I’ve been out of town for most of the past few weeks and have missed a lot of the growing up that these birds have been doing. I opened up the website today to see one of the chicks doing a bit of a workout, stretching and flapping its wings- a very important activity for a bird that’s going to be flying soon. Those pectorals are big muscles that need to be ready to do some work!! Even though I can’t see Mom and Dad on the nest, they’re clearly doing their job bringing food back to the chicks. There’s quite a bit of variability in just who brings back food to the nest, but in general, males are the ones who supply most of the food in Peregrines.
Now here’s where the next few weeks will get interesting. Once the birds leave the nest (when the chicks fledge), we won’t likely see them there again. Mom and Dad may return next season for another go-round, but the chicks are likely to take off. The family will probably stay together for a period of time, but just how long is hard to say. In Osprey, fledged young may remain dependent on their parents for 30 or so days after leaving the nest.
In contrast, Lesser Kestrels only take care of their young for about 5 days after the young fledge.
In any case, that means that all of these chicks really have to get good at being on their own very quickly. Once they leave the nest, they don’t have much time at all to get good at taking care of themselves. So keep watching the workouts!