Monday, December 20, 2010

Downtown Raptors

There have been 2 falcons coming to the ledge off and on since early December. One is definitely Durand as evidenced by leg bands. The other one is unbanded and while we could assume it is Trooper, some veteran falcon watchers are suspecting it is a different male. I haven't gotten a close enough look to determine one way or another. Is it Trooper? Maybe. Or, it could be another male spending the winter here and once we get closer to nesting season this bird could take off to return to an established territory somewhere else. Or, it could be a male thinking he has taken over the Columbus territory in which case he could be facing a fight when Trooper does decide to return. If it is a different male, Durand doesn't mind and has accepted his presence. Bottom line, with it being the "off season" we shouldn't draw too many conclusions because a lot can change in a short amount of time - we'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, other falcon news: I received this photo of a peregrine (likely Durand) from the 28th floor of the William Green Building (a.k.a. the Bureau of Worker's Comp building) taken last Thursday (12/16/10). This location is about 3 blocks north of the Rhodes State Office Tower on Spring Street between Front & High Streets. It is interesting to see these birds in winter with the snow around. It certainly gives a different perspective!
And, today Chris from the Attorney General's Office sent me this photo. Workers in that building at Gay at 4th Streets (about 2 blocks northeast of the Rhodes Tower) at first thought this was a falcon until they looked closer at the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Identify Peregrines webpage. Upon review of the photos on our website they determined correctly that this is actually a Cooper's hawk. The photo was taken with a cell phone through a telescope! Note how the tail extends much farther beyond where the wing tips end - a tell-tale mark of a Cooper's Hawk! The primarily brown plumage indicates this bird hatched earlier this year.Peregrine falcons get so much time in the limelight it sometimes overshadows the fact that other raptors also make the downtown area part of their home range for nesting, hunting and/or roosting. Another example is turkey vultures. These large, dark birds are often seen soaring the skies of downtown in the spring, summer and fall. They are sometimes mistaken for peregrines simply because they are a large bird in the sky. Vultures like the Wm Green Building (BWC) in particular, often soaring above and setting on the upper ledges to sun themselves and dry their wings. Reports of 4, 6 or even more "peregrines" on the BWC building are certainly turkey vultures. For reference, here is a photo of turkey vultures in flight:
I hope that everyone has a happy and safe Holiday Season and New Year. Here's hoping for a productive 2011 for our peregrine falcons and the other raptors in downtown Columbus!