Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday afternoon egg count

As of 5 p.m. Friday there are still 3 eggs in the nest. Hopefully, by the next update on Monday we'll have a normal clutch of 4!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

3rd egg in the nest!

The count is up to 3! Egg number three was laid sometime between 8 p.m. last night and 7:09 a.m. this morning. The first image of today showed a new egg in the nest. The fact that she appears to not be incubating yet could indicate another egg will be added to the clutch...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Daybreak reveals EGG #2

In low light conditions the cameras automatically switch from color to black and white mode allowing us to see what is going on a little earlier in the morning and a little later at night. About 8 p.m. last night when it got too dark to see, there was still only 1 egg. However, as the sun came up this morning and the cam produced a viewable image the 2nd egg was revealed!!

Perergrines generally lay 4 eggs per clutch and incubation doesn't begin until the last or next to the last egg is laid. The first eggs will be fine without being incubated.

Monday, March 26, 2007

VIDEO of Scout laying the 1st egg!!!

One of our web consultants (Keith Tatum of i5 Consulting) was able to capture a video clip of Scout when she laid her first egg Saturday evening! Call it luck that he logged on a little after 7 Saturday night (what dedication-do we need to pay him overtime?!)

Keith asked me to explain a few things about the video. First, he apologizes for the screen artifacts (cursor, sound icon) that come and go in the video. In his haste to capture and label the video he named it Scout_Hatches_1st.WMV. He realizes she is "laying" not hatching an egg. :-)
The image was captured using iShowU for the Mac. He converted it to the Windows Media Format because it's one that Google accepts. Google was used because it was quick and free to post and they can handle all the traffic in the World.
Watch the 9 minute video clip of Scout laying her first egg.

First Egg for Scout!

It's official! The first egg of the 2007 Columbus clutch was laid at about 7:16 pm on Saturday, March 24th! Eggs are laid every 2-3 days and are slightly smaller than a chicken egg, mottled with a dark, reddish-brown pigment.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Statewide Updates Coming Soon!

While we still wait for eggs here in Columbus, peregrine falcon nesting season is officially underway in other parts of the state. The first egg of the season was discovered at the Cleves, OH, site on 3/7, and eggs have also been reported at Cleveland's Terminal Tower location. Note on a possible new territory: We've gotten information about a pair at Wittenberg University in Springfield (see photo above by Beau Rogers). District 5 staff will be confirming the sighting. The 2007 statewide falcon nesting updates will start early next week. Look for the "Falcon nests around Ohio" link on the Division of Wildlife's main falcon website.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New software restores seconds on the timestamp!

Another tweak to the system today is the changeover to different software that permits the time stamp to show the hour, minutes and seconds. Other features of the software will hopefully prevent further "hiccups" like we've experienced today with the cams being frozen in time. Thanks for your patience while we continue to implement technology improvements!

Scout vs. Orville size comparison

In most birds of prey, including peregrine falcons, the female is physically larger than the male. In fact, for peregrines the size is so dramatic that the leg bands are even a different size between the males and females. Here are 2 pictures-1 of Scout, 1 of Orville-both in about the same place in the nest box. Can you tell which is which?

Answer: The 10:32 AM picture is Orville, the 2:18 PM picture is of Scout. Another note about Orville is his legs, feet and cere (the part of the beak below the eyes where the nostrils are located) are more yellow than Scout's. [The foot color distinction between the 2 individual birds was brought to my attention earlier this year by one of our loyal falcon fans. I apologize that I misplaced the person's name, so if you are that person please email me again so I can give you proper credit!]

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Each cam now a separate image!!!

Today I'm happy to have "retired" the splitter box that provided the picture-in-a-picture since the year 2000. Now, both cams are full size on our website. They can be viewed at the same time by setting both as a floating window (or set 1 to float while the other view is up as the main page). Note that the time stamp may read differently between the 2 pictures - this is a result of both images refreshing at slightly different times.

We are also investigating other webcam software in order to bring back the time stamp showing the hour, minutes and seconds.

We hope to have the live streaming available very soon. Please sign up for our WildOhio eNews and be the first to know when it's activated.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Agile acrobats!

Here are a few shots by Division of Wildlife photographer, Tim Daniel, that hopefully give some idea of the agility of these birds. Still photos can't compare to actually witnessing a falcon in a screaming dive at you, of course, but stopping the motion in time (at 1/1000th of a second!) gives us a view that you'd never be able to pick up with the naked eye if there in person. The flexibility of the wings is especially impressive-the first 2 shots show the extension of wings in an "up flap" that might as well be a full 90 degrees from the body.

To help your perspective in the 3rd photo, the granite structure on the left side of the frame is the verticle side of the Rhodes Tower. This is just as the falcon has banked and is coming back towards us for another pass.

Many have noticed the time stamp on the FalconCam has changed, notably there are no seconds displayed. This is due to using different software from what we have in the past. Unfortunately, it is a limitation of the software that displaying seconds is not possible. We apologize for the inconvenience. However, I can tell you we are currently testing the live streaming video and hope to have it available to all very soon! The added bonus this year will be the separation of the 2 images-no more inset photo!!! Many have asked for that every year and we are finally able to provide that feature also in the very near future. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cam & Live Streaming Video Update

As you can see, we have re-activated the nest box cam. Even though the picture is small, you may have noticed the nest box still has last year's dirt on the walls. I have yet to paint the inside of the box and hope to have that task finished later this week. There are 2 scrapes in the gravel (a scrape is where the eggs will be laid--it is a shallow depression in the gravel that the falcons make by lying down and pushing out with a foot). The birds have been seen going in and out of the box-probably working on the scrape. Now that the inset is turned on we'll have a better view of what they are doing when they go inside.

We are working very hard to have the LIVE STREAMING VIDEO WITH AUDIO available for the coming nesting season. There is also another surprise improvement we hope to unveil very soon. You might have noticed changes already in that the time stamp on the still image has changed and images now update every 15 seconds instead of 30. Here's a picture of Keith Tatum (of i5 Consulting, the firm we hired to improve our website) and Skip Trask (Div. of Wildlife videographer, kneeling) working behind the scenes at the Rhodes Tower on some of the equipment needed to bring you the best FalconCam in existence!!