, who courted/copulated with Beauty before DotCa returned in March, showed up at the nestbox and stayed close throughout the night.
April 15: The unbanded tiercel courted/copulated with Beauty in the morning. When DotCa came into the city in the afternoon, the unbanded tiercel flew north and was found later observing from a distance. DotCa also copulated with Beauty.
April 16 2:19pm: Beauty laid her first egg. Male chirps at a distance, but ID never confirmed.
April 17: DotCa brought food and entered nestbox standing over egg, claiming it as his.
Oh my gosh, Joyce, I’m laughing. DotCa just has too many eggs… er ladies… on his plate. Beauty deserves a steady guy. I wish the unbanded tiercel had won the site but at least he’s patient. Has Pigott laid any eggs yet?
Kate – There is no way of knowing if Pigott has eggs. All we can do is watch & wait. Unfortunately, it is an unprotected site for these peregrines, and we are hoping for the best.