Thursday, July 2, 2009

Early and Lexi Leave the Nest

Lexi sitting near Beehive at top of Joseph Smith Memorial Building
First, let me state, I am not a scientist. I won't be using many scientific terms when describing my time helping out with, what Bob Walter's calls, Falcon Central. I am also not a 'birder'. But I do love the outdoors and nature and the falcons on Temple Square in Salt Lake City have caught my attention and devotion. I've spent countless hours watching the camera that is focused on the nest box waiting for eggs to hatch.
Well, that they did, back around May 18 and this past Monday morning the first one jumped out of the box and took its first flight, panicing Bob and a handful of other faithful watchers who do this act every year.

This blog is mean't to fill a void that Bob can't keep up with at this point. Updating the viewing public. Those of you who faithfully (addictively?) watch those falcon cams from your office and home each day and now are looking at a blank screen and feeling awfully lonely can catch up here on the latest news. As best I can I will update you on what I know each day and maybe provide a picture or two. I work in a building just a block away from Falcon Central and have the opportunity to go by at lunch each day and after work to get the day's low down on the falcon fledglings, Early and Lexi.
First let me give you some links to local TV video of the first day and first flights. Then I will tell you of my first stint as a watcher.

Wednesday July 1, 5:45
I reported for duty just as Bob was taking Lexi, the second fledgling (male) up to the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB) to re-release him. This is the routine. The fledglings attempt to fly to various perches around Temple Square, which is about a four block area, but sometimes they miss their landing and fly/fall to the ground. Then Bob or one of the volunteers throws a towel over them, gathers them up and Bob takes them up to the top of the JSMB to let them have another chance. This will go on for the next 10 days or so. Maybe less, since both Early and Lexi are seeming to get the hang of flight fairly quickly. More on that in Thursday's update.
Lexi at 7pm July 1, 2009 - Just after Bob put him back at top of building.
Bob posts people at all four corners of the building plus a few extra in dangerous spots, like the driveway leading to the underground parking just adjacent to the JSMB. There is also much construction just south of the building and various skyscrapers with lots of glass that could cause problems for the new fliers.
Early sitting in 'garland' July 1, 2009, 7pm
Bob has building security escort him up from the top floor through a door and up a steel ladder where they pop out onto a section of the famous Beehive where he will open the box and coax the bird out. After Lexi was released at approximately 6:15pm, he hopped down to a perch just left and below the Beehive. The picture is blurry but gives you an idea of where Lexi perched and remained perched through a thunderstorm that sent most of us watchers running for cover at about 9pm. At 9:15 I gave it up and went home. Early had spent most of the evening hiding out in a cement 'garland' on the northwest corner of the JSMB.
Early on July 1, 2009

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