Monday, February 25, 2008

Website update and final outcome for Velocity

First the bad news: extensive problems with our server are still causing both the still photos and the live, streaming video to be down. We hope to restore the site this week, but next week may be more likely. Either way we will still have to deal with inconsistent service until we work out all of the bugs. We are very sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully, the troubleshooting and delays that are necessary now will help things run more smoothly and lessen system troubles during actual nesting. Thanks to every fan for your patience!

Now the other news: remember Velocity, one of the four fledglings from the 2006 nest in Columbus? Velocity crashed into a window on one of her first flights. Eventually she ended up on the ground and was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility where she was given a clean bill of health--other than missing key equipment: the collision with the window had caused most of her tail and several primaries to fall out. Without these important feathers we knew she would have trouble navigating the skies which would seriously hamper her progress in learning to fly, maneauver and catch prey. Other than missing feathers everything else seemed in order so it was decided she spend some time with an experienced falconer who would be able to teach her to hunt. This was a long process that started first with letting her sit tight until the feathers grew back in.

Fast forward to the fall of 2007 after her feathers were replaced by molt. The method of training the falconer used involves sending bait up in the air on a kite and releasing the bird to fly to the bait. Eventually, Velocity was able to gain altitude to about 75 feet with no problem. However, when the bait was raised higher she seemed reluctant to fly the distance to the bait, simply giving up and coming back down to perch on the ground. Several different approaches were attempted over many weeks of training but she simply lacked stamina. Finally, it was deemed that this bird just did not have what it would take to survive in the wild. This wasn't the outcome we had hoped for but the next best thing is that Velocity will stay in Ohio in captivity: she will be an ambassador and represent her species in the world of wildlife education. Velocity is the newest member of the Glen Helen Raptor Center Education team to be used in public programing teaching wondering minds about peregrine falcons and conservation of wildlife. As soon as I get a current photo of her I will post it here. Thanks to Glen Helen Raptor Center and the falconer for their efforts!