Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thanks for reading the Columbus Peregrine Falcon Blog!

Reports are coming in less frequently, but by all accounts it appears all of the female fledglings are doing great. Despite some losses we can chalk up another successful peregrine nesting season in Columbus. So far no sign of a new male but I am confident it is only a matter of time. The rest of the summer is expected to be uneventful. We do have camera and nestbox maintenance on the agenda and I will post updates on those issues as I have details.

As we are at the end of the nesting season for this year I thought I'd take a moment and review some interesting blog stats. I ran a summary for the period of January 1, 2009 through July 20, 2009. During that time the Columbus Falcon blog received a total of 157,549 visits from 64 countries around the world!!! Those hits came from 34,841 different visitors! Average time on the site was 41 seconds with most of the traffic (96.52%) being directed from the ODNR, Division of Wildlife website. The date with the highest number of visits (3,688) was April 29 (the date the 3rd and 4th egg hatched). The date with the lowest number of visits (28) was January 4. Even though there has not been any activity to report on, yesterday (July 20) there were still an amazing 661 hits to the blog.

Of the total number of visits, 228 came from 7 cities in Australia. Here's a picture of one of those dedicated viewers: "Saffi" watches along with Margaret in Sydney!

I routinely get emails expressing appreciation that the blog is an informative and educational tool to go along with the falconcams. The "fan mail" is very nice but in addition, the numbers recorded on the blog report indicate a tremendous following. So, I'll take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone out there for your interest and support of the ODNR, Division of Wildlife's Columbus Peregrine Falcon Project!

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Additional updates over the summer/fall as information becomes available.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sad news - remembering Orville

With all of the concern over the fledglings learning to fly successfully and avoiding windows and other obstacles, it is easy to forget that these same obstacles still present a danger to the adult falcons downtown. I'm sorry to report that Orville, our adult male, was found dead over the weekend.

A Columbus police officer found him in the street near W. Town & S. Gift St. Saturday morning, July 4. I have examined the carcass and noted a broken beak and blood in the cere, thus he likely collided with something and the cause of death would be head trauma. There aren't any tall buildings in that area of Columbus so he may have been struck by a car as he was cruising across the roadway. The death was certainly not related to Red, White and Boom held the previous evening.

Looking back on Orville's history - he fledged from the Dayton nest in 2003 and showed up in Columbus in 2004, replacing our then long-time nesting male, Bandit. He paired with our female at the time--Victory--but no eggs were produced. Victory and Orville produced 2 young in 2005, and 4 young in 2006. In 2007, Victory was replaced by Scout but eggs laid that season were infertile. Scout and Orville fledged four young in each 2008 and 2009 bringing Orville's total young raised during his lifetime to 14. Some photos from over the years:

Orville on banding day in Dayton, 2003:

Orville as a fledgling in 2003:

Orville in 2005:

Now that Orville is gone, it opens the territory for a new male. While you may have heard that falcons "mate for life" this means something very different to people than it does to peregrines. Basically, peregrines (as well as other birds of prey and even Canada geese) keep the same mate for as long as the two are alive. However, when/if something happens to one of the pair, the remaining bird will readily accept a new mate. In the case of peregrines, sometimes a new mate is had in a matter of hours! There's no room for being picky or mournful when your "job" is to reproduce and carry on the species!

So the next order of business is to watch and wait for a new male to take over the Columbus territory. There are so many unmated falcons out there ("floaters") it could happen at any time. We may see a new male this week or it may be next March. We'll be sure to watch the cams for photo evidence of a new male and document any leg bands.

One final note on the fledglings - the three females seem to be doing great as evidenced by their returns to the nest ledge. "Aerial" (65/H) even made an appearance on Friday, so all 3 were accounted for last week. They should be pretty much able to hunt on their own by now so Orville's absence at this stage in the nesting cycle won't have any negative impacts on their survival. They can be expected to remain in the downtown area for the next several weeks but as they become completely independent, will eventually roam further and further from downtown proper. At some point later this summer they will strike out to parts unknown to hopefully survive and establish a territory of their own elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Live Streaming saved-for now

In light of our budget limitations we are fortunate that our live streaming service provider has graciously offered to continue the Columbus FalconCam live streaming video for the next couple of weeks free of charge! So disregard my previous post because for now, at least, the video will continue.

Hopefully, a budget for the state will be approved soon!