A Closer Look At Those Who Wear Shorts Too Early

Can you ID this prey item?

The recent post, Peregrine Pair Wears Shorts Way Too Early, posited that wearing shorts too early in the spring could indicate impulsiveness or poor planning but also might relate to a high metabolism in the offender. If the latter, one way to learn more would be to look at their diet.

It was also suggested that the Ocean Gate falcon pair who nested way too early this season, or at least earlier than all of the other falcons in New Jersey, was unusual in that ordinarily coastal falcons nest a bit later than inland falcons as they wait for more significant waves of shorebirds to arrive. Once again, a great way to learn more is to look very closely at their diet. 

Fortunately, The Little Egg Foundation and Chief Kathy Clark of NJFW are doing just that!

After Kathy discovered this super-early nest, she returned immediately and deployed a new Little Egg Prey Cam. So now, Ocean Gate is officially part of our project study group. Just yesterday, she returned once more to band these now giant and healthy baby falcons and, while there, downloaded the first batch photos.

It will be a while before the computers officially process these photos, but Kathy (of course she did!) couldn’t help but peek through the thousands of photos by hand just to get a sense of what we got.

How about this one? Soon we will be opening up our app to volunteers who wish to test their bird ID skills on thousands and thousands of images collected. There is a slight hold up right now, as we wish to put all of our species list into categories of land birds and water birds. If you would like to volunteer to tackle a spreadsheet of 250 species and mark them correctly, email info@little-egg.org.

And what do you know? It sure looks like mostly land birds are being taken at this site.

Now, there is a strong possibility that the pair didn’t nest early because they prefer hunting land birds, but instead that they are taking land birds because they are currently more abundant than shorebirds (because the pair nested too early.) It will be interesting to see what happens when we have a complete set of prey deliveries from the entire season.

Kathy & I are taking the most comprehensive look at the diet of coastal nesting Peregrine ever attempted to answer some critical questions. Every nest is fascinating and unique. While it can be a bit gruesome, studying the hidden world of the Peregrine diet never gets dull. 

Because of its unusual timing, this nest is especially interesting, and I can’t wait to see how it progresses throughout the spring season.

If we can learn something significant here, perhaps we could move on to answering other burning questions, like what precisely makes some people wear shorts, way too early.

This one is a little harder.

Thanks to Chief Kathy for hustling to get this new cam set up despite a busy spring schedule, and to everyone who has donated to support this project. All donations are fully tax deductible.

Bonus: America’s Bravest Duck, II. Is this like a thing? Also, we really need to pack a level when managing the cams. I’ve learned to live with sacrificing my photography to do this kind of thing, but poor horizons and cropping have no place in any photo, no matter the purpose!


  1. Our spring arrivals. 🥺
    Towhee and Baltimore Oriole?
    No idea on number 3.
    Duck saga is fun. I’m rooting for the duck!


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