Friday, February 27, 2015

Cam Update

We were hoping to get the nestbox camera back up and running by March 1.  Unfortunately, this will be delayed.  We requested a new computer earlier this year and have been working through the purchasing process so we can get both streams functioning just as soon as feasible.  We apologize for the inconvenience but at least both Durand and Spark have been very visible via the ledge camera!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Happenings Downtown

As indicated would be done in the last update, we swapped out the old ledge camera for new so viewers can again see what is happening on the ledge.  Here is one of the adults perched on the nestbox camera housing.  In the near future we will replace the the old, scratched lens (causing the appearance of black dots at the top of the frame).  We'll also be working to fine tune some of the exposure settings on the new camera.  In order for both streams to be back up and running we need to replace a computer--we are investigating our options on that end.
On another note, a new nestbox was installed on the nearby Riffe Center in order to give the peregrines an alternative nesting site downtown.  The new nestbox is located in the NE corner of the Riffe's observation deck (31st floor) and is in direct view of the nestbox at the Rhodes Tower.  We don't expect an additional pair of falcons to take up residence downtown because the nestboxes are so near to each other (and falcons are extremely territorial) but the new nestbox gives the resident pair another choice for nesting. 
There are currently no cameras on the new nestbox.  It is probably easily seen from the upper floors on the south side of the Huntington Center.  If anyone who works in the Huntington Center on floor 32 or higher with a south view would like to volunteer to keep an eye on the new nestbox, please email for details.  Please send a note with "attn: Donna Daniel" as the subject to this email address. The Riffe at least seems to be a popular place for the resident peregrines to dine as we found many prey remains scattered about!
Riffe Center Peregrine Falcon Nestbox

Thursday, January 08, 2015

R.I.P. LedgeCam

Unfortunately, the diagnosis of yesterday's black screen is that the ledge camera has died.  For the time being we are streaming the nestbox feed in its place with sound from both the nestbox and ledge.  We actually already have a replacement camera for the ledge view waiting in the wings, as we had anticipated its demise based on its age.  Weather permitting, we will install the new ledge camera very soon, as well as continue to pursue a new computer in order to restore both streams prior to nesting season.  Thanks for every one's patience!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Camera Issue

At some point today the streaming video and still picture feature went black.  We are currently trying to troubleshoot whether this is a camera issue or a software issue but so far no luck.  Thanks for your patience and we'll do our best to get the images restored as soon as possible!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy New Year!

Durand and Spark spent some time on a sunny ledge this bitter cold, 5th day of 2015 in downtown Columbus. 
The start of a new year is naturally the time to look back and reflect on the past year.  The Columbus Peregrine Falcons had a great year with 4 eggs laid.  Three eggs hatched - two of the fledglings did well and we assume (and hope!) they are surviving and thriving where ever they may be.  The third fledgling did not fare so well on her own but is now a permanent captive at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary where she will be a star member of their educational programing.  All the details can be found in the archives.

As I typically do this time of year, I also like to summarize this blog.  Here's a report of the traffic from January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014:
Total number of visits - 197,458 (compared to 181,479 in 2013 and 135,264 in 2012)
Number of unique visitors - 43,901 (compared to 43,514 in 2013 and 36,519 in 2012
The highest traffic day was Monday, April 28 with 4,417 hits! Hatching had begun over the weekend so evidently many viewers were anxious to check in when they got back to school and/or work on Monday morning. 
Visits came from 65 countries/territories with Ohioans making up over 81% of the traffic. 
A HUGE THANK YOU to all of our fans everywhere!!!

Looking forward to 2015 - we'll be working to get both cams back online with sound as soon as possible but certainly by March 1.   We appreciate every one's patience until then.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 05, 2014

A New Direction For Blaze

Not many people realize the fact that upwards of 70% of birds (yes, 7 out of 10!) do not survive to their first birthday. This is true for common backyard birds like mourning doves and robins, as well as peregrine falcons. Urban peregrines have a slight edge because many humans are watching out for them, especially at publicized nest sites like in Columbus. Fans will recall this past fledging season was extra busy in that each of the 3 fledglings was grounded and returned to the nest ledge or other high perch.

Blaze (48/Z), in particular, was retrieved from the ground 3 times. We now know she suffered some type of subtle and undetectable trauma on her first attempt at flight, which prohibited her from getting proper lift on attempts after.  She has been in the care of wildlife rehabilitators since late June. Unfortunately, after months of care and evaluations, there hasn't been the improvement with Blaze that we were hoping for. Despite efforts to get her back to where she needs to be in order to be a wild peregrine, this falcon lacks the ability to fly as well as an aerial hunter needs to and it is doubtful she could ever overcome this deficiency. For that reason, we have deemed her unsuitable for release back to the wild.

This kind of decision is not made lightly--for release into the wild, a peregrine must be as close to tip top shape as possible or it would be irresponsible to set it free, knowing it probably wouldn't survive. So, while not our first choice, nonetheless, it was the best choice for 48/Z.  And remember, were it not for the interested individuals reporting her on the ground, she probably would not have survived at all.

Being unfit to survive in the wild left two other options.  Some raptors do not adapt well to captivity, and in that type of case, euthanasia is the most humane solution.  But Blaze exhibited an acceptable disposition to be considered a permanent captive. Therefore Blaze will become the newest avian staff member of the education program at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. Through outreach programs, Blaze will serve as an ambassador for the species helping OBS to educate and increase awareness about peregrine falcons, wildlife conservation and the role that birds of prey play in the ecosystem. Quite an important job and what a great candidate to fill the role... We wish the best for Blaze and know she is in very, very good hands.

On another note, the young peregrine from Pennsylvania that was found back in early September, remains in rehab. This bird had several feathers that were damaged.  New feathers were imped to replace the damaged ones, but unfortunately, the process was unsuccessful. This falcon will have to remain in the care of a wildlife rehabilitator until new feathers grow in.

Meanwhile, the problem with the nestbox video feed is a dead computer.  We are looking into replacement hardware and software options.   In terms of falcon activity, both the adult peregrines continue in the area and are being seen via the ledgecam at least a few times a week. They will likely stay the winter in Columbus.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Good Day For a Falcon Release

We're happy to report that the juvenile peregrine recovered from the London Correctional Facility earlier in October was released today!  Here is Kristi Krumlauf of the Ohio Wildlife Center giving the falcon its freedom.  It flew strong and climbed high in the sky and soared on a warm, thermal air current.  Last we saw it was a mere spec against a blue sky background drifting towards the south.
While the falcon was unbanded so we don't know where it came from, it does however, begin the next chapter in its life with leg bands so if/when it is located again researchers will at least know it detoured through Madison County, Ohio, in its first fall on the wing. Thanks much to Kristi and the other staff at OWC for treating this bird.
 The other "mystery" peregrine recovered from downtown Columbus in early September is no longer a mystery.  This falcon, a female, was banded at the Westinghouse Bridge in East Pittsburgh, PA, on July 1 and fledged approximately July 18.  "As the peregrine flies" its hatch location is about 169 miles from Columbus: 
The plan for this peregrine patient is still to imp feathers with the intention of a release yet this fall.
Finally, Blaze continues to have issues with flight so there isn't much to update at this time.  The next step is to take another look at the keel via x-ray.  Hopefully, next post we'll have more information.