Age and warm weather have the chicks--now 3 weeks old--spending more time out of the nestbox! They have been exploring the lower ledge right around the nestbox.
Tuesday (May 20) is the "big day" when the chicks will be equipped with metal leg bands. We will live stream the event via the nestbox feed
beginning about 10 a.m.
To try and offset the freezing up/jerkiness of the video that viewers have been seeing, we likely will disable the ledgecam video feed during the banding in order to only have one video streaming at a time.
When we remove the chicks from the nest they will be given a brief examination for overall health. At that time it will be determined (based on size) if the chicks are male or female. As is true with most birds of prey, the females are larger than the males. So much so, that females actually require a larger size leg band than the males.
The chicks will receive a band on each leg. Even though the chicks still have some growing to do yet, at 3 weeks of age their legs are about the size they will be as an adult so bands can be safely put on the legs. Bands are lightweight and fit loosely much like a human would wear a bracelet. The right leg will be fitted with a USGS
band which has a multi digit number (think of it like a social security number) unique to that falcon. This band is usually not able to be read unless the bird is in hand. That's why peregrines often also get a second leg band, called a "color band." This band will be put on the left leg and will be black on the top, red on the bottom. Color bands have only a few number/letter digits and allow for identifying the bird at a distance.
Banding is done for research purposes - because these bands will stay on the bird for life, they will help to identify this bird wherever it may be seen again. Leg band reports reveal information about bird migrations, survival and behaviors, and are a very important research tool. It is stressful to all involved (falcons and humans both!) when we remove the chicks from the nest but we take precautions to keep disturbance to a minimum and the event brief. In the big picture, a few minutes out of the chicks' day will contribute substantially to what we know about peregrines, as well as help to educate and increase awareness of all who are able to share the event with us either in person or online. Hope you all can watch!