Whatta day, as Sherri Elliott used to say! Peregrine falcon Newman is pulling in potential mates, Ma FSV laid her first egg of 2023 yesterday, and we’re watching HM closely. Will she grace us with a third egg tomorrow? Talons crossed! In the meantime, we have your raptor movie marathon from Decorah and Great Spirit Bluff. Put up your feet and grab some refreshments…it’s time for NestFlix!
March 3, 2023: HM gathers grass at N2B, although Canada Geese keep distracting her!
March 3, 2023: HM gathering grass on N2B – https://youtu.be/dX8JIEww9H4. This was a lot of fun to see! N2B is overgrown will tall, dry grass – perfect for cushioning the eggs. In between watching Canada Geese (I have to wonder if any of them nested here last year), HM grasps the grass in her talons and jumps up, breaking and trampling it as she tries to pull it free. She collects a double-talonful and flies it to N1 at 7:09. HD is shredding husks, but seems to appreciate the grass delivery. He pulls it up and begins arranging it around the eggs.
March 3, 2023: HM reacts to an unknown threat. Every feather is erect as she makes herself as large and formidable as she can.
March 3, 2023: HM does several wing whaps at 5 am! https://youtu.be/0La26vIkJZs. I put on headphones to listen to this video and I still can’t figure out what starteled her away. I can barely hear a very subtle ‘thump’ as if something landed on or near a microphone right aruond the time she startles. An owl, perhaps? She peers into the darkness and we hear a tiny chirp. She reacts with a violent wing slap and mantles over her eggs. From the darkness, we hear HD issue a warning. She does it again at 2:38 and check out her full wing spread at 3:21. Every feather is erect as she makes herself as large and formidable as she can.
At 4:14, she starts to settle back over the eggs. But she has to feel her way in since the sun hasn’t risen yet. She cautiously puts her foot into the nest, feels an egg, and withdraws it as she tries to avoid piercing her eggs. She eventually figures it out and tucks them safely and snugly beneath her.
March 3, 2023: HM and HD’s two eggs, safely nestled in warm, dry grass. Will she lay a third tomorrow?
March 1, 2023: HD to the nest with a fish and shares with HM – https://youtu.be/Rpa7K2CJzGo. HD mush have been perched nearby, since HM starts wheedling and pleaing before we see him! He flies his prize into the nest as she softly begs for food, issuing tiny little squees as he subdues the still wriggling fish. He takes a few nibbles as she stands up to tend the eggs at 2:31. Check out the video at 2:58 and you’ll see him attempt to swallow the fish whole, although he can’t quite get it down the hatch! At 4:14, HM has finally had enough! She leans forward and snatches the fish away, softly vocalizing as she does so. It’s a nice fish and she takes her time with it, gobbling down every last scale and bone. Hunger sated, she returns to incubation.
Great Spirit Bluff
March 1, 2023: Falcon Savanna 40/Z at Great Spirit Bluff.
March 2, 2023: Newman & a banded female mating – https://youtu.be/3XXPdqd3YzE. Aerial displays are an important part of peregrine courtship and, as we see beginning at 33 seconds, falcon copulation can be very acrobatic.
Listen for Savanna at about 24 seconds. She’s clearly amorous as she chups and tilts forward, clearly signaling her interest to Newman. The chup is one of three distinct vocalizations that falcons make. We’ll write more about falcons – and Zooey, and monogamy! – tomorrow, but here’s a blog about falcons for #falconfriday: https://www.raptorresource.org/2021/03/08/peregrine-falcons-great-spirit-bluff-lifestyles-of-the-fast-and-furious/.
March 1, 2023: Two female falcons fighting – https://youtu.be/jJNaeuF-n_U. Newman has been courting and copulating with Savanna 40/Z, a 2019 hatch from Fargo North Dakota. When Julie 90/Z, a 2019 hatch from the Ford Parkway Bridge in Minneapolis shows up to wrest Newman’s rose away, the two fight and Savanna drives her off.
Falcon Savanna is named for Savanna Greywind, a young native woman who was murdered in Fargo in 2018. I’m glad Savanna is still at Great Spirit Bluff following her fight with Julie. Long may she fly.
March 1, 2023: Newman i nowa samica Savanna (40/Z) [Newman and the new female Savannah] – https://youtu.be/8XFITXRjrzQ. A really lovely look at Savanna!