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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Late Juvenile - impaired?

This bird which I first noted back in September easily stands out due to the fact that she has some missing primaries in her right wing, what surprises me is that she is still present in November. It looks as if the adults are not only tolerating her but feeding her still, it is a little unusual this late but after watching both adults ignore her begging calls last week I didn’t expect her to be present on Sunday, let alone being fed.

Even more of a surprise was the fact that the Tiercel allowed her to take prey off him after last week; this took place in an aerial food pass as the juvenile intercepted him. It could be that he didn’t have a lot of choice, he was low and had to release, it was very early in bad light and he was possibly struggling with the prey. With her hanging on there was likely no other option, additionally also it could be that to an extent, juvenile females, due to their size and brood dominance over males bring about this reaction even from their father. He in particular of this pair is the main provider and the instinct to react to the begging calls and feed is still strong, he is still very territorial likely due to the juvenile’s presence. Having said that last week he totally ignored the juvenile but the Falcon was present, following her lead?
I have heard from America that some brood juvenile females have dominated adult Tiercel’s returning whenever they like and relieving them of prey, I suspect this is when the adult Falcon is not present.
Such may have been this case as I did not see the adult Falcon all morning.

Black Headed Gull being brave whilst she is bringing in prey in poor light

The damaged wing clearly seen

Lo light photo showing the extent of the damage - impairing her hunting?

About to feed

Another reason and possibly the right one is that the damage to the right wing is impairing her ability to hunt and it could be that she is having trouble catching prey of her own; this would make sense also due to the lateness of her still being present. She may still be so reliant on the adults, it could be she has not the confidence to go out on her own, I wonder how long they will tolerate her, especially the Falcon.

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