Friday, June 13, 2014

The Dreaded Empty Ledge Syndrome

As was reported last time, this fledge season has been an exciting one.  Viewers on the ground and the web have been able to witness fledglings come back to the nest on their own which doesn't always happen.  It isn't a guarantee that a fledgling will come back to the nest ledge because the building is so tall, but it is always exciting when they do and we believe it indicates a good, strong falcon that has command of their flight ability.  In particular, it seems Hoshi has mastered the trip back multiple times already! 

Besides fledglings making it back to the ledge on their own, the ledge has also remained busy with our relocations of Dart on Monday and Blaze on Wednesday.  But now the ledge is empty once again, as this morning just after 8 a.m. Blaze flew.   One of the reasons for the cams is to provide the opportunity for the world to watch these birds grow up...and that is exactly what they do--grow up.  And part of that development is they mature to the point that they fly away.  Great news for the peregrines but with that goes the opportunity to watch them on a daily basis and I know from the many emails that I get some viewers have a harder time than others with that bittersweet "empty ledge syndrome."

So...what's next?  Away from the ledge, the juvenile falcons will spend the coming days and weeks perfecting their flying and hunting skills.  Hopefully, we'll see them check back in at the nest ledge and if so, we can confirm individuals by reading the leg bands.   As time goes by and they gain their independence, they will venture farther and farther away from the Rhodes Tower.  They will likely stay in the downtown region until later this summer when they will leave the area to hopefully, survive and establish a nesting territory of their own elsewhere.  

Now that all of the juveniles are flying, it will be impossible to track each bird on a daily basis.  Unless we hear otherwise, we will assume the falcons are doing well.  We will scale back on updates here except for especially notable reports. 

We sincerely thank all of the viewers for making the Columbus FalconCam one of the most popular peregrine sites out there! And we thank each and every one of the over 31,000 people from over 50 countries who have read this blog so far this season! We truly appreciate every one's interest in and support of the ODNR, Division of Wildlife's Columbus Peregrine Falcon Project.