A brand new falcon chick has died after days of rain have poured over its parents and siblings — still encased in eggs.
The chick, which was only over a day old, hadn't been fed since 5 a.m. Friday morning, according to Tracy Maconachie of the Falcon Recovery Project.
"It was just too long between feedings," Maconachie told CBC News late Friday afternoon.
The family of peregrine falcons is nesting atop Winnipeg’s Radisson hotel and is the subject of a live webcam project by CBC Manitoba and the Falcon Recovery Project.
Various pairs of peregrines have been nesting on the Radisson since 1989 and since 2006 live-streaming cameras have been set up near the nesting box so Manitobans and people from around the world can watch the chicks hatch and grow.
There is another live-stream set up on Brandon’s McKenzie Seeds building, where two falcons are also incubating eggs.
This year’s first chick spent most of its short life under its mother, who was trying to keep the chick warm and dry rather than risk feeding it. That meant few meals for the hatchling.
"It’s not that it’s lots of rain. It’s that it’s lots of rain in a short period of time," said Maconachie.
"If this had been spread out over five days, it would have been irritating for the birds, but they would of sort of gone with it and the chicks would have been fine."
Maconachie said the chick looked warm and dry before it died, which was a good sign, but ultimately the feedings were too far apart.
In the next 10 days, the pair will have to protect their other eggs, and any that hatch, from the elements. The number one risk to chicks in the first 10 days of life is getting wet and cold.
In 2008, heavy June rains killed three chicks before they had a chance to fly.
Now, the falcons have been avoiding peeping or making noises at the remaining three eggs they are incubating. Falcons typically make noise to encourage chicks to hatch. When the weather clears up, it is expected the falcons will become more vocal to encourage the other eggs to hatch.
As for the dead chick, Maconachie said Princess will likely toss it over the side of the building, far from her eggs.