A female falcon chick at the cathedral

The falcon chick at the cathedral was ringed yesterday. The combination of the wing measurement (117 mm) and the weight (848 g) determines that it is a female.

In fact, we could already suspect it by observing it in the nest. Its size is close to that of its mother, but the development of the plumage is very limited. This is typical for a 3 week old female falcon. On the contrary, a male of this age would seem slender but with feathers already quite apparent at the end of the wings and on the sides.

The young female was marked with a registration ring from the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium on the right paw while a special ring, allowing remote identification, was positioned on the left paw. This one is black; the CXY code is engraved in white.

A falcon chick of 848 g but almost without feathers, is that normal? Yes ! Because the growth of a falcon is divided into two main phases which each last about 3 weeks. During the first phase, all the energy absorbed via the prey brought several times a day by the parents, is "used" by the organism in order to make the body grow. Remember, at hatching on April 19, the chick weighed barely thirty grams. Twenty-two days later, he multiplied his weight by… 28!!! It is therefore already close to its adult weight, which in a bird is roughly equivalent to the weight during the first flight. That is to say around one kilo in a case of a Peregrine female.

During the second phase, the body of the falcon chick, which is now almost adult size, is entirely available to... producing feathers. Thousands of feathers! Feathers of a dozen different types. Some to cover the wings, others to allow you to propel yourself in flight, and still others to protect you from the cold or... from the heat!

Open your eyes, you will be surprised! From day to day, the feathers will appear, will lengthen, will open, unfold. Within 10 days, the chick will have radically changed its appearance!

And then, in a few days, there will be another major evolution. The falcon, which has only recently been standing on its feet, will begin to walk on its feet and no longer on its “knees”. And he will begin to explore the balcony!

To be continued !

Blog 10052023 video 1. Mother and daughter side by side.

Blog 20052023 video 2. The female falcon begins to stand on its feet. Soon she will be running from left to right on the balcony!

Blog 20052023 video 3. The male has just finished plucking a prey. He dives towards the nest to bring it to his falcon chick.