As the eyasses become increasingly curious about the world out there...
... nervous nest watchers worry as they see the eyasses move closer to the edge of the nest.
Experienced Franklin Institute nest watchers have lived through this twice already, and know that the eyasses manage to stay safe. I asked John Blakeman why this is, and he shared this fascinating information:
But very infrequently, the little eyass backs up too close to the edge of the nest, and simply falls out backwards, all in the good attempt to direct its slicings away from the nest. Frankly, I’ve never encountered this, but it has been reported. I think that when an eyass falls from the nest during slicing, it may have some neuromuscular difficulties. It happens, but rather rarely. We needn’t concern ourselves with it.
But things are a bit different in true falcons. Falcons don’t slice, they “mute.” Falcons are unable to powerfully project their feces (called “mutes”). Instead, a defecating (“muting”) falcon merely drops her mutes beneath her. This has significant results at falcon aeries [nests], which are almost always on a ledge or cliff.
The eyasses still take long naps, sometimes spread out ....
... and sometimes in a cosy clump.
When they are awake, they are on full alert. Here, the tiercel (dad) has just flown off the nest, and they are intently watching him as he flies across the Parkway.
She sees everything, and here she is keeping a very close watch on a passing dog walker. You can see how huge the eyasses' feet are. They have to keep them arranged out in front so as not to tangle in the nest sticks!
The formel is a very intimidating bird up close. I was glad the window glass is thick.....
The eyasses' wing feathers are starting to grow through their fluff...
... and the characteristic chestnut and black banded tail feathers are apparent. The red tail feathers do not appear for the first two years.
That bobblehead has a serious beak! Their eyes are currently jet black, but by the time the eyasses fledge from the nest, their eyes will be a lovely gold in color. The eyes turn back to black when they are mature hawks. Golden eyes are a clear indication of an immature hawk.
The eyasses line up nicely while mom picks off tasty morsels for them...
... and there is no squabbling as she feeds each one.
After eating, they settle down for the afternoon, but it is not long before this eyass decides to play tug-o-war with a rat carcass, yanking on its tail.
They are intensely curious about what is going on behind the window, showing no fear whatsoever.
The tiercel flew in and joined the family for a quick visit. He is noticeably smaller than his mate, and though he is a stone-cold killer, he has a gentler face than the formel.
He brought a nestling - looked like a young robin - pulled it apart, and enthusiastically fed the eyasses.
The nest now has three year's worth of sticks and towers above the wooden frame that the Franklin Institute installed after the haggards' first few attempts at a nest kept blowing off the ledge.
And so ends another great week for the eyasses and their parents. Let's fasten our seat belts and have the valium on hand for when they start hopping and "catching air" and heading out to the ledge!