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  • Writer's pictureChris

Tuesday 5th May 2020

9.00 The Falcon (female) is asleep on the chicks

9.05 She wakes up and turns 90 degrees showing us that she has a down feather stuck to the top of her beak - probably from a a recent meal

9.41 The Falcon flies off and straight away the Tiercel (male) comes into the nestbox and starts to brood the chicks but not for long...

9.44 The Falcon returns to the nestbox with some fresh meat and feeds the chicks for 6 minutes, ensuring each chick gets some. She then leaves with the remaining meet before the Tiercel promptly comes back in and sits on the chicks at 9:50am

9.53 The Tiercel's stint on the chicks is very short lived as the Falcon returns and bullies the Tiercel off the nestbox and she returns to brooding duties.

10.32 A couple of the chicks pop out from underneath the Falcon and she gently pushes them back underneath her with her beak

11.00 Falcon (female) awake facing left brooding chicks, with 2 heads visible under her breast until she tucks them in and settles forward. A stray small white downy feather is stuck to the top of her beak fluttering in the breeze.

11.05 Her eyelids start closing as she dozes, although quickly alert, opening her eyes to watch flies.

11.10 A chick’s head appears under the front of her breast, then a second’s rear end which defecates and disappears. She sits up more, with the other chick’s head out sleeping.

11.13 She sits up more, head alert looking around.

11.15 She is alert and calling ad she stands up over the chicks.

11.16 She settles down again.

11.17 She calls, stands and moves out of the box. 3 chicks in a ball in nest scrape. Tiercel (male) arrives empty-handed.

11.18 Falcon (female) comes back into the box as well, back to camera carrying something (can’t see what) and proceeds to feed chicks. Tiercel stands at the back watching.

11.20 Tiercel leaves as Falcon finishes feeding. No sign of what she had brought in, as she settles back down over chicks, again facing left. The only remains are the bones by the side of the scrape that have been there all morning.

11.30 She starts to doze again, eyelids closing.

11.47 She sits up. 2 chick heads appear under her front. One disappears as she starts to pull in gravel. She settles down, and one chick’s beak can just be seen under her breast. She starts to doze.

11.52 2 chick heads under her breast. Then third chick fidgets around over the top of them.

11.56 She is alert calling, and sits up.

11.58 Stands up over the chicks.

11.59: Tiercel (male) arrives with carcass (looks like plucked breast of a bird). She takes carcass and proceeds to feed chicks with her back to camera. He leaves.

12.00 She moves to the side, giving excellent views of her feeding the 3 chicks.

12.09 The feed finishes as the 3 chicks turn and settle down. She eats a little herself, before leaving with the carcass.

12.10 Tiercel returns and settles over chicks facing left.

12.11 Falcon returns and they swap, the male leaving as she settles back over the chicks facing left. She dozes.

12.47 She sits up as chicks start to move about beneath her.

12.50 She settles down facing left, pulling gravel in towards her.

12.55 She stands up over chicks, peering underneath her to observe them. She grooms her wings.

12.58 She settles backdown over chicks, pulling gravel in round her facing left and slightly back.

13.19 Her eyes closed , has forty winks, then awakens with a start making you thinking something was going to happen. NOTHING! back to sleep.

13.28 She repositions herself with her head on her back.

13.49 After a while she decides to wake up, starts taking in gravel to help with her digestion.

13.52 This is nice, she decides to have a stretch, revealing the little fluff balls underneath.

13.55 The Tiercel arrives with nothing in his talon, she's not very happy and sends him packing.

14.10, She's sat up having a good look around, getting agitated at the same time, then she quickly leaves. One turns up almost immediately, making believe it was the male feeding the chicks. It wasn't until a little later when it started brooding, i had an quick glimpse of its chest. Giving the conclusion it was her. But still not quite sure. This all came about because i forgot the box is situated on the roof of the church. So i got in touch with Chris, where he found footage of what actually happened. Yes, he came down with prey, she popped out retrieved it, then went back to feed her young.

14.20 The female still brooding till the end of my shift.

15.00 Female brooding chicks in sunshine, no chicks visible

15.11 Shuffling and resettling on chicks in same position

15.12 Pecking at stones briefly

15.14 More pecking at stones.  Chicks moving and female resettling on them, now face on to camera. One chick occasionally part visible as she continues to peck at stones

15.17 Preening chest feathers

15.18 More stone pecking, one chick part visible.

15.20 Female alert and looking around

15.29 Female shuffling round and again settling on chicks.  Still looking around

15.30 Getting up and looking out of front of box 

15.31 Back on chicks now facing left

15.36 One chick head visible looking out from female's chest

15.50 Pecking at stones briefly

15.54 Fly buzzing around, female grabbing at it without moving 

16.00 Shuffling and settling further down on chicks

16.03 Moving round to face front, 2 chicks visible

16.05 Turning again to face the back 

16.15 Tiercel comes in , female leaves 

16.16 Tiercel tries to settle on chicks. They are getting quite big for him already, all 3 visible

16.27 Tiercel dozing face on to camera, chicks dozing too.

16.34 Chicks more covered by Tiercel, all settled.

16.48 Tiercel preens, resettles, chicks more visible now

17.00 Tiercel still sitting

Thank you to Mike Harmer, Nick Kimber, Graham Long and Stephanie Witham for todays blog

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