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Friday, 11 July 2014

Here to stay

Following on from ‘The best of both Worlds’ there is now little doubt that the ringed juvenile female has switched parents and siblings.

Over the last week or so I have been back and forward from this site to Parliament a number of times, the idea being to confirm whether or not she is commuting between her 2 sets of adults and siblings. It is intriguing stuff and I can confirm that there are only ever 2 juveniles at Parliament, I would be very interested if anyone who reads this blog and visits Parliament in the near future see’s more than 2.

My last visit to check on her was on Wednesday July 9th, this was at her usual adopted site and not Parliament, she was at roost not 4 metres from her unringed new sibling sister, the male juvenile has already become aloof and singular.
Watching the 3 of them on Wednesday for around 4 hours showed the order of feeding to be, unringed female first, then ringed female and the male had not been fed by the time I left. I have no doubt that the adults see the 2 juvenile females as ‘equals’ and it is not a conscious thing to feed their ‘blood’ offspring first. It is and always will be, first come first serve, the juvenile females will also dominate the juvenile male when it comes to the pecking order being larger and stronger.

Ringed juvenile female practicing on a feather

Ringed juvenile with the juvenile male

So at this early stage of fledging, the juveniles of both pairs will be with the adults into August/September, sometimes longer so why did this ringed juvenile leave her own blood family and take up with another permanently only 2-3 weeks after fledging?
I tend to look for reasons why and have been trying to find some literature on it; I remember reading about it on a rural pair year ago but can find nothing on it scrolling the web.

At the time of ‘defecting’ was it a case of seeing and interacting with the neighboring juvenile after fledging and then just following it back to its natal site and liking her new site better?
It is easy to apply human emotions to the case and always look for a reason but it could well be that on close nesting pairs it could be a regular occurrence, who would know unless monitored regularly.

Being a female she will always slightly dominate her new adult Tiercel but was it the case that to a certain extent she is dominating the adult Falcon as well?

Was acceptance by the adopted adults based on the fact that they lost one of their own juveniles?
I suspect not, the adults instinct is to hunt and feed, numbers of juveniles become immaterial, they just react to their presence and hunger calling and will supply them with food.

I have no doubt that if the whole brood of 3 had come over and adopted them, making 5 to feed, they would have just got on with it and fed them.

I suspect it is the maternal instinct kicking in and numbers mean nothing.

But would every 'adopted pair' react the same……………?

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