Hope Eats Egg #4

Hope opens and eats Egg/Chick #4, 27 April 2019 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Around 6:30am this morning, 27 April 2019, Hope picked up Egg #4, moved it away from the nest, opened it, ate some of the contents, and fed the rest to her living chicks.

The chick inside the egg appears to have been fully formed.

We await the fate of Egg/Chick #5. Meanwhile …

Caution! Don’t watch the eggs hatch at the Cathedral of Learning if it upsets you to see a mother kill her young.

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

22 thoughts on “Hope Eats Egg #4

  1. Unfortunately I saw this happen again. Thankful for the 2 beautiful little ones. Thank you for your post Kate. No matter what happens, we are very grateful to you and our camera and the opportunity to view nature happening – good or bad.

  2. I’ll admit to sometimes hoping a new female takes over that nest. But then I remind myself that the nest is having a positive impact on the PA peregrine population, and that’s what really matters.

    Kate, do we know how the downtown and other local nesting peregrines are doing?

    1. Stacey, I don’t have news from the other nests yet. I’ll post an update when there’s more information.

  3. Fingers crossed but looking like a bad outcome for chick #5. Hated seeing the surviving chicks watch her kill their siblings which are now a food source to them. There are many peregrine cams to watch online where both parents are devoted to chicks. Sad this is happening on such a beautiful and coveted nest site. Hoping it will be over soon. Such a change from watching Dorothy, one of the best peregrine moms ever.

  4. I’m still watching in disbelief. Maybe someone has already ask this question … has any other site seen this happen before?

  5. I think Hope might have been “wrongfully” accused for her behavior. At least for this this year, one of the observation I had is that after the success of chicks 1 and 2, the subsequent hatchings did not occur as quick as we have anticipated (24-36 h). As the first two chicks grow, the incubation for the remaining eggs become more challenging, as the priority of the parents is to safeguard the first two chicks. I noticed the remaining eggs were barely covered at times and I don’t think it was intentional. I doubt the 5th egg will be a success. We don’t know world of peregrine falcons as much as they do.

    1. Richard, I am mostly off the grid right now so this answer will be brief. More info later this week.
      (1) Hope’s behavior toward hatching eggs and hatchlings is abnormal. See https://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2019/04/25/sad-but-not-surprised/
      (2) it is normal for one egg to hatch later than the others, sometimes more than 24 hours. There is not a problem incubating it because the chicks are being brooded so brooding & incubation are simultaneous — same as for eagles.
      (3) Remaining eggs uncovered isn’t a problem for short periods, particularly in warm weather. Similar for eagles.
      (4) I agree there is much to learn from observing Hope’s behavior; she is so unusual.

    2. I thought last year Hope ate the first 2 and then kept the others. So survival of the first chicks did not play out as the reason last year.

  6. This is such aberrant behavior,I keep hoping the nest will not be followed.I checked back in this year and same old same old.Won’t be back

  7. There is much to be learned from watching and studying aberrant behavior, however unappealing it may be to humans from a social standpoint.

  8. Kate, has Hope killed only the chicks that have started to hatch? Like everyone else, I’m looking for a pattern, but not finding one.

    1. Jennie, Hope only harms the hatchlings when they’re pink & wet. Once they are white and fluffy she nurtures them.

    2. So she does not have a history of opening an egg herself, start to finish, then killing the chick. The danger does not start until the chick starts to break out. Still doesn’t explain what’s going on. Your updates are much appreciated. It’s a reminder that nature can be unpredictable.

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