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Peregrine Falcon Chick Feeding Video

A 40-minute recording of the four peregrine falcon chicks was made from the live Peregrine Web Cam on May 18, 2004. Peregrine falcon nestbox The Web Cam is located atop 101 Hudson Street where the NJ DEP Endangered and Nongame Species Program has maintained a nestbox since 2000. The recording was edited to approximately 3 minutes for Internet viewing via Real Player or MS Media Player. On the day this footage was shot the nestlings were almost three weeks old.

Shortly after the tape starts, an adult bird leaves the nestbox and returns with prey, probably a pigeon. It actually took longer to catch the prey than it appears on the tape. The adult peregrine has mostly plucked its catch, removing the feathers and inedible portions.

Several things to watch for while viewing the tape:

  • The amazing delicacy with which the adult peregrines approach and feed their young. The parent is breaking off really small pieces of the prey and gently feeding the young birds. At this stage of their development the chicks are quite actively reaching out for their food, as opposed to their first two weeks when they gaped in the manner of songbirds.
  • As each chick is fed the crop (the muscular pouch near a bird's throat where food is temporarily stored prior to digestion) fills to the point where the little chicks are top-heavy.
  • Toward the end of the tape one of the youngsters excretes over the edge of the nestbox, the raptor method of keeping the nest clean.
  • After being sated, the chicks will lie down and nap, their food needs met for an hour or two.

Feedings are repeated several times each day and increase in frequency as the nestlings grow. By about five weeks of age, the adults just drop the prey at the nest and the young feed themselves.

For more information about this video, and the 2004 peregrine falcon chicks, see Nestbox News.

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Last Updated: August 29, 2014