Thursday, June 25, 2015

Streaming Update

Sorry to report this but I just received word it will be next week before the camera live streaming can be restored.  Again, we apologize for the inconvenience!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cams Offline

Server issues will have the cams offline at least for a few hours today...we are hoping that the live streaming for both cams will be restored by Tuesday, June 23.  Even though all the falcons have fledged there are still folks out there watching (me included) in the hopes of seeing one or both of the juveniles (and/or the adults) return to the nest ledge. Unfortunately, these type of technology adjustments take time and coordination by various agencies and individuals so I can't say for sure when both streams will be running again but we are hoping for as short of an interruption as possible!  Thanks for your patience!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Inconclusive Info on Flash

Flash remains in rehab for observation and rest.   She had a few superficial indications of a rough landing but nothing serious.  She is very calm, eating well and even bathing.  But there is a mystery regarding her feathers.  Her feathers appear very thin, similar to how old feathers that are damaged from parasites can appear.   This is puzzling because of course they are brand new feathers and there are no parasite issues at this nest.  Because of the condition of the feathers there is concern of whether or not she will be capable of sustained flight.  I wish I had more conclusive information but for now she will be allowed to rest under observation while she recovers from the bumps and bruises.  After some rest and she becomes more active she can be flown in captivity to see what she really may be capable of in terms of flight.  

Meanwhile, Bolt and Storm are continuing to make appearances at the nest ledge.  Both were on the ledge with the adults earlier this week.  And, thanks to Mike Horn, here is a photo of Storm who spent part of the day Tuesday on the LeVeque Tower:
Durand and Spark are making their share of visits to the ledge as well including scraping in the nestbox.  It's not that they are considering a second clutch but rather this behavior serves the purpose to confirm their bond to the site.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Storm & Bolt Return!

Special guest blog by intern Ella Weaver:
Just as we write that regular updates will taper off, we have had an action packed weekend on the 41st floor ledge.  Since the last update, Bolt and Storm were both spotted returning to familiar territory!
On Friday afternoon, despite the rain, some delight (and a sigh of relief perhaps) is shared among the falcon project supporters as Storm is spotted returning to the nest ledge for the first time since leaving the safety of the ledge almost a week earlier. Even more bliss from fans occurs when images are captured of both juveniles reunited again.  
The juveniles are beginning to become familiarized with traveling to new locations and their ability to fly.  They may, however, continue to return to this recognizable location until they are altogether comfortable with hunting and flying on their own. Both adult peregrines also ventured back and forth to the nest and ledge this weekend, perhaps checking in on the fledglings and their new found freedom.  On Sunday night we catch a special glimpse of Storm and the adult female (Durand) sharing a meal
Even early today both adult falcons are spotted occupying the ledge for their morning meal. Overall, it appears that both juveniles are adjusting to their new lives of flight properly and are well on their way to becoming fully functioning adult peregrines.
No evaluation on Flash yet - we will post when info is available!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flash Flight

The bottom line:  Flash was captured at the Ohio Statehouse grounds this morning and is now at a wildlife rehabilitation clinic for evaluation.  We wanted to err on the side of caution and have her checked out due to her flights resulting in subsequent lower elevations.  In addition, once I had her in hand, besides the tender foot that we knew about already, there was also a scuff on her cere so she evidently hit something at some point during an early flight.   If a grounded fledgling seems strong and capable with no apparent injuries, we often return them to the ledge but in this case I thought a thorough exam would be the better option.
Now, to go back and fill in the blanks since Tuesday:  Flash remained on the 5th floor ledge of the Rhodes Tower until this morning.  Many, many thanks to the extra eyes keeping tabs on her all week, but I especially want to give a shout out to Ron M., who gave me multiple reports daily and was able to confirm that she was getting fed by the adults during her stay on that ledge.  So evidently she must have figured it was time to try again and this morning, she ended up in a flowerbed at the Statehouse, directly across the street from where she had spent the last few days.  Another shout out to Mary, veteran Falcon Fan, and Tamra, the Grounds Manager at the Ohio Statehouse.  Tamra followed my "falcon emergency protocol" that I distribute to major buildings/law enforcement in the area prior to fledge to a T and I was made aware of the situation within minutes.  These two, and a few other grounds crewmen were my backup to surrounded Flash so I could net her.  After a quick look, I transported her to the wildlife rehabilitation center.  
Unfortunately, no news on Bolt or Storm so we assume they are well on their way to learning how to be independent peregrines.  With the "empty nest" and the assumption that the remaining two fledglings are okay, regular updates will now taper off except for significant news such as updates on Flash and/or if we get a confirmation on Storm.   
A HUGE Thank You to those mentioned and to all the others behind the scenes that have called and/or emailed and/or watched from the sidewalk to help keep track of Flash and all of the fledglings, as well as all the fans watching from home, work and school. The amount of interest and support in the Columbus Falcon Project is impressive year after year!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

NewsFlash! (News on Flash)

Shortly after my post yesterday things started to happen (isn't that always the way?).  Bolt was seen at the nest ledge again!  And, Flash (37/Z) was spotted on a lower ledge of the Rhodes Tower. 

She was still on the ledge this morning, so due to the low-to-the-ground location and concern from some observers that Flash might be injured I went on-site to assess.  I was able to get a good look at her and it does appear she has a sore foot, although I don't believe it is anything life-threatening.  When I saw her she was wet, having just taken a bath in a puddle on the ledge:
Even though she is lower to the ground then we would prefer, she has many opportunities for short flights to various buildings of various heights to get back to a higher altitude.  Her current location does not allow for us to retrieve her safely-were we to attempt capture, she would likely bail off the ledge right into harms way.  So for now we will wait and watch and be hopeful that she will take a few days to rest up.  The adults should still bring her food at this location but maybe not during the peak of lunch or rush hour due to so many people around.  Folks nearby can expect her to screech from time to time-that is normal and how the adults will know where she is. In fact, when I was downtown one of the adults was perched on the Huntington Building keeping an eye on her. 
No reports of Storm (46/Z) yet but when we do, we'll post it.  As always, we appreciate all of the extra eyes downtown helping keep watch over the peregrines!

Monday, June 08, 2015

No News Is Good News

Pretty quiet day.  No reports of any falcons in distress--and nary a report at all!  Late in the day I did receive a report of a falcon perched on the "T" in the letters at the top of the Huntington Building.  No indication of whether it was an adult or juvenile.

Durand and Spark made brief appearances at the nest ledge a few times today.  No juveniles came to the nest ledge...but I did hear a young falcon calling via the streaming video so perhaps one of the fledglings was on a nearby ledge (there are several ledges on the Rhodes Tower similar to the nest ledge). news is good news and we assume all are doing well!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

All 3 Now On The Wing

Bolt was seen at the nest ledge again today at least two different times so he evidently has excellent early skills in flight!  It's not usually that easy for a newbie to fly just where they want to, let alone to maneuver back to the nest ledge, 41 stories up!  Here is a clip of his take off Sunday evening--he looks like a pro already!!!

Storm did finally fledge about mid-afternoon today but not by her own choice - here's a video of her departure caused by wind.

So far no reports of any of the falcons in distress so we will assume the best!  It will be interesting on Monday when the work week resumes if we get any reports from downtown workers who can see any of the fledglings from their windows.

Flash Fledged/Storm Still on the Ledge

Confirmation via the ledgecam that Storm (46/Z) remains on the ledge:
Therefore it is Flash (37/Z) that fledged earlier!

New Count: 2 Fledgings (for now)

Just before 6 a.m. this morning one of the female nestlings took flight (no ID on which one at this time).  The remaining female still remains on the ledge but has been doing a lot of practice flapping and head bobbing, no doubt watching the adults and/or her previous nestmates on the wing.  It's only a matter of time...  

Even after the juveniles begin to fly, Spark and Durand will continue to feed them especially for the first few days, as was seen on the Huntington Building Friday with Bolt.  Folks downtown interested in watching should scan rooftops and window ledges for the juveniles but should also keep an eye out for the adults as they will be close by keeping an eye on their fledglings.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Bolt Comes Back To The Ledge!

Neither Flash or Storm attempted flight today.  They seemed content to remain on the ledge and that's really okay.  Better for them to take their time then to fly before they are really ready.
No reports of Bolt until almost 9 pm when he came back to the nest ledge!  Not only is it great to see a fledgling return but it great to know they are doing so well so soon in their flight career.  Here are the three in the nestbox just before nightfall:

Friday, June 05, 2015

End of the Day Report-Still Only One Fledged

At this writing there has been no further word on Bolt so we assume all is well.  Flash and Storm remain on the nest ledge.  They've spent most of the day in the shadows on the lower ledge.  It's very possible they may fly sometime this weekend...
Here is a video of Bolt's departure from the ledge this morning.  You have to watch very closely as he is the falcon on the far left on the extreme edge of the ledge.  He takes off at about 28 seconds into the video.  Interesting is his nest mate's reaction immediately after he takes off--his departure definitely caused some excitement!

Fledge Confirmed!

We've been able to confirm that Bolt (N/34) did fledge this morning!  He was spotted on top of the nearby Huntington Building being fed by one of the adults. 
THANKS to two dedicated fans in the Rhodes State Office Tower who were able to see from their office!
Since Bolt was fed, he will probably be content to stay at that location for at least part of today before attempting flight again.

Has Bolt Bolted?!

This morning about 9:20 a.m. some viewers reported they thought one of the falcons fledged!  The female nestlings remain on the platform in front of the ledgecam blocking view of the rest of the ledge so we don't know for sure...but it is very, very possible that Bolt has taken flight.  I've already gotten emails from some folks who work downtown who will be watching extra close out their windows and at lunch today to see if they can confirm.  Thanks to those folks and we really appreciate all of the extra eyes downtown!

Meanwhile, here is a nice photo of one of the falcons relaxing on the platform.  Sometimes it strikes people oddly that a bird of prey would lay down but it is actually very common for these ledge-dwellers to do so:

Monday, June 01, 2015

First Flights Soon

This should be the week the nestlings transition to fledglings!  There has been a a fair amount of ledge running and flapping but then the young are pretty content to just rest as well.  Here are a couple of videos captured by a dedicated fan:
A little practice flapping on the ledge.
Bolt self-feeding (notice he is almost fully feathered with most of the white fluffy down now gone)
All of the young are pretty much full-sized by now and the main difference between the fledglings and the adults is what they look like.  Characteristics of the adults (on the left in the photo) are:  blue/gray head, back and wings; white chest with horizontal barring; yellow cere (the part of the beak where it meets the head).  The juveniles have a brown head, back and wings with many vertical streaks on the front and a bluish cere as in the falcon on the right in the photo:
Hopefully, the falcons will take most of the week to practice flapping and build up their wing muscles before attempting flight.  The ideal first flight is when an individual falcon consciously lifts up and off the ledge, out into the airspace.  But it can also occur that a young falcon is accidentally knocked off the ledge (or falls off) due to wind or a scuffle with its nest mates.  Lunging for food or otherwise losing their balance can and does sometimes cause an "accidental" fledge.  But by now all of the young falcons have most of the "equipment" they need in the way of feathers so even if one were to leave the ledge before it really intended to do so, we'd hope at worst it would glide to the ground or another building. The hardest part of flying for these newbies will be learning how to use that equipment--how to steer, glide, gain altitude, land and finding out what is easy to land on, what they can't land on and that windows that look like sky really aren't...