Dayton and Daniel have four eggs in the nest! Peregrine falcons lay an average of four eggs in a clutch with each egg laid a few days apart. Dayton laid her first egg on March 10. This is earlier than in previous years, possibly due to the unseasonably warm weather. Last year she laid her first egg on March 18. Incubation of the eggs starts toward the end of egg laying and the eggs will synchronize to hatch around the same time. Incubation takes 29 to 32 days. Dayton started closely sitting on the eggs by March 14 so hatching could take place as early April 11. For now Dayton spends all of her time warming the eggs and turning them. She is observant of any dangers outside the nest but Daniel is nearby protecting their territory. Occasionally he will come to the nest to relieve Dayton of her incubation duties and provide her with food.
The falcons can be observed wiggling on the eggs to press the bare skin on the chest, called the brood patch, down on the eggs to keep them warm. In species where only the female incubates the eggs the male doesn’t develop a brood patch. Male and female peregrines both have brood patches because they share incubation of the eggs. If you watch the Falcon Cam you’ll see the adult peregrines rock side-to-side as they settle on the nest. This rocking opens the feathers that have curled over the brood patch and puts their skin in contact with the eggs.
Dayton turns the eggs every hour or so during the incubation process. Both parents will work to maintain the ideal temperature of 99.5 F. Occasionally, the eggs may be left alone for short periods, but one of the birds will always be nearby keeping a close watch over them.
Dayton and Daniel are typically very successful raising their chicks but sometimes the young peregrines run into trouble later on. Recently one of their chicks from last year, a male named Harrison, was injured and needed help. Harrison was brought to the Glen Helen Raptor Center where he spent time recovering from wounds on one wing. Harrison made a full recovery and was able to be released in Springfield in a territory not already held by other peregrines. To learn more about Glen Helen Raptor Center go to this link: