Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2013

As I've done in recent years, the new calendar gives me a great excuse to share some statistics about the Columbus FalconCam blog, as well reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming season.

2012 in Columbus saw the second year in a row with infertile eggs.  As far as we know it was the pair's second attempt at nesting and by outward appearances (plumage), both the female (Durand) and the male (unbanded, unknown) should have been mature enough to have a successful mating.  But since we ended up with infertile eggs, evidently one or the other still was not quite mature-or-perhaps there was another problem that remains unknown.  Late in the incubation period (early May) the male disappeared from the territory, his whereabouts and status unknown.  Interestingly, he exhibited this same behavior in 2011, apparently leaving the territory towards the end of the incubation phase.  To continue the similarities between 2011 and 2012, a new male quickly moved in to take over the territory.  In 2011 it was Matrix (19/B); in 2012 it was Spark (32/B).  When the cams were restored prior to nesting season in February of 2012, Matrix had been replaced by the unbanded male.  We don't know what happened to Matrix but it is possible the unbanded male returned to reclaim the Columbus territory. Only time will tell if he returns for the 2013 season.

Despite not having a hatch, dedicated fans continued to keep tabs on the Columbus nest via this blog.  Here are the stats from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012:
Total number of visits:  135,264 (compared to 147,820 in 2011)
Number of unique visitors:  36,519 (37,409 in 2011)
Highest traffic day was May 8, 2012 with 4,194 visits.  May 8th was right in the thick of when eggs would have been due to hatch and Spark showed up at the nest.
Visits came from 65 countries/territories and Ohioans viewed the most (72% of visits)!
A BIG THANK YOU to all of our fans everywhere!

Looking ahead to 2013:  We certainly hope that Spark remains as our resident male.  Both Spark and Durand make frequent visits to the nest ledge, both singularly and as a pair.  Here's a video of Durand and Spark bonding in the nestbox on January 2, 2013

Some other changes for the new year:  I will continue to be the Columbus site manager but I am also excited to introduce Karen Norris, who will have a more active role in the Central Ohio peregrine project.  Karen is our ODNR, Division of Wildlife, District One's Wildlife Communication Specialist.  In her position she interacts with school children, writes articles and news releases and conducts interviews with the media.  She has been with the Division for over 12 years and is excited to have the opportunity to be more involved with the peregrines.  Karen and I will work together to continue to bring you all of the latest happenings with the Columbus nest.  Welcome, Karen!!!