The young peregrines have grown quickly and at almost six weeks old they are preparing to take their first flights. Over the past few days the chicks have been stretching their wings often. The white fluffy feathers of the chicks have been completely replaced by the darker adult feathers. Juvenile falcons have longer flight feathers than the adults to make it easier to learn the flying skills needed to become an excellent hunter in their first year. The two older chicks are spending time on the roof behind the nest box and have no downy feathers remaining. This large space is perfect for strengthening their wings with test hops and flapping. Fledging is the name of the process of young birds learning to fly. The chicks usually start fledging around six weeks old. If you don’t see them on the camera image it is because they are practicing leaving the nest box by walking on the ledges and the roof. After stretching and flapping their wings, their first flight will be from the 22nd floor where the nest box is located. This is a view from the sidewalk in front of the Liberty Savings Tower.
The two chicks that hatched slightly later than their siblings still have some downy white feathers remaining and are a few days behind the other two. Dayton and Daniel continue to keep a close eye on the chicks and are always nearby.
We are in the process of hosting a naming contest for the four chicks, so if you haven’t voted, be sure to click here to vote.