Richmond Falcon Cam
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Thursday, June 13, 2013
The final egg of this clutch has been removed by the adults. This chick seemed to be having similar difficulties in hatching as the first egg.
In two of the eggs from this clutch we’ve watched as the adult female (and to a lesser degree the male) picked away at the pip hole in the eggs greatly widening it. This is not typical behavior as peregrine falcons do not normally assist with the hatching of their eggs. Chicks that are too weak to hatch out on their own would not likely be strong enough to survive.
We are uncertain why exactly the adults have engaged in this behavior. Although it appears to be “helping” in actuality it likely makes it more difficult for the hatch to proceed. The chick typically rotates itself through the egg while pressing up against the shell with its bill. The large hole might interfere with the chick’s ability to turn and press up against the shell.
It should be noted that in both of the eggs that successfully hatched the adults did not pick away at the egg, but allowed the chicks to complete the cycle on their own. The adults are able hear and feel the chicks moving in the egg. It may be that the adults were aware of some problem with the hatch or embryos and that this is in some way connected to their picking away at the shells.