We have hatched!
Having the eggs tucked away mostly out of sight hasn’t really helped anxiety levels or given us much to go on but it looks like both eggs hatched between 4 and 7am this morning (7/5/20).
The brooding bird was eating from a broken egg shell around 4.30am indicating it had hatched. When the bird shuffled around to remove a half shell from beneath her we caught a glimpse of a fluffy white chick and the other egg, still looking intact. The brooding bird (probably the Falcon) did not want to hand over brooding duties when the partner returned to the box, even though it had been called over. All of this happened in the dark on the night vision cam. The egg shell was removed at some point. More shuffling round, this time in colour, after dawn, revealed the second egg was gone and what looked like a second ball of white fluff. It’s still hard to see because the birds are so tucked behind the side wall and hopefully being kept warm and secure under the adult’s body and wings.
It’s 37 days since the 2nd egg was laid. The longest incubation period in the history of Sheffield Peregrines. Which is an interesting stat to remember given that this is a new female. Previous years either the previous Falcon saw 31 or 32 day incubation typically, through wind snow and rain. The weather this year was generally warm and very dry with no snow, although the clear nights have been cold at times. If this tell us anything it surely indicates how warm eggs can be kept under a Peregrine even when it is covered in snow! It will be interesting to see if 37 becomes the new standard incubation period at St George’s. But all that’s a long way off yet….
The rest of today is critical. The adults need to bring in a kill and get a first feed into the chicks to give them a healthy start. A feed should also give us a much better glimpse of the chicks to assess their size and demeanour.
The weather is on our side. It’s warm, calm and dry. The adult looks attentive and content. Let’s hope the day goes smoothly.