Cheryl and I got to the trail head at 8 and started for the cliff.
We had just settled in and found the falcon at 8:35, sitting in a hole, with fluffed-up feathers, looking cold.
After watching all day, I think the earlier reports have the gender of the falcon and tiercel backwards. I now think the dark full hooded, light backed, orange taloned bird is the male. The one with the malar stripes and yellow feet is the female. This is based on their behavior. I still haven’t seen them together close enough to tell them apart by size.
8:52 wailing from the falcon with the malar stripes, sitting in the hole.
8:55 another wail and we are waiting for it to fly
8:57 It flies to the south and returns, landing on the ‘porch’ of the nest cave at 9:00. The other flies off and neither of us can see where.
9:35 The full hooded male (?) lands in a hole, north and slightly below the cave. It preens.
9:45 It flies
10:18 wailing and Cheryl finds it in the horizontal crevice, sitting behind an orange flower, eating a very large bird with white underside and dark top.
We climb to the top of the hill and are nearly level with the cave.
11:00 The full hooded bird flies to the cave and the female (?) comes out. She goes to sit on a rock to the south of the cave.
11:15 She goes to the horizontal crevice, then flies again
11:43 Another nest exchange with wails and e-chups. We are high enough to be able to see her settle down, turn the eggs and do the shimmy, settling on the eggs. From our vantage point, we can see her back but can’t see the eggs.
12:15 The male flies from above the big cave, wailing, and lands in the horizontal crevice.
He pulls out another bird, a much smaller one, from behind the orange flowering plant and starts to pull off feathers.
12:10 He takes off, carrying the bird, flies south. Then he lands on the porch, drops the bird. She runs to it and grabs it and takes off flying .
We come down from the hill.
2:12 We hear wailing and e-chups
2:16 The full hooded bird comes out of the nest cave and goes to the large cave
2:39 He flies
2:50 We see feathers coming out of a hole in the red rock to the south of the pyramid rock
3:10 Another nest and food exchange with the male going in and the female coming out. She goes to the “refrigerator” when she is done eating and preens for a hour.
4:20 She flies back to the nest. Just as she gets there the male comes out the right side. Simulanteously, a Cooper’s Hawk flies past and the male chases it.
It’s been a long, but productive day. We’ve seen 5 nest exchanges and 3 food exchanges (two at the cave entrance and one in mid-air). We’ve seen egg turning. We’ve watched dead prey be retrieved from two locations but have seen no hunting today. I think we have the genders correct now (based on which is retrieving food and delivering it), but we still need to watch more.