Thursday, December 01, 2016

Musings of Meanderings

As we transition into winter there still has been no sign of the previous resident male, Spark.  The "new" male, 30/Z continues to dominate the territory but I'll stress again that it is too soon to tell if he plans on staying around permanently or if Columbus is just his chosen place to spend the winter.

Longtime fans might recall in 2003-05 we saw a migrant female (Y/5) "claim" the territory during the winter months for each of those years but come spring, she would leave for another territory in parts unknown.  Every year after she left Columbus a different female (Victory) assumed the territory during each of those nesting seasons.  It was during the 3rd winter in Columbus (2005) that Y/5 met her demise by hitting a window.  The loss was unfortunate, of course, but the plus side was we finally had the bird in hand and were able to confirm through her leg band codes that she had originally been banded in Quebec!  Where she nested after she left Columbus each of those years will always be a mystery but this recount illustrates the nomadic nature of these birds and how they "wander" as their Latin name Falco peregrinus implies.  And, that they can and do sometimes spend winters in different territories other than in which they nest.

Continuing on this wandering theme, I was recently going back through my inbox and came across an email I had received about a peregrine observation at the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute on The Ohio State University campus.  The sighting was in late September and included a photograph.  Interestingly, the observation almost has to be 30/Z based on the bird having only one (color) leg band and as much as is visible, the code certainly could be 30/Z!  This report shows that before he came to settle in downtown Columbus in early October, this new "mystery male" spent some time at OSU (about 2 1/2 miles north of the Rhodes Tower-as the peregrine flies)!
Coming back to the present, both Durand and 30/Z continue to interact in and around the nest ledge.  The past few days the male has spent some time perched on top of the nestbox, and here is a video of the falcons bonding.  Finally, thanks to Mike Horn for sharing this photo of the pair with prey on the LeVeque Tower from November 16:
One final note on meanderings - it is not uncommon for Cooper's hawks to be seen in and around the downtown area, in fact, earlier today I was contacted about a dead Cooper's hawk that was found on the Huntington Building downtown. Cooper's hawks are often confused with peregrines (ID information here) so it happens often that I get these types of reports.  Like peregrines, some Cooper's hawks live in Ohio all year but some are migrants.  A few weeks ago a separate report of a dead Cooper's hawk downtown involved the hawk having a leg band. A check of the band database revealed that individual Cooper's hawk had been banded in 2014 in Ontario, Canada!
Cooper's hawk