Breakfast with the Melbourne Four

15 October 2022

The scrape box on the ledge at 367 Collins Street is really teaching us a lot about falcon behaviour this year — or about this particular couple, F22 and M22. To recap, the old mum, F17, was found injured in June and had to be euthanized. Cute little Dad M17 took another mate F22. Four eggs were laid. Then came a territorial crisis with old dad M17 last being seen in September. Since then Male 22 and Female 22 have been incubating and now feeding and brooding the offspring of male 17 and female 22.

The behaviour of the female and, in particular, her penchant for leaving the four eyases in the hot sun at mid-day has caused some concern. Little Dad has tried to shield them as best he could. Little Dad often does a lot of the feeding. Sometimes Mum feeds then broods and Dad comes and feeds again.

Today was peculiar – actually Sunday in Melbourne. Mum flew off at 0602 and returned with a freshly caught pigeon, unplucked. She considered plucking it by the scrape and feeding the chicks but, she changed her mind and flew off with it. She returned more than an hour later with a somewhat plucked bird and went about to feed the eyases and then changed her mind again and left. I wondered if Dad would have to feed them!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, Dad did arrive. He was empty taloned. He recognized that the chicks were ravished. He went over and first found a bone and went about getting anything off of it for them. He then dug around and found a bit more carcass and fed the wee ones. I am seriously starting to wonder if he doesn’t have more maternal instincts than the female.

Dad looked and found every morsel that he possibly could in order to feed the four eyases. In the meantime, they remained civil to one another . This has to be noted. Siblicide, sibling rivalry, beaking abuse, and food competition such as we are seeing at Port Lincoln is almost unheard of in falcon and hawk nests.

Finally, Mum arrives with a big pigeon. She gives a great plucking demonstration to the Melbourne Four who take it all in. I wonder if they thought she might take that bird away, too. But, no, this time, some three and a half hours after breakfast sort of began, the kids were fed. Goodness.

The four eyases were fed and Mum flew off. She has returned. I hope that she stays with the chicks during the heat of the day today.

‘A’ and I continually speak about the need for a shade over this scrape box like the one at the other end. It will surely protect the chicks from the elements as well as the heat of the sun if Mum continues to make it a habit. It would also help in the future. We have a few more days and these eyases will be able to run down the gutter to get in the shade if they are left.

Have a great day everyone. These four are quite full. Now if we can only get a good feeding into Little Bob. That would be a grand Sunday in Australia.

Thank you for being with me. See you soon.

Thank you to 367 Collins Street by Mirvac for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

1 Comment

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the update! It seems to me that Mom wants to eat first and that she knows dad will bring food for the kids. The opposite of what is usually is and what it should be. That is what I think is happening but I could be wrong. What if dad don’t bring in food?
    Well he does and I’m so thankful. He is doing a great job there.
    Have a good evening and prayers for little Bob at port Lincoln 🙏❤️

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