And what will those Peregrines do then, poor things?
With a stiff northerly blowing straight into the nest platform, and an air temperature (without windchill factored in) down to 4 degrees, today was the day to find out exactly what they’d do. Despite the size of the three chicks, which continue to thrive, the adults spent most of the day brooding them as best they could to keep the cold off them. In the process they showed that it isn’t just Robins that might use their wing to keep warm.
This was truly amazing to witness, and another behaviour that would have gone unseen without the wonders of the webcam. One chick was under the male’s breast, but the other two were both under the extended wing, at least until one wanted to have a look around.
With these three to care for, the fourth egg is very much forgotten by the adults, although the chicks find it to be an interesting plaything from time to time.
The chicks are starting to spread their wings and exercise those flight muscles that will come into play in a few weeks’ time. At the same time, the feathers are poking through the down, especially obvious in the tail and wingtips.
Later this afternoon, the weather took a turn for the (even) worse and a heavy shower of sleet passed through, driving the chicks back under the male, on hand to provide shelter. The flakes can just about be seen in the picture below, in the air and on the male’s back.
One of the surprises – to me at least – has been to see how much time the male has spent brooding and feeding the chicks, taking what seems to be a pretty equal share of the duties on the nest platform.
Another couple of weeks will see the chicks getting ready to take their first tentative flights, but enjoy the fantastic opportunities to watch their activities until then.