Monday, November 20, 2006

FalconCam Update

Other than a few tweaks that are needed, the new ledge FalconCam seems to be working out OK. Thanks to Juanita Woods for saving images in different lighting conditions to help us test.

One thing to know about the new camera is that it has a day/night mode – in low light conditions (morning, evening, and major overcast conditions) it will switch to black and white vs. a color picture. Unfortunately, the black and white picture does not produce the same level of image quality-- however it will allow us to gain additional viewing time at dawn and dusk.

Further adjustments to level the picture and tweak the color will be made in the next several weeks. For now, it is very nice to see the ledge and falcon activity again--two birds!!

Orville's ID confirmed!!

Thanks to Juanita Woods for saving and sending this image that shows Orville's leg band (12/P).

If you can see metal bands on the legs of a falcon sitting in front of the camera please save the image and email it to:
Confirmation of leg band codes is an important tool for tracking peregrine falcons.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

FalconCam back up!!

The FalconCam is back up but we are still in the process of working out the bugs with the new camera and lens. Expect the picture at times to be too dark, too light and/or out of focus. Please be patient while we fine tune the settings to bring you the best picture possible!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Welcome to our TEST

As part of an overall website improvement project, beginning in January, 2007 all Columbus Peregrine Falcon Updates will be recorded on this blog.

In the past, visitors to our website have accessed a chronological update of goings-on at the Rhodes Tower peregrine nest on a calendar year basis found under the "Latest Happenings" link. In order to streamline the process whereby updates are posted about the nest, we will be utilizing the blog technology. Visitors can still access the updates under the "Latest Happenings" link, however it will direct you to this blog. Fall, 2006 updates will be posted in both locations and we hope to completely transition to the blog beginning in January, 2007.

Thanks for your patience during this time. We hope that these improvements will make the information more useful and interesting to all of the Columbus Falcon Fans.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Velocity Update & Photos

Part of Velocity's training with the falconer involves a quail being suspended in mid-air. Velocity, attached to a creance (think of it as a type of leash so she doesn’t escape) is released and allowed to fly at the quail. (This is the scene in the bottom photo.) At first the prey is put low and close to her but as the training progresses the quail will be put higher and further away to simulate as close to a natural prey situation as is possible. For those of you who are able to watch the Wild Ohio video program, her story will air on an upcoming episode later this winter. These pictures were saved off of video filmed for the segment.

Unfortunately, the latest report is that she has broken more feathers. Further training will be limited so as to not damage new feathers coming in. Some feathers may not come in until her normal molt next summer which will prolong the time she has to remain in captivity.

Photo of Scout

I managed to grab a photo of Scout yesterday during additional work on a replacement ledge camera. Here is Scout watching fellow biologist Gary Ludwig as he was making adjustments to the camera housing. Scout buzzed us a few times during our work on the ledge, as did another falcon (hopefully Orville but no ID was made). Light rain/drizzle seemed to keep them fairly passive.

Monday, November 06, 2006

New Female's ID known

The new female observed last week was identified as “Scout” hatched in 2005 from the New Center/Fisher Building in Detroit, Michigan. Ironically, the adult female that reared Scout is “Alpha” from the 2001 Columbus nest!!! Alpha was one of 3 females produced in Columbus by then nesting pair Bandit and Katie. The nest chronology for that year is no longer available, but nesting highlights can be viewed here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

New female in Columbus?

We are close to getting the FalconCam back up and running. Today a new camera was installed, now we just need to work out some bugs with the lens and focus. While working on the camera, two falcons swooped on us. Both birds were adults. Although we weren’t able to confirm it, we believe the male to be Orville. The female was banded black over green: P/72. We are currently researching the origin of this bird and hope to have the information in an update on the site next week.

Regarding Victory, the pins in her wing were removed late last week and according to the x-ray, the bone has healed. She is now in a flight cage for observation and strengthening. It is still too soon to tell if she’ll be able to be released but we are still hoping for the best. If she is releasable and the new female is still in Columbus, it is likely that Victory will attempt to regain her territory. Even if she is released elsewhere in Ohio or beyond she could find her way back to Columbus. Of course it’s really too soon to wonder about “what if’s.” Let’s just hope that Victory’s recuperation continues on the right track.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Photo of Victory in rehab!

Victory is still doing well. Past updates have reported that pins were placed in her wing. Here is a photo from the Ohio Wildlife Center to show what they actually look like. Their function is to keep everything in place while the bone heals. The pins (5 total along the strip in the photo) may be ready to be removed in the next week or two.

update on Victory & Velocity

Victory continues to do well. We anticipate that the bone will be healed enough soon to allow the pins to be taken out of her wing. At that time she will likely be transferred to another facility for flight evaluation. It is once she is put into a flight cage and can use her wing in actual flight that we will be able to get an idea of whether or not there was tendon damage. Even with a healed bone, damaged tendons could permanently ground her. We are hoping for the best!

Velocity is also doing well in the care of a falconer. As previously reported she is in the process of being taught to hunt and kill her own food-a necessary life skill she did not have the chance to learn in the wild. More details on the training to come soon.