The breeding female at the Peregrine Falcon nest on Cobb Island, Virginia died in early April. Falcon fans watched the nest webcam in dismay as the female, known by the public as Renetta, died in her attempt to lay her first egg of the season. CCB researchers recovered the bird for a necropsy in hopes of determining why this occurred.
Dr. Rich Sim of The Wildlife Center of Virginia determined the falcon died from a prolapsed uterus but the underlying reason for the condition was undetermined. Further testing by the veterinary lab at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study was inconclusive.
Thankfully this story does have a happy ending for this falcon nest on Cobb. Within a day of Renetta’s death, two new females battled for access to the male and the Cobb territory (view video of female battle). A few days later a female bonded with the resident male (view new pair) and they laid their first egg on April 25. A second egg was laid on Sunday (view second egg laying event). The nest can be viewed online with a webcam.
CCB monitors the falcons at Cobb Island along with the other 20 breeding pairs in Virginia. Cobb Island was the site of the first Peregrine release in Virginia (read more about hacking). The current nest on Cobb is on the original hack tower structure built in 1978.
Renetta was hatched in 2006 on the peregrine tower located on Gull Marsh 6 miles northwest of the Cobb Island tower. She arrived at the nest in 2010 after the resident falcon pair was displaced by a Barn Owl. Renetta and her mate Mitchell produced 9 young in the 3 years they bred together at Cobb.
The webcam on Cobb Island is provided through a partnership between the Center for Conservation Biology and the Virginia Coast Reserve LTER YouTube videos were prepared by our volunteers at Bird Cameras Around the World. The Peregrine Falcon monitoring project is funded by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Center for Conservation Biology.
Written by Libby Mojica
May, 20, 2013