Monday, June 18, 2012

Peregrine Falcon update - Including pictures of the Recently Fledged Juvenile

I decided to check on the Peregrine Falcon's in downtown Worcester today after seeing the report yesterday at Rick's site about the fledged juvenile so off I went first thing in the morning to see if I could get a glimpse of it.  I'd make my way toward where they've been seen and see something on the roof of the Bank of America Tower and realize they were some very brave window washers.  This can't be good I'd think remembering how fierce the female's been toward them in the past, but all would be quiet on the falcon front so figured she must have mellowed in her new location and all the commotion that goes on there on a constant basis.
I wouldn't see any activity on the People's United building so crossed the street and headed toward the library to get a clear look of Notre Dame.  To my dismay a gas truck would be there, with a police officer working on some gas lines and across the street would be a Homeland Security vehicle and I suddenly felt very suspicious with my binoculars and camera even though I was doing nothing wrong. If your'e a birder you know the feeling I'm talking about as binoculars can be looked upon with suspicion so with that, I got a quick look at the male perched on top of the cross and decided to head back later in the late morning when things had quieted down some.

I'd crank out a bunch of work and head over there again before lunch.  The sun would be out by then and the gas truck gone so had a spring in my step and a good hunch I'd finally get to see the chick.  I'd make my way around the bend, check the cross for the male who would still be there but then something on the ledge of the People's United Building would catch my eye.

What the hell, I'd think.  Why it's the female and she's lying down....Strange, I'd think. I don't believe I've ever seen one of the adults do that before.  I wonder if she's feeling okay.  I'd change my position some to get a better look at her and this is what I'd see.

OMG I'd think, she looks awful, almost lethargic.  I'd stand there for a while hoping she'd get up to perch but she wouldn't.  I'd consider doing something to egg her on as she's squawked at me before so she would have no issues in doing so again and it would be then I'd hear the call of the juvenile over near the church and she wouldn't even turn her head to see what was the matter.  That's it, I'd think..She has to be ill.  I wouldn't even try and catch a glimpse of the juve, but head straight back to the office to put in a call to Tufts.  I'd get back to my desk, google the number and place my call.

Wildlife Employee:  Tufts Wildlife Clinic

Me:  Yes, my name is Kim Allen and I work in downtown Worcester and have been keeping an eye on the Peregrine Falcons over at the People's United Building and am wondering if its normal for an adult Peregrine to be lying down.

Wildlife Employee:  Lying down,  How so?

Me:  Lying down on its belly. Picture how a duck looks when in a pond (grrrr my inner voice would scold ....lame analogy Kim..Couldn't you think of anything better than that..You sound like an amateur)

Wildlife Employee:  Is it sitting on a nest?

Me:  No, on a ledge (inner voice thinks that would have been a better visual and wishing she'd thought of it before wildlife employee)

Wildlife Employee:  How long has the falcon been like that?

Me:  (I knew they were going to ask that, they always do)..Ummm. I wasn't there for long but the entire 5 minutes I was there and it looked a little strange to me, not itself in the time I observed it.

Wildlife Employee:  I'm going to give you the number to Tom French from Fish and Wildlife who tracks these birds as he knows more about their behavior than I do and it does sound kind of strange that the bird isn't perched.

Me:  Thank you...I thought the same thing.

She'd give me Tom's number and of course I'd get his voice mail and leave a long winded message about the female lying down on the People's United Building looking odd, the male on a cross and a fledged chick squacking and hang up wishing I could take it all back and start from scratch..Crap, I'd think.. I didn't even describe how she was laying down and for all he knows I could mean flat on her back and stiff, not good!  I did leave one coherent tidbit of info which was I'd go back at one to see if the situation had changed and call him back so was grateful for that at least.

I'd get back to work and remember I forgot to eat lunch but it was the last thing on my mind at that point which kind of bummed me out as I was looking forward to it all morning (Turkey Burgers with blue cheese and bacon, YUM!).  In between crunching numbers I'd wonder what would happen to the male if something happened to the female and I'd wonder if he'd stick around or go elsewhere.  If he did stick around would he find another mate and most important a mate who could take his laid back ways?  Yes, I happen to find him charming of course, but there's been some tense moments between the two in the past.

Like this for example, taken three years ago when she was on nest duty and he was on the ledge looking at his feet.  She kept squacking at him wanting to be relieved but he essentially ignored her so she flew over to where he was to give him a piece of her mind.  Like I said he's rather laid back.

That's it, I'd think, I'm heading back and at 12:47 exactly off I went to check on the situation.  I'd see a strange form on the ledge facing Front Street and whip out my bins for a better look.

Well this looks encouraging I'd think, at least she's moved...But I still wasn't convinced.

So she'd take me out of my agony and turn around looking as healthy as a horse.  Must call Tom right away and tell him to ignore previous message as it was clearly an over reaction on my part.  :-p.  But of course not until I check out what's going on at Notre Dame which is where I heard all the commotion earlier

I'd see the male perched on the cross and after some scanning I'd spot the juvenile on the roof to the church.

All the previous worries would disappear as I made my way closer for pictures of the falcon I've been anxious to see the past two weeks.

FINALLY we meet my little feathered friend!

Looking up at the cross and calling out to dad making sure he was still there.

And of course he would be as he hadn't left the spot all day.  He looked so proud on that cross as he guarded his chick and dare I say Godly?? ;-).  It would be then I'd feel bad for doubting him as yes he's very good at being a slacker but when push comes to shove he'll do whatever he needs to during nesting season.  He may not have the spunk of the female, but I've seen him go after a Red-tailed hawk once who was getting close to its nest and let's just say, I wouldn't have wanted to be that hawk as he meant business.

Trying out its new wings in an effort to figure out how they work

Getting closer to dad, but using more of its legs than its wings.

Almost there.  I say give it another week or so and then it will be a pro.

As far as the bizarre behavior of the female, I'm going to sum in up in three ways.

1.  I over reacted.. Ding, ding, ding,  we have a winner

2.  She was tired and who can blame her as being a mom is hard work

3.  She won't leave the ledge as there are other chicks yet to fledge. Purely a guess, but remember I thought I heard two begging calls a couple of weeks ago so guessing there's at least one I have yet to see.

I'd make my way back to my office starving and anxious for lunch.

And I'd see the birds who hang out at my building were busy having there's.  This man feeds the pigeons and others year round, rain, cold or snow doesn't stop him.  I'm guessing it gives him a sense of inner peace and enjoyment I can totally understand.

How's this one for a looker!  I've seen it around our area but never had the opportunity to take its picture until today.

I'd call Tom back up and apologize for the false alarm but he was thrilled to hear from me none the less as all of this was news to him and had no idea about the nest location or whether they were successful. I told him I'd keep him updated as soon as I found out more info so I guess my over reaction paid for itself in the end which is nice to know.

Take care all

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