Meet the Newest RVA Falcon Chicks!
We are very happy to report that the next generation of RVA falcon chicks made their grand entrance this morning! Pipping was briefly observed on at least one egg around 8:20 PM on 4/28, and we had our first hatch occur at roughly 7:21 AM on 4/29 while the female was on incubation duty. Parts of the chick were visible under her left wing, but it wasn’t until the female plucked off the remaining eggshell that the entire chick was revealed for a few quick seconds.
Just two hours after the arrival of the first chick, a second chick was observed during an incubation exchange at which time the male arrived to take a shift in the nest box. Although we did not get to see this hatch occur on camera, it was obvious that the chick had broken out of its eggshell just moments earlier based on the amount of visible, pink skin and wet down feathers. This made for a striking contrast in appearance relative to its fluffy, white sibling that hatched a few hours earlier.
The hatch time for the third chick is harder to pinpoint as the female rarely adjusted her position atop the chicks and eggs between hatch events. However, based on the recorded footage, we suspect it occurred sometime around 10:45 am. Regardless, viewers were treated to a few opportune minutes to view all three chicks while the male temporarily perched on the lip of the nest box around 1:00pm
So what’s next for the new family?
Newly hatched falcon chicks weigh approximately 30–40 grams (1.25 ounces) and are unable to fully thermoregulate (maintain core body temperature) for the first two weeks of life. This means the parents will continue to spend time on the nest “brooding” the chicks after they hatch and incubating the remaining eggs. We suspect the female will do the majority of brooding, while the male takes on most of the hunting duties to regularly provide the chicks with food. At the time of this writing, we have yet to witness a prey delivery to the nest box post-hatching, but we hope to see this occur in the near future.
…And, what about the fourth egg?
We are still watching for signs that the fourth egg will hatch. In last year’s clutch, the final egg hatched roughly two days later than the first three. Keep a careful watch this weekend and we will see whether or not history repeats itself.