AUSTIN (KXAN) — Everyone was hopeful when they saw a male suitor hang around the female Peregrine Falcon at the University of Texas tower earlier this year. They thought “Tower Girl” was finally settling down and found her soulmate and that this guy was “The One.”
Alas, two eggs that were recently spotted in Tower Girl’s nesting box aren’t actually fertilized—which isn’t uncommon, says Tim Keitt, an ornithologist with the university.
The university says the falcon has laid as many as four eggs in previous years. “Birds will often lay eggs on a cycle even if they have not been fertilized,” wrote Keitt in a statement.
Bird watchers around campus have reported that Tower Girl did mate with a migratory falcon this year, but it doesn’t necessarily mean baby falcons will be the end result. At the beginning of this year, bird watchers noticed a male falcon that was lingering around longer than the migratory birds. A camera caught the two mating on Jan. 26.
Keitt says he doesn’t know why the eggs laid by Tower Girl this year and in past years have not hatched. “It may be the case that she is infertile and cannot produce young. Another possibility is that her eggs were not fertilized by any male, either because she did not mate or the mating occurred at the wrong time of year,” Keitt explains.
Experts believe for Tower Girl to have a successful chance at producing chicks, she’ll need to pair with a resident male falcon—which is difficult since the nearest population of resident Peregrine Falcon is in the Big Bend region. However, once she finds him, the two will pair for life.
The group watching over her nesting box will not be removing the eggs to avoid driving her to another nesting site. Watch the Falcon Cam here.