We studied gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) food delivery and feeding behavior during the nestling period in central West Greenland during the 2000 and 2001 field seasons. We used time-lapse video cameras installed at three nests to record 2677.25 hours of nestling video. Ptarmigan delivered to nests were usually plucked prior to delivery and included the breast and superior thoracic vertebrae. Arctic hare leverets were rarely plucked and often delivered in parts. The most commonly delivered leveret part was the hind legs attached to the lower back. Passerines were rarely plucked and usually delivered whole. After feeding the young, adults removed 20.9% of prey items from the nest, which included items both with and without obvious muscle still attached. Prey delivery rates were similar among nests and increased as nestlings aged. Prey delivery frequency peaked in the morning and evening, with a distinct lull in the late evening and early morning hours. Male and female adults delivered a similar number of prey, though males typically delivered smaller prey than females. Gyrfalcons cached and re-delivered at least 9.1% of all items delivered, and one item was cached and retrieved three times.
Additional publication details
Gyrfalcon feeding behavior during the nestling period in central west Greenland