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Feeding Schedule and The Crop

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on April 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

Some people have written in concerned that the parents are not feeding often enough. Actually if you watch continuously they feed pretty darn often! Most of the rest of the time mom is brooding the young to keep them warm. The hawks have something called a "crop." The crop is a food storage pouch that is located near the top of the esophagus. The parents actually cram quite a bit of food into the young each time there feed them---check out the size of the food bits relative to the size of the nestlings. The crop expands as the birds eat and the food is stored there and then slow moves through the digestive system over the next couple of hours. (Think of it as a slow release system). With the young it means that the adults can feed a lot at once and rather than small bits non-stop. For adult birds, it allows them to eat wherever they find prey and then move on.

At the Audubon Wildlfie Care Center, where we raise peregrine falcons, we tend to feed nestling falcons(called eyases) about 6-7 times day beginning before dawn and ending around dark (and we are much less efficient than real birds. The following photo is of nestling falcons at Audubon with full crops.

Interstate peregrines in mews  2006 001.jpg

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