Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update on Victory

We were very pleased with Victory's release last Friday. She took off strong and flew extremely well. We've had no confirmed reports of her since, however, one observer reported a commotion at the ledge yesterday about 4:30 in the afternoon. According to the report, Scout and Orville were both screaming and flew off the ledge going after something. They came back a little while later, both excited and touching beaks.

From this account it does sound like there might have been an intruder in the territory, however, without a visual confirmation there's no way to tell for sure if it was Victory, a different peregrine altogether, another raptor or even a person up on the roof!

At any rate, keep watching as you'll never know what you'll see! As always, if you are able to read legband codes on a peregrine via the ledgecam you can save the image as a JPG and email it to the Ohio Division of Wildlife at and ask it be forwarded to Donna Daniel (saved images are best taken from the still camera view). I do read all accounts sent to me, although in the interest of time, I regret that I may not be able to respond to each and every email. Nonetheless, I do appreciate all the extra eyes out there helping to keep track of what goes on!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Victory for Victory?

I’m happy to report that after almost 2 years in captivity that today, Victory was released back to the wild!

For review: Victory was hatched in Toledo in 2002, and showed up in Columbus in 2003. She bonded with the resident male at that time, Bandit, but no eggs were produced likely due to her young age. By nesting season 2004, Bandit had been replaced by Orville. Victory and Orville claimed the downtown Columbus territory but again, no eggs were produced. In 2005, her first successful nesting attempt yielded 2 young and in 2006, Victory and Orville successfully raised 4 young. Around Labor Day, 2006, Victory was found with an injured wing from an unknown cause.

If you scroll back through the blog posts you’ll see updates from time to time on her progress. During the course of her reconditioning, it might have been possible that she could have been released sooner. However, since peregrines have such strong homing tendencies, we needed to take into consideration what was happening at the nest at the Rhodes Tower. We did not want to release her while there was an active nest to prevent a potentially bad outcome in the event she came back to Columbus to regain her territory and found another female with young at "her" nest. Therefore, it was decided to wait to release her until the juvenile falcons fledged and were proficient in their flight abilities.

Today was the day for her second chance in the wild. Our goal was to release her away from the Columbus territory since we know there is a resident female claiming that location (Scout). Victory was taken to a rural location in southern Ohio for a simple release with no media or other fanfare. The location was selected so that if she does come back to Columbus it will take her at least a few days during which time she can build up her strength and get back into wild flight condition and be in better shape for a territorial battle, if that is what happens. Of course this is only one scenario. Another scenario is that she could be in worse shape by the time she gets back to Columbus. Yet another possible outcome is she does not come back to Columbus and unless she shows up and is identified somewhere else, we'll never know what became of her. But, all things considered we gave her the best chance again at life in the wild. One thing for sure, had the interested bystander who first saw her injured not intervened, she definitely wouldn't be around now for me to be writing this.

Many, many people were involved in her story, beginning with her initial capture, the medical procedures, throughout her time in rehab and finally, her reconditioning to get her to the point of having a second chance in the wild. It would be impossible to name everyone, so I’ll put a big “THANKS” out there to all of you who were involved directly as well as all of you who didn’t forget about her and would send emails wondering how she was doing. Thanks also to Chris Black for the awesome photo of Victory during her reconditioning. She's a magnificent bird with a strong will that is evident in this photo. I've had firsthand experience with her tenacity, as have many others involved in her care. Let’s hope that her determination works to help her make it! Good luck to Victory!

Nestbox maintenance today + juvie report

This afternoon we'll be downtown to clean out the nestbox, replace the gravel and if time allows paint the box. Normally, we do this maintenance later in fall when it's a bit cooler, but since I have help in the way of a summer intern (remember Matt from a previous post) I wanted to do it sooner than later while he's still available. ;-)

While we are on-site we'll have the video feeds turned off so expect the website to be down while we are working.

The only confirmed sighting of a juvenile falcon this summer came from Mary K. who sent me this photo from 8/15/08. According to the report there were actually 2 juveniles on the ledge along with Scout. Unfortunately, neither showed their leg bands so no confirmation on which ones they were. We'll definitely keep our eyes peeled this afternoon when we are downtown.
Later today I plan to post good news about Victory. Stay tuned...!