We have an egg!

Early on the morning of Monday 14 March, NTU's peregrine falcon laid her first egg of the year.

Early on the morning of Monday 14 March, at around 2 am, the female laid her first egg of the year – that certainly came around quickly! As is typical, the NTU pair are one of the earliest urban pairs to lay in the country, though it shouldn't be too long until the rest join them. 

Peregrine pairs often lay at similar times each year, and the NTU pair are certainly no exception; in 2015, 2012 and 2011 the first egg was laid on the 14 March – what accuracy! The other years weren't far off this date, the latest was in 2010 when the female started laying on the 30 March.

Incubation
Peregrines normally lay eggs within 48 hour intervals and typically lay three-to-four eggs in total, so the next three (hopefully!) should all be laid by the end of the week. Once all the eggs in the brood have been laid, incubation will take full swing and will last for around 28-33 days. As incubation has not fully started yet, we can keep an eye on how warm the eggs are using the thermal camera. In the image above, you can see just how warm (i.e. bright / white) it is.

Typically, both parents will partake in incubation, though it is usually the female who carries out the majority, and evidence suggests that she may only give up incubation when the male provisions her with food. Of course, the division of labour between the sexes and timing of egg laying may differ between pairs; in fact, my research will be investigating this further. I will be recording all nest activities from various urban nests and will compare parental effort between and within pairs. 

Hopefully by the end of the breeding season I will have some exciting results to report. For now though, the next couple of days will certainly be exciting for the NTU pair, and for us of course!

Esther Kettel

We have an egg!

Published on 14 March 2016
  • Category: Environment and sustainability

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