He was last seen on the nest, looking perfectly healthy, on Friday evening, April 27, at around 6 PM. Since then, he has completely disappeared, and sadly, we have to start accepting that a serious mishap has befallen him - most likely some kind of injury or poison. As we well know, this nest is surrounded by highly trafficked city streets, but though several of us have prowled around for the past three days looking in all the areas where the hawks hang out, we have found no sign of him.
What does this mean for the three eyasses? They now only have one parent to keep them warm and protected on the nest, as well as to provide the ever-increasing amounts of food needed to fuel their prodigious growth rate.
Fortunately, the weather here in Philadelphia is warm, and now that the eyasses are a week or more old, their thermo-regulatory systems are starting to kick in and they will be able to generate body warmth when the formel is off the nest hunting for food.
So far, she is doing a magnificent job of providing food for them, even though she is somewhat out of hunting shape after her weeks of sitting incubating the eggs. All three eyasses are active, alert, and eating well. Kay Meng took these pictures on Monday afternoon, April 30.
#3 in the middle here, at two days younger than the other two, is still noticeably smaller but always seems to get to the front of the line eventually for its share of food.
... but he soon gets back in the game.
The formel is doing a fine job of keeping the pantry full of small, furry mammals - mostly rats, mice and voles.
The eyasses eat at full throttle. As fast as she can rip off the meat, they reach up and grab it from her beak.
Occasionally, the reach exceeds the grasp, and the piece is simply too large to go down.
When this happens, the formel will reach down, and gently pull the large chunk back out...
... re-size it, and start over.
They eat until their crops are just about bursting.
Meanwhile, though the formel faces enormous challenges to raise these eyasses on her own, she seems to be doing really well so far.
This picture of the tiercel was taken on April 20, the day before the first eggs hatched this year.