10 October 2022
What we have been witnessing at the 367 Collins Street scrape in Melbourne this breeding season is providing ‘the gold’ of raptor research.
It has always been presumed that M (2017) was the father of the potential chicks in the eggs that were laid by F (2022) at the scrape box on the ledge. A territorial dispute happened between M (2017) and M (2022) with M (2022) usurping M (2017). He has not been seen since September. The former female was found injured in June and had to be euthanized.
Since the M (2017) was last seen, we have watched the new male ‘watch’ the female feeding the chicks. We have seen him brood them. We have seen him feed them.
For the past two days, the F (2022) has disappeared for nearly an hour yesterday at noon at the height of the heat leaving her eyases uncovered. Today, she has been gone since 11:01:48.
The chicks were clearly hungry and hot. Male (2022) or, better, Dad (not even Step-Dad) flew off the nest leaving the eyases alone at 12:45:12. He returned with a pigeon at 13:12:43 and is now feeding the four.
Can you see the tears rolling down my cheeks? Can he possibly keep this up? I really want to see him try. He can leave them and get a pigeon back to the ledge in half an hour. Is it possible that he can raise them by himself if the female never returns? I want to add that it is highly unusual for a female to be gone during brooding but I have seen it happen with Bald Eagles and Ospreys. You might recall that Gabby at the NE Florida Bald Eagle nest was gone for over a day and Samson took care of Rocket and Jasper. Blue NC0 needed a break and was gone from the Loch of the Lowes Osprey nest in Scotland for a similar amount of time. We will have to wait to see if the female at 367 Collins Street returns. We have no idea what has transpired. We only know that she has now been gone nearly 3 hours.
Clearly anything that can happen has happened at this nest.
We often say we understand the challenges that the raptors face but the situation at Melbourne is clearly bringing this home. A male Peregrine Falcon is feeding and will try to raise the chicks of another male – without help from their mother who is possibly severely injured or dead – that he probably killed or badly injured. I am immensely impressed. I hope that he figures out a way to be both mother and dad. I think he can if he hunts early in the morning. Gets a pigeon or two in a safe place and stays with the chicks during the heat of the day and keeps them shaded.
As Step-Dad departs, we can only hope that Mum will show up but, if she doesn’t, let us send this young male falcon who has no DNA ties to any of the four eyases on this scrape all our love and positive energy. He recognized that the chicks were hungry and needed food, he saw they needed shade and he turned himself into an umbrella — now can he raise them all alone if that is what is required? He clearly has a bond with them. I hope it is strong. His instincts are to care for them and that is a good thing.
Thank you for being with me. I have not stopped to check on the other nests because of the events here at the Collins scrape. I hope to have a good report for you tomorrow. In the meantime, take care. Stay safe.
Thank you to 367 Collins Street by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.