Thursday, July 24, 2014

Confirmation on Dart!

Last Wednesday, there was an unexpected visit to the ledge by Dart!   He was very cooperative and sat on the ledgecam platform so that his identity could be confirmed via leg band codes:

We were definitely glad to know he is alive and well.  Hoshi also has been seen on the ledge several times since fledging.  As recently as Monday there was yet another sighting of a juvenile on the ledge, although there was no confirmation of which young falcon it was.
Durand and Spark have been fairly active at the nest ledge also--checking in, scraping in the nest box and generally just being present.  These behaviors serve to continue their bond to each other and the territory.  Here they were recently:
Blaze remains in rehab.  She is doing quite well and has recovered from the keel issue and is now fully capable of flight.  At least on paper, she is ready to be released.  But timing is everything in these cases and unfortunately, timing is not good for Blaze.  The quandary is, when she was grounded and taken in for evaluation, she had not yet learned to hunt on her own.   She has been gone from the territory for an extended length of time during a key period in the nesting cycle (when the juveniles become independent of the adults) that there is a definite concern with releasing her back in the downtown area.  As mentioned above, Durand and Spark have shifted gears from raising youngsters to bonding with each other and the site so they probably would no longer provide food for Blaze.  In fact, there is the possibility that they might even consider her an intruder into the territory and could be aggressive towards her, were she to be released back in Columbus, especially at or near the nest site. 
So, for now she remains in limbo while we evaluate all the options for release.  We'll continue to post here as the outcome is determined.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Status Report on Blaze

Nothing much new to report on Blaze other than we were hoping she would have started getting active and doing her own exercising by now.  Since she hasn't, rehab staff will begin working with her several times a day to get her flying and working those muscles.  For the most part, it is pretty much a wait and see situation.

On another note, we are still (occasionally) seeing a juvenile return to the ledge, presumably Hoshi.  It's actually not really that common for the fledglings (now old enough to technically not be considered fledglings any longer) to keep coming back to the nest ledge as we have seen this year...but nonetheless it is appreciated by all watching!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

More On Blaze

We have received an update on Blaze. It appears that Blaze has an issue with her keel.  For those that don't know, the keel is an extension of the breastbone (highlighted in blue below). The keel provides an anchor where bird's wing muscles attach, this provides the leverage needed for flight. Not all birds have keels, flightless birds lack a keel structure.
Through a detailed examination including x-rays, it was discovered that Blaze's keel is knobby and thickened at the top on both sides. This could be a developmental issue, but most likely traumatic. She may have hit the ground or a building on one of her first flights.  This early undetectable injury is the reason she hasn't had the strength to stay up.  There is no other sign of trauma.  She flaps both wings well and perches with no problems.

The vet who examined the bird did say that since she is young, it is possible the keel will reform or she will build up enough strength to overcome her injuries. But nothing is for certain.

Right now she is at a wildlife rehabilitation facility where she has an 80 foot flight cage.  She can fly the length of the cage, but it's difficult for her.  She needs time and that's what we are going to give her.  She is eating well and able to maneuver to high perches without any assistance.  We will update the blog as new information becomes available but for now she will stay put and hopefully recover for a release later this summer.