Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fledging Update

Some activity yesterday but since nothing was confirmed I wasn't able to post anything until this a.m. Now that some folks have had time to watch from the ground and we've gotten some confirmations on band numbers from the webcams we have a pretty good idea of what has occurred.

Yesterday shortly after noon, one of the females took off from the ledge on her own accord. Mary Anne happened to be recording the activity and sent me the video. Two of the females were on the ledge and the 3rd hopped down from the top of the nestbox, to the ledge, flapped hard, then back to the top of the nestbox again. The bird repeated this routine several times and then simply flew off the ledge. I shortened the video to the final moment and apologize for the low quality that has resulted from copying a copy but I think it still shows clearly how well the flight went and that it was completely voluntary.

After that, the two remaining birds stayed out of view most of the afternoon which frustrated everyone since we didn't know for sure if we saw what we thought we did and if so, which birds were left. It wasn't until last evening watchers were able to confirm via the webcams that the two on the ledge were 66/H (Jet) and 67/H (Eclipse). From that we know that it was Aerial (65/H) that fledged yesterday.

There were no other reports from downtown yesterday but reviewing my various sources this morning it was reported that Aerial spent the night on the Rhodes Tower--on the next ledge over to the right from the nest ledge. [I'll interject here and state that when a falcon flies for the first time and is able to maintain and/or regain the altitude and perch high (vs. fluttering to the ground or a low perch) it is much better. Equate it to the first time a kid drives and either stays on the road or winds up in a ditch - the first experience staying on the road is a much better one and helps the confidence!)]

The latest report I received from folks downtown watching is they saw Aerial fly about 6:39 a.m. this morning from the Rhodes Tower but missed a landing on the Huntington Building. However, she was able to regroup and with one of the adults as an escort** perched on another building in a "good spot."

**the report I received included the terminology "escort." This is fairly descriptive but I wanted to clarify. The adults don't "take" the young here or there or show them where to go. But rather when a young bird is flying they are often vocalizing. This squawking combined with an awkward flying style will encourage the adults to fly along with the fledglings. The adults are not able to hold or lift the young up or "save" them in any way if they go low towards the ground or towards a hazard like a window but they will fly along with them.

Finally - I've gotten a few inquiries as to whether Scout and Orville will mourn the loss of Apollo or miss him. It may not be dramatic or exciting, but in reality, they've probably already forgotten about him. They really only focus on the activity and the vocalizations of the moment and so now it's the remaining three that will occupy their time.