Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Live Streaming Video Announcement

Everything seems to be going quite well this season with the fledglings.  This is the first year in recent memory that we didn't have to go on at least one rescue.  No news is good news and we assume all the fledglings are well on their way to perfecting their skills of flying, steering, landing, and hunting on their own.

The juvenile falcons will remain in and around the downtown area over the next several weeks but by the end of summer they will migrate out of the area to hopefully survive and establish a breeding territory of their own elsewhere.  Rarely do they return to the area where they fledged from.  Falcons hatched in Columbus over the years have been seen and/or successfully nested in Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, New York, elsewhere in Ohio, Texas, and Canada.

Although there have been no sightings of the juveniles at the nest ledge this year, the adults have been checking in fairly frequently:
Their visits back to the ledge and the nest box are reinforcement of their bond to the site.  We can even expect them to work on the scrape in the gravel. Though the nest is now empty, the adults will continue to interact with the young elsewhere in the downtown area.

Cam Update:  For the past several years our live streaming video has been provided by The Ohio Channel.  Unfortunately, that partnership will be ending in July.  We greatly appreciate The Ohio Channel graciously hosting the video window to the Columbus peregrine falcon nest for so long.  As they say, when one door closes, another opens so we plan to use this opportunity to explore new camera options for future nesting seasons.

More updates on the fledglings and cameras as information becomes available!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Clean, Clear View Again

With a quick visit to the Rhodes Tower, we were able to get the nestbox camera up and running today. I also to this opportunity to clean off a VERY filthy camera window. Now, we have a clear view of the nestbox if any of the young decide to visit.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Riffe Tower Visitors

The Riffe Tower seems to be popular with the fledglings this year.  Besides the one photographed on the windowsill Thursday, the other 3 were also reported to be seen on the building earlier that same day. I do have a good outcome to report about the "celebrity" falcon-- it flew off fine Friday about 1:15 pm.  Here is a note from Cecilia about the event and a photo of the adult they saw:
I am so mad I missed the moment when he took off, I had been checking on him throughout the morning. Earlier, I  saw him running from one end of the ledge to the other and moving his wings as if he exercising them and also, flexing his legs. He looked great, today.  I am sure the visit from his parents gave him courage. As soon as he flew away, a co-worker and I, rushed down to the street level to check if he had fallen to the ground and fortunately, he was not there. He was gone!
Thank you so much for sharing so much about falcons and their behavior. I learned a lot. This baby falcon revolutionized the entire staff on the 26th floor of the Riffe Tower. He brought a smile to all of us. 
I'm certainly glad for the falcon, of course, but I'm also glad for the interest of everyone on that floor, too!  I'm honored to have a positive influence and I enjoy the enthusiasm the peregrine project brings.

So, it seems that all 4 fledglings have been seen doing well, and that is great news!  Let's hope they all continue to be successful as they hone their skills.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fledgling Update

At least one--if not two--fledglings are still being seen on the Huntington Building.  This morning Cecilia and Linda who work in the Riffe Tower called and sent me a photo of a fledgling outside their window:
They were concerned since the wing was drooping that the falcon was injured. However, it could just be the falcon had a rough flight and/or landing and was fatigued.  The bird stayed on the window ledge at least until late afternoon. They also reported the adults doing fly-bys and vocalizations between the adults and the juvenile. All normal behaviors! Hopefully, this falcon got some good rest today and will fly well on its next attempt!

Meanwhile, another call this afternoon came from COSI which is right across the river from the Riffe.  A worker reported seeing 2 peregrine falcons attacking a red-tailed hawk resulting in it being grounded!  The hawk eventually flew away--we surmise that it must have gotten too close for the comfort of the adult falcons so they gave it a strong message to keep away.  This may be that hawk:
It definitely looks like it had a rough go of it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

4th Chick Now Airborne!

The 4th chick took off from the ledge last evening at 6:39 p.m.  Again, a calculated departure!  So our record for this nesting season is 4 deliberate fledges--no accidentals!

I received a report yesterday of 2 fledglings on the Huntington Building and an adult on an antenna on the LeVeque Tower about 12:30 p.m.  Historically, these two buildings are very popular with the falcons.  The Huntington Building is 37 stories, the nest at the Rhodes Tower is on the 41st floor.  It is really good to hear that at least 2 of the fledglings are maintaining a high altitude.  We may even see them come back to the nest ledge--in fact, we have unconfirmed reports of a fledgling returning to an adjacent ledge on the Rhodes Tower.  For a perspective of downtown, here is a photo looking north/northwest from State Street (click to enlarge):

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

4th Still Sitting Tight

As of this morning, the 4th nestling is still on the ledge and has not flown.  Nothing to be concerned with, in fact, it is better when they take their time and develop further before flying.  The remaining bird could be the last one hatched and/or it could be a female--females tend to fledge later than the males.
Reports are starting to come in of sightings of the fledglings around town.  Here is a photo of one of the falcons seen near the Riffe Tower on Sunday afternoon:
We appreciate the extra eyes out there!  More updates as information becomes available.

Monday, June 12, 2017

3rd Fledged Monday a.m.

The 3rd chick fledged this morning just before 6 a.m.  Here is a video--look beyond the legs of the falcon close to the cam and watch the falcon at the far end of the ledge to see it fly away.  Again, a calculated fledge!

At this point we assume all 3 are doing ok!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

2 on the Wing!

Two of the falcons took their first flights today!  One at about 7:30 am and the second about 4:30 pm.  One fan watching in Buffalo, NY witnessed both fledges and reported in each case the falcon took off from the ledge under its own power in a purposeful manner.  Those types of fledges are much preferred over accidental!

Here is a video of the first fledge from this morning. The first bird leaving the ledge when the video begins is the adult male. The take-off of the nestling-turned-fledgling is near the end of the video at 3:11. A straight and strong flight off of the ledge is clearly visible.

Just before 6 pm this evening I received a call from Holly Zachariah, a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch, about a falcon she found sitting on her car:
The falcon appears just fine, albeit perhaps somewhat confused seeing new surroundings other than the nest ledge for the first time. Before we could even respond, the young peregrine flew out of sight near the Trinity Church at Broad and 3rd.  Holly was extremely helpful in reporting this to me and keeping an eye on the falcon until it left the scene on its own.  Had it been a rescue situation, her willingness to keep tabs on the bird until we got there would have been key. Unless we hear otherwise, we'll assume this bird is doing just fine as it figures out how to navigate downtown.

Typically, males fledge first so perhaps these two flyers today were males.  Since females are larger than the males they normally stick around on the ledge a few days longer than their male nest mates.  Depending on the sex of the remaining nestlings we could see one or more fledge tomorrow or not until next week some time.  Here is one of the remaining chicks lounging on the ledge earlier today:
And from yesterday, here is one of the last looks of all 4 fledglings on the ledge at the same time:

Monday, June 05, 2017

5 Weeks!

All 4 of the chicks have now made it to the upper ledge!
Another milestone is the chicks are working on feeding themselves at times:
And here is a video of one running the length of the ledge and practice flapping.  First flights are usually around 40 days.  The oldest chick will be 40 days this weekend. Before they will be ready to leave the nest, they have more brown juvenile feathers to come in and a lot of down to lose.  Hopefully, the nestlings have all read that textbook and will wait until they are good and ready before attempting that first flight! 
It's great when the chicks wait to take that first flight when they are good and ready but sometimes fledge happens by accident when one gets knocked off the ledge by a nest mate or a gust of wind.  Putting their wings out and flying is instinct but how to steer and land and navigate with control must be learned by trial and error.  Therefore, it is normal for there to be rough landings and a chick might even end up on the ground. At any rate, law enforcement agencies and building security have emergency contact info for the Division of Wildlife if/when needed if a fledgling gets into trouble.
When the chicks leave the nest they are every bit as large as the adults.  Here's a photo showing the size is about the same between the adult on the left and the 2 chicks on the right: