2013 Wilmington Peregrine Falcon Milestones

Milestones are provided courtesy of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).  Visit the DNREC Falcon Cam site for additional information about the falcons.

January and February

Both residents adults, Red Girl and CJ, are seen in the nest box making scrapes and courting. As March approached, activity in the box picked up as the pair prepared for the first egg of 2013!

March 7

We have an egg! Sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Red Girl selected her preferred scrape and produced the pair’s first egg of the season. Cam viewers may see the egg exposed for extended periods, but this is expected and full-time incubation duties won’t commence until the entire clutch is laid over the course of the next week!

March 9

Red Girl delivers a second egg in camera view at 3:30 p.m. Expectation is more to follow, as she completes her clutch.

March 12

A third egg is laid in the nest box, followed less than 24 hours later by a fourth egg, with another extraordinary clutch (for peregrines) of five eggs still possible.

March 17

And so it happens, again! A fifth egg arrives for the second year in a row, and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

April 16

First, second, and third hatch of 2013! At 7:37 a.m., the first chick was assisted from its egg by Red Girl. She moved the chick aside and eventually placed it back with the clutch of soon-to-hatch eggs to keep it warm. Later, at about 12:50 p.m., the second chick arrived! Even more amazingly, at about 4 p.m., a third egg hatched. Having chicks hatch so closely together made for an unusually rewarding observation–and all three chicks appear to be doing well! Click here for a video clip, courtesy of Kim Steininger, of the first chick being helped out of its shell by Red Girl.

April 18

A fourth chick was born late in the evening and a decision was made by US Fish & Wildlife Service, after asking permission from DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife, to remove the chick from the nest as it was faring poorly, in hopes of returning it to health by daily care and feeding from USFWS raptor biologist. The fifth egg of the clutch remains unhatched.

April 26

A week after it was removed malnourished from the nest box by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and at risk for survival from not having been fed by its parents, the fourth peregrine falcon chick is gaining ground on its siblings with artificial feeding and has a good prognosis for returning to the nest box and eventually fledgling with them. The chick has both eyes open and a healthy posture but is still under observation (and care) of USFWS. It also is “aggressively feeding” according to DNREC biologist Anthony Gonzon as it catches up to the size of its siblings for reintroduction to them — and its parents — in the nest box.

May 3

Two weeks after it was removed malnourished from the nest box by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and at risk for survival from not having been fed by its parents, the fourth peregrine falcon chick was returned to its parents and siblings in good health and with full expectation of its fledgling when the time comes to leave the nest. The chick was last in this year’s clutch to hatch and was unable to compete for food with its livelier siblings when USFWS raptor biologist Craig Koppie removed it for an extended period of sustenance and care.

May 14

US Fish & Wildlife Service raptor biologist Craig Koppie enters the nest box and bands the four chicks. He finds them thriving, including the fourth chick born, which had been removed from the nest box at risk of survival before Mr. Koppie’s care for two weeks brought it back to health for reintroduction to its parents and siblings.

May 25

The falcon chicks have begun to fledge and are now considered fledglings! This means that the young falcons have developed the feathers and wing muscles that are efficient enough for flight. Join our Fledge Watch to keep the young birds safe during their first flight.