Monday, December 21, 2015

Again, the Greater Sage Grouse Need YOUR Help!!

Hello fellow bird protectors! 
Again, the Greater Sage Grouse stands to lose an important lek in Utah. Please sign the petition to help convince the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reject the Alton Coal Mine Expansion Project Proposal.
My friend, and fellow falcon watch team member, Rahul Mukherjee is working to protect the Alton Sink Valley Lek, which is contained within the project area. Alton’s proposal would destroy approximately 3,500 acres of Utah‘s public lands and would negatively impact the wildlife, air and water quality, local economies, and regional tourism. More than 200,000 individuals sent in comments but we believe that a petition would serve as a good supplement. The effectiveness of this petition lies in the numbers so we need all the support we can get.  You can read more details about the petition and the proposal at the above link. Thank you!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sad News on Mama Peregrine

From the SLC Falcon Facebook page:

It is with real regret that we must report that the adult, female peregrine falcon retrieved from the ground on March 29 was recently euthanized. Although the bird (believed to be the female, adult of the peregrine pair that has successfully nested upon the Joseph Smith Memorial Building as far back as at least 2011) made some improvement as a result of treatment for a respiratory ailment, she was rather quickly determined to be blind in one eye and, with time, suffered problems with the second eye as well. Sometime during the week of July 12, it was determined that continued treatment would be excruciatingly painful and frightening to her and the difficult decision was made by an expert rehabilitator to humanely put her down.
We'll never know to what extent her age may have contributed to her demise, but affliction of wild, healthy birds with aspergillosis not thought to be common. Maybe her age contributed to a weakened condition which allowed this fungal respiratory disease to ultimately take her life. While we're all sad about the outcome, as mere mortals, all we (who have come to love these birds) can do is look to the future and the 2016 nesting season.
RIP, sweet thing. Oh how you have thrilled and captivated us through the years.
She was the best mama! I will miss following this lady and her family. As of now, there has been no interest in the nest box by any peregrines in the area.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Falcon Update

Well folks, as you can tell, there isn't much going on as far as a nest this year. Our resident male and the sub-adult female he had been seen with, did not apparently nest anywhere, at least that we know of. It's nice to have a break this year from the activity but I do feel sorry for the cam viewers. I have no news on the female that is in rehab. Maybe Bob will chime in here in our comments. There is a fledge about to happen from our box though. The pigeon family had one chick and I must say he is beautiful. Here is a video from today courtesy of our favorite cam watcher.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Help Bob Spot the Falcons

Bob needs our help. If you spot anything,  contact Bob or send a note.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Female Already??

I just had to post this.

Female Transferred to Rehabilitation Center

Today the female was transferred to a long term rehab center north of Salt Lake City. Bob said all went well ~ no new information. The Salt Lake Tribune also ran an article today with photos.

Here are a couple photos taken by the DWRs photographer. Some of us compared photograph's from prior years and think she looks a bit different. I also added some of those for reference. Since we don't have a female showing up in the box (yet) we can only surmise this is her or she was replaced after last nest season. Either way, we still hope our male will find a new mate this season.

Also, cameras are turned on now. If anyone sees a bird in the box, please note date/time and post on the Facebook page or leave a comment here.





Monday, April 6, 2015

Update on Female ~ Plus Second Male in Area

Hello, I spoke with Bob Walters today and he gave me this update on the adult female that was picked up downtown last week. Adult female has a fungal infection (aspergillosis). She is being treated with antibiotics, being hand fed and improving. Bob has guarded optimism that she will recover. She has a slight corneal abrasion which is being treated as well. She likely will head to a longer term facility before returning to the wild, hopefully being returned to downtown.

Ready for a strange story? Bob received a call today that a male peregrine crashed in to the Wells Fargo building on Main Street a few blocks from our nest area and was found dead (Friday). The employees who found the bird, called Animal Control. They were directed to dispose of the body. Bob received a phone call from one of the employees to let him know today. His initial thoughts were that it was a Kestrel, as there are many in the city and they have been seen in that particular area before. Bob asked if he could see the bird anyway. The employees had buried the bird nearby but helped Bob exhume the remains, and sure enough, it was an adult, male peregrine falcon. BUT, Bob had just spotted a male on the tall church office building last night, presumably surveying it's territory, possibly watching for the missing female. So... one dead male, one live. Possibly this was a territorial death? And is the male that remains in the territory our same male from last year or was he the one found dead? Will we ever know? Pictures of our resident male from last year below. Bob is going to try his expert had at taking a few cell phone pictures of the expired bird he picked up today for comparison.

p.s. The cameras were due to go live today but at last word from the building it may be delayed by a day or two.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Another News Segment

Bob did another news segment for Channel 4 yesterday. It says it all.

Friday, April 3, 2015

News Segment on Adult Female

I don't have much more information than what Bob talks about in this news segment. It doesn't sound like our female will be back to nest this year.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Welcome to 2015 Nest Season

Hi Folks,

It's warming up in SLC. Actually, I think we are in for a very warm nest season (poor Bob) as our snowfall in the mountains has been so small, we are likely to have no cooling effect channeling to the city. It's been in the 60's and now 70's for a few weeks and it's only March. A few updates:

1. There is construction taking place on the nest building (JSMB) but we are hopeful that it won't affect the pair nesting.

2. The adults have been seen from time to time around the site over the winter so things have been looking good....

3. Bob got a call yesterday: "Sunday, March 29: Call today (08:30 a.m.) from The Church indicating that peregrine on ground. I responded and rescue was made by expert w/ Church Security who handled an empty, cardboard box like a pro. I transported what I think is the adult female to our expert rehabilitator for examination. So far, all that was noted was a "mouse" (spot where a few very small feathers appeared askew and/or absent) on a wrist. Wings were "up" before capture ... looked more, or less fine. Likely trip to veterinarian as early as tomorrow morning. All I have for now. Cross your fingers!"
2:01 p.m. on March 30, 2015: No word from rehabilitator, so far, as to status of adult female rescued yesterday. I did observe what I took to be the adult male on the front board of the nest box yesterday at 5:26 p.m. No doubt, he's baffled, flying about, looking around for her return and/or some other female with whom he can raise a family"

4. Cameras should be turned on April 6. Get ready!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peregrines in the Mountains

Bob asked me once if my husband and I ever saw any Peregrines when hiking up in the Wasatch mountains. Up until yesterday, that answer was 'no'. They are hard enough to see when you are holding still, looking for them downtown, let alone while you are walking, looking down so you don't trip and fall off a cliff! DH came home yesterday from his hike to Sundial Peak with news that he had seen a falcon and that he thought he'd gotten a good photo. I have to admit, that at first I wondered if one of our fledglings might be up there. But, that is highly unlikely. Fred saw this beauty in Big Cottonwood Canyon, up the Lake Blanche trail, just as he reached the summit. This view is looking north and down in to Big Cottonwood Canyon. BTW, if you want a spectacular autumn hike into a gold aspen grove, this is the hike to do, but just to the lake. Only experts should attempt the hike to the peak.

Do you see him?
How about now?
Me in a photo from a hike we did back in 2007. The arrow points to Sundial Peak where the Peregrine was perched.
On the trail leading to Lake Blanche in Autumn 2004.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Young of the Year Update

I had a note from Bob yesterday:

Thurs., August 14 at >6:03 p.m.: One young-of-the-year observed perched atop the Zions Bank Tower (west end on north face = near the northwest corner), wailing to get the attention of an adult perched to the west on top of the Gateway West Tower at the northeast corner

Wailing? Must be Hunter, ha ha.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Help Save the Henefer Greater Sage-Grouse Lek!

Hello fellow bird watchers,

Do you know what a Lek is? I didn't, until Rahul sent me an invitation to attend a special meeting to try to convince the Morgan County Planning Commission not to approve an amendment to the Morgan County Future Land Use Map.

Definition of Lek:  an assembly area where animals (as the prairie chicken) carry on display and courtship behavior; also :  an aggregation of animals assembled on a lek for courtship.

The Greater Sage-Grouse is very close to being on the endangered list. So close, that land where this springtime mating ritual takes place is being rushed to sale to developers. In order to make the sale, the land use designation has to be amended to redesignate approximately 2980.4 acres from “Natural Resources and Recreation” to “Master Planned Community.” In short, the lek sits in the midst of this acreage where they want to build a 'planned community'. The birds would be gone if this happens. To even view these birds, you have to arrive before sunrise, stay in your vehicle and make no disturbances, since the Greater Sage-Grouse is very affected by human disturbance.  For more information about these special birds read Mia McPherson's blog post here. 

~ Or this article in the Examiner . 

Just Google Henefer Lek and you will see why this is so important. A SPECIAL place that hosts a very special bird.

So next Thursday, August 14 at 6:30 there will be a hearing in Morgan to decide whether the county will approve the re-designation. PLEASE attend if you can. I am working on car pools, since this is an hour+ drive from my home in Sandy. Email me if you are interested

Here is the latest information from Rahul (you can find more information on this Facebook page as well

Hi everyone,

I spoke to Bill Cobabe a few days ago and he is the zoning administrator for the land which covers the lek. He told me that Yaryca LLC currently owns the land and that they are looking to sell off the land as it is in high demand for property developers. Yaryca is looking to sell off the land ASAP in fear that the sage-grouse may be listed as a federally protected species soon. If this were to happen, the developers would no longer be able to develop that land. Bill told me that there have been previous meetings concerning this lek but he hadn't been able to get the word out to people. He told me that there would only be 4 or 5 people that would attend the meetings and that the low attendance has caused Yaryca to somewhat ignore the concerns regarding the lek. Bill explained to me that the matter is quite urgent as there is not much we would be able to do after, if Yaryca sells the land. 

However, he said that a high attendance to the public hearing may make all the difference. This is a matter of concern because at the moment, our expected attendance for the hearing is very low and we only have a week left until the hearing! Therefore, I ask you all to please attend this public hearing. Your words will have an impact and thus we need your support! I would recommend that all of you state on the events page, whether or not you would be able to attend the hearing so that we have an idea of how many people will be attending and how many more people we would need to have for the hearing. ~ Rahul Mukherjee

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Update July 31

Received this comment from Bob so thought I'd post it. Also, Bob told me we have seen the juveniles as late as first two weeks of August downtown.

July 31 at 07:49 - 08:01 a.m. All three kids observed: Ace and Hunter remain best of buds, perched, more or less, side by side near the northwest shoulder level corner of the World Trade Center (formerly Eagle Gate Tower), while Skye was perched (and wailing) on a wide ledge close to the northwest corner on the Kirton-McConkie Building and then flying north along the east face of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and, then, to the north/northwest and out of view.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Couldn't Find the Kids.. But Found Swainson's Hawks!

I took a trip downtown this morning looking for our Juvies. I didn't see them or the adults. I stuck around for 30 minutes, then drove down to 100 South to look at the south faces of the tall buildings. Nothing.

So I made a stop by the McDonald's at 4500 S. and I-15, because I heard there was a nest of Golden eagles there in the trees just east of McDonald's. I found three juvenile Swainson's Hawks in intermediate morph stage. I am not smart enough to know that... I posted the photos on Utah Birding Facebook page and someone identified them for me. They are so big, like dogs sitting in the tree! Have to be twice the size of our Peregrine falcons. I had on my Sanuk sandals, all clean and pink and brand new (and not cheap either). I hadn't planned on being anywhere but a sidewalk. The only way to get this image was to climb the sandy dirt hill across the side street from McDonald's. I didn't even hesitate.