Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Milestone

This morning marks the first time one of the chicks has made it to the upper ledge! I know folks will be worrying about a chick falling off the ledge and/or being blown off by a gust of wind. That is certainly a possibility given the nature of a cliff-nesting bird. However, in 15 years of hosting nesting peregrines at this site it has never happened so while technically it is possible it could occur, I would categorize it as not probable. While we hope it does not happen, keep in mind that peregrine falcons have been successfully raising young on cliffs (natural and man-made) all over the world for centuries and the species has been successful despite certain inherent dangers of that type of habitat.

A couple of points of optimism about the situation:
1) at many other sites the layout of the ledge and nestbox/tray puts the chicks closer to the edge much sooner than here in Columbus. As I have explained in previous posts, the layout of our ledge keeps them further from the edge until they are older.
2) their feathers are coming in so quickly that it won't be long until the chicks have enough flight feathers that even if one should happen to go off the ledge prematurely, it should be able to flutter to the ground. And don't forget, a week from now we will be talking about them flying anyway!

Another common question is what is that blob in front of the ledgecam? It is a "casting" or in other words a mass of undigested bones and feathers that the falcons expel after eating. It is very similar to an owl pellet but is called by a different name.