Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Nest Box Downtown

I found this little tidbit on KSL News. Apparently there is a falcon box installed on The Church of the Madeline's bell tower. You will see the box about 3/4 of the way into this video.

Towards the end of the season we saw a juvenile fly off east of Temple Square and wondered where they might be heading. This maybe be a feeding spot, as the church has pigeons as well. I highly doubt the breeding pair would choose that box over the one they've already used in years past but this gives us a place to look when we know they head east.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nice Weather!

Hello. I am so dreading winter, how 'bout you? Its been beautiful this week, though, which won't last I know. We are supposed to see snow on Thursday. Bahhh!

I mean't to share a couple photos I took back in September of a couple of the adults hanging out, here they are. At first I thought they might be juveniles but Bob says 'no'. Oh well. The bird in photo 1 is a different bird than the other two. I was able to see both at nearly the same time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Heading in to September

Hi Folks,

Wow, heading in to September already and there are still a few spotty sightings of Bobbie, and maybe Charlie, downtown. Bob saw a juvenile last weekend but was unable to spot a band on it so possibly it wasn't one of our young of the year.

Just this past Friday evening I stopped downtown and saw both adults, the male on the north face of Zion's Bank and the female on the north face of Gateway West building which is on the SW corner of Main and S. Temple. She was calling.

It appears the falcon cams have been turned off as well.

So I am sad to say, this may be my last post of 2011. We are putting together an email list for next year's fledge watch team. If you have not been receiving emails but would like to be a part of the fun next year, please send me a note and I will add you to the list. Thanks for all the support, emails, tweets and boots on the ground this year. See you next year!

Steve S. with Bobbie (fledge #4)


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Update from Bob Walters

I talked to Bob on Thursday evening and he told me he was downtown and had seen a bird on the east side of COB, a juvenile, and it took off flying east of State Street. That is interesting, possibly they are hanging out on the cathedral. He also said he saw the two adults fly in around dark and land on the two bank buildings on either side of Main and South Temple. Here is a follow up note he sent to me
on Friday:

Follow-up report to conversation with Liz on August 18 at 8:16 p.m., or so: angled malar tips suggest that the young-of-the-bird observed on the east rail above the plexiglass on the tall Church Office Building was Charlie.

Later, 8:59 -9:08 p.m., I observed a young-of-the-year bird at roost on the lower right-hand corner of the 6th from the top, fire escape opening on the west side, north face of the tall Church Office Building.

Also, despite repeated calls and messages to return my calls, I've received no word from my contact at the Intermountain Medical Center as to a check/look into the nest box where a few of us have spotted a single adult on the large sign visible on the east face from State Street.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


The hummingbirds are coming back to our feeders. The first video is of a Black Chinned hummer. The second is a turf war. These go on all the time. One sits in the trees just across from the feeder and if 'anyone' tries to feed, he runs 'em off.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Notes from Bob

I received this brief note of updates from Bob Walters today, it appears the kids are hunting:

I was downtown on Saturday evening on August 6. I watched a young-of-the-year bird stoop on a pigeon from the southeast corner of the Key Bank Tower (KBT) to the east of State Street (it missed) and then return toward the KBT and out of view. Later, I noted a bird (impossible to determine if an adult, or young-of-the-year) at roost up against the tinted glass where the glass intersects the main column on the west side on the south face of the COB and Cynthia picked up a bird at roost on the twelfth barred, fire escape opening on the north side of the COB.

Plus ... I visited the IMC on Sat., August 6 and from <19:45 - 19:55 observed and studied an adult tiercel PEFA (Peregrine Falcon)  perched on the lower, right-hand corner of the lower, support member of the sign (Intermountain Medical Center). No word, so far from the maintenance fellow who was going to take a look into the nest box.

All for now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another Salt Lake Area Falcon Box

I am very excited to report that I saw a peregrine at another location in the Salt Lake area. A week ago, Bob told me about a falcon box that was installed on the Intermountain Health Care building in Murray, Utah. He said that the guy who installed it has not really been communicative, so Bob stopped to see if there might be youngsters. He was not really expecting that it was used this year. He did see a bird on the east face of the largest building but it was behind the sign and nothing but the face was visible. I stopped last weekend also, to see if I could see anything. Nothing.

But today, I stopped after going to the farmer's market and lo and behold there was a bird sitting on the west side (out of that east sun) right next to the 'M' on the Inter Mountain sign. I was so excited and it looked like a juvenile! I got out my camera, got all focused and realized that I didn't have my memory card inserted - it was at home in my computer. Rats. So I made a trip back there late this afternoon and after hunting a bit, I found this bird and I also got a good shot of the falcon box and the excrement flowing down the sides of the hospital. Its very apparent that birds have been using this area quite a bit, indicating that there were probably chicks. Yay! This bird looks like an adult, darn. I will be stopping back again this week to look some more. In case you are wondering, there are no cameras in this box but who knows, maybe the hospital could be talked into putting them in!

See the excrement on the right side of the windows?

Its very apparent here! And look there is a bird on the ledge/sill!

Wow, it looks like a lot of falcons hang out here!

See her under the 'r'?

I bet its a female.

This is where I saw the bird this morning, but it was in shade, just to the left of the 'M'

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thursday Night Photos

I went to Temple Square late last night, really too late to catch any flights but I snapped this picture of a bird roosting on the COB at dark. Bob thought he saw a juvenile on the south side roosting, so this may have been Bobbie on the north side.First, though, I want to share a photo 'collage' that SkygirlBlue sent me to compare bird sizes in the box, in hopes that we can conclude that the bird in the box on Wednesday was indeed Charlie. You can see that the bird on the far right is larger than the other two, it's the adult female, the middle phots is the adult male, so we are thinking that the left side is a juvenile male. I asked Bob and he confirmed that the juveniles are full size when they leave the next.

I sure wish I could get a photo with both juvies. According to Bob, the adults don't roost here, this is a juvie hang out.
Sixth window down on the right side of center column.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bird in the Box

Today, unexpectedly, a juvenile showed up in the box and I think it was Charlie! What do you think? Sorry, these are from a camera phone and low resolution. Its a juvenile for sure and it sure looks small.Thanks Cynthia for sending them to me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Testing Results

Bob called me late this afternoon and said he received the results from USU on Amelia and Sally. He laughed that it would be easier to drop a copy off than to try to find it in his insane email inbox. When he arrived, we reviewed the results and had a brief discussion on the surprising findings that Sally was said to be emaciated. The rehab expert disagreed, saying the bird she handled seemed healthy weight. We also noticed that the report listed both birds as male - that is a little concerning but I suppose it could have been a clerical mistake. Bob concluded in the end that learning to fly in a city is very tough. There are unforgiving surfaces everywhere and he wonders/maybe assumes that Sally may have been the bird that smacked in to the window during that first week. Another question is how long was she stuck on the office building, or was she already sick and fell there, hitting her head.

The watch for Charlie and Bobbie will continue off and on as people have time to come downtown in the evenings. It is probably the best time, since Charlie does not seem to appear until the sun sets. Slowly over the next few weeks, if not earlier, the sightings will be fewer. Another new development is the adults coming back to the nest box and hanging out for long periods of time. I asked Bob about it today and he said it's possibly a 'taking back' of their territory behavior OR the light at the time of year triggers a nesting behavior. Bob joked that if they lay another clutch, he's turning the project over to me - he's too tired!

So here is the summary of the results from the wildlife department:

There was no sign of infectious disease in either bird. The lab saw evidence that both birds suffered from a huge fall. Bird number 1 had a ruptured crop (see definition at end of post) that led to a bacterial infection as well as a bruised heart. Bird number 2 was extremely emaciated and the crop/intestines were completely empty. The second bird also had a contusion on the top of the head attributed to a large fall.”

The summary from the lab written in the report on each bird was listed as follows:

Bird #1:

Cause of death is bacterial sepsis caused by infection of the crop compounded by infection of subcutaneous tissue secondary to rupture of the crop. Crop infections (ingluviitis) can occur due to ingestion of heavily contaminated ( bacteria) feed or is more commonly secondary to crop stasis in young birds.

Bird #2:

There is no evidence of infectious disease in this animal. The entire GI tract was empty indicating this animal did not feed for at least a few days. Metabolic complications associated with inanition in young birds include hypoglycemia, which may have contributed to a fall in this case, explaining the contusion on the top of the head.

Definition of crop: In a bird's digestive system, the crop is an expanded, muscular pouch near the gullet or throat. It is a part of the digestive tract, essentially an enlarged part of the esophagus. As with most other organisms that have a crop, the crop is used to temporarily store food. Not all birds have a crop. In adult doves and pigeons, the crop can produce crop milk to feed newly hatched birds.Scavenging birds, such as vultures, will gorge themselves when prey is abundant, causing their crop to bulge. They subsequently sit, sleepy or half torpid, to digest their food.Most raptors have one; like falcons, hawks, eagles and vultures (as stated above) but owls do not.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bobbie and Charlie

Hurray! I received a call from Bob Walters at 9:41 that he believes both Bobbie and Charlie are 'roosting' on the north side of the Church Office Building, Charlie in the top west breezeway and Bobbie just below. Bob believes it is them because the adults do not tend to overnight in those locations. There was also a sighting of a parent in next box this evening. Bob said he feels much better about things after tonight. I will keep reporting and tweeting as I get updates. There is no news on the outcome of tests on Salley and Amelia yet. I know that is on everyone's mind and as soon as I know anything, I will post it here.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Another Nest Fledging

You may want to keep an eye on the Great River cams. Their kids are fledging this weekend-ish.

Can We Spot Charlie?

There were several attempts over the last few mornings and evenings to confirm that we still have two juveniles in the Temple Square area. During the day, most of us can confirm that there is a juvenile hanging out on the Zion's Bank building for hours. I was there at lunch both Thursday and Friday and, I think Bobbie, has been the bird I have seen. (see first picture below)

On Thursday and again last evening, quite a few watchers were downtown, specifically watching the north side of the COB in hopes that Charlie would 'put in' for the night there and that we could get confirmation that they are both in the area. Many people believe they saw Bobbie on that building late, around 9pm, and quite a few people texted or twittered that they spotted two, maybe three birds in the box on the cams around the same time. Because Charlie was seen doing his rain dance last week in the box, we might be able to conclude that it was Charlie and the parents in the box last night. But there are no photos or confirmation.

I decided to get up extra early today and go down there and see if I could spot both juvies on the big building at dawn. I arrived in the dark, at 5:20 and just as the dawn was breaking, approx 5:40, I saw a bird on the very top of COB near the security cam on the northeast corner. It was too dark to see if it was adult of juvie. I spotted no others on any of the buildings but it was very dim light. That bird took off around the east side, landing on the southeast corner by the Obs Deck. I made my way over to the fountain and the bird took off going west and was intercepted very quickly by a fast flying falcon who flew with it around the south side of the Key Bank building. I then found one bird on the Key Bank and one on the Zion's Bank plucking feathers. They stayed there for 30 min or so, then I had to run around the north end of JSMB building losing sight of them. I picked up two birds flying over to COB playing in the air then splitting, one landing on each of the SW and SE corners. I now believe, after looking at the photos, that they were the adults. I also spotted a bird on the NW corner of Eagle Gate Tower, very light chested but it sure looks like it has a friend sitting next to it. (see below)

Soon after there was vocalizing coming from the nest area where I observed two birds going in to the nest box, one flew out and then landed on the scroll to the right. I thought it was Charlie because of the black cap but now I see it was adult male with adult female on scroll. About 30 min after that, female flew to SE corner of JSMB then joined male in the box. They went into back corner, vocalizing LOUDLY and stayed in there for 5 min or more. Evenutally, male flew out to land on scroll to right of box and adult female pops up to ledge. They sat that way for 2.5 hours, when I finally left to go home. In the meantime, I saw one juvenile on the Key Bank and it flew over to SW corner of COB. Juvie then flew around to NE corner of COB. I had to move my car, when I came back juvie was gone but parents still in/near box. I called Bob, because it makes me very nervous when they disappear like that when they are up on the COB. I am pretty sure this bird is Bobbie. Bob said he worked out a time to go check the decks with the security team around noon today so that's good.

I don't know what to make of any of this. I guess parents are bonding/mating, not sure. I still can't confirm seeing Charlie. (sorry for the email at 7am saying he was in the box, turned out it was Dad). There is a lot of activity VERY early in the morning if you can roll yourself out of bed its worth the effort.

Probably Bobbie hanging for hours and hours on this ledge Thursday and Friday.



This has me stumped. Two birds?

Dad hanging in box.

Dad in box, Mom upper right corner (NE corner of JSMB)



Mom joins Dad in box.

Dad leaves box.

Mom in box. Dad on scroll.

Juvie for sure, I had eyes on both adults when I took this.

Same juvie but it sure looks light.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Bad News

I am really very sad to report that we lost Amelia yesterday morning. Bob released her on the Beehive after her night at the rehabber. She seemed fine. It was then that Bob received the call about Sally, so he picked up Sally and went to his office to arrange testing etc. He returned to the grounds to check up on Amelia before lunchtime and found her hanging on to a window frame on the west side of JSMB. She then flew north around the building and apparently landed in the 'hollow' space between the wings of that building. When Bob got to her, she was lying prone in a puddle, but alive. He took her back to the rehabber, Joanne, on Tuesday where she spent the night. Joanne said she look well at 11pm, but when she checked on her in the early morning she had died. There was nothing apparently wrong but tests are being run on both birds now looking for answers. Bob said the more he thinks about it, the more he thinks Sally should have been able to tough it out on the observation deck for the 24+ hrs because there was shade, etc. So maybe there is something else going on. Both birds were big and healthy looking.

Bob now wants us to focus on the two remaining so the watch team will be back on Temple Square a bit more trying to track down the other two. There was a report last evening from Pomera that a juvenile, they believe to be Bobbie was doing well and was last seen putting in for the night on one of those COB northside breezeways. I will twitter updates throughout the day as I get them.

So sorry for the bad news. Obviously, Bob, the team and all of you readers care deeply about this project. I avoided posting this all day yesterday hoping maybe we would find out the causes so I could relay that info too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Special Volunteers

This year, we had two new special volunteers who spent countless hours during Hell Week tracking the kids. Both of them sent me tributes to post on this blog - both were obviously touched by the experience.

Ralph lives at the local shelter and we don't know much about him except that he spends a lot of time at the library and somehow stumbled upon our group and started helping. He was dilligent and some days was there as many hours as Bob Walters. As Bob said, 'he saved our bacon more than once'.  I had no idea Ralph had email until yesterday - he emailed me just a few minutes before I heard about Sally, telling me all about how he had seen an adult hunting with a juvenile yesterday on his walk to the library. I hated to have to email him back to let him know about Sally. He immediately responded that he wanted to create a tribute for me to post. I think it's beautiful.


John is another volunteer who spent a lot of time with us this year. He works as a volunteer full time downtown and is a special person. He sent me his 'impressions' of the birds a few weeks ago, although it reads a little like poetry to me. I have been waiting for a special time to share it. I think today is the day.  Sometimes you have no idea what is inside another person even when they are standing right next to you --


Here are my impressions of the four birds.

Amelia – the first to leave the nest and the last to move to the temple. She is the falcon that stayed on to stay on the Church Office building lower building and had a thing for the security camera on the northeast corner of the wall even sitting in the bright sunlight. It all kept us wondering if she world ever fly off of there to the temple.
Charlie – the second to leave the nest and the one who first found a tree (not a place for a falcon to be landing.) He also was the first not to be found for 24 hours, but then we later found out what he was doing, when it came to Saturday afternoon when he came off of the temple and took one of many great flights.

Sally -- was the third to leave the box and also was the one that liked to fly into the construction zone south of temple square and got to go home with Bob from her adventure and the other night was trying to make a landing on the ledge of the Church Office Building and did not make it to the ledge, it being too late in the evening Bob has to take her home for the second night.

Bobbie -- was the last to leave the nest and did so in the most interesting happening she fell out by accident. Bobbie was the one that because of her size, I thought was a male, but surprised me. She along with Sally was the one that liked to fly into the construction zone south of temple square and got to go home with Bob from her adventure.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Very Sad News - Update

Update at 6:00pm 7/26

The obvious question that arises from this sad incident is whether there should be regular checks on the observation deck. Currently, the watch team does not have access to that area unless the building is open. I don't think any of us even thought about the extended time it would be closed due to the Utah state holiday yesterday, Pioneer Day. A lot of buildings in downtown SLC were closed. We were all caught by surprise. I have never heard any of the falcon team members mention that a bird has been rescued from the observation deck in past years. But, the configuration makes it such that the birds can not easily fly out if they do end up landing there, but again, in the past it was not a place they normally landed. The fact that two of them have landed on the decks this year tells us that we need to rethink our strategies.

I would just like to thank the LDS Church and their security team for all they do to accomodate the birds, the volunteers and Bob. They have been extremely generous with installing and hosting of the nestbox cameras, allowing Bob to have access to the beehive roof whenever he needs it, and making calls as soon as they are aware of issues with the birds. There are many rooftops in downtown SLC where the birds could get in trouble and there is never an expectation that we will know if they do. As far as the church office building observation decks,  I know Bob will be thinking about solutions for the  near and long-term future. 


Church security reported an expired falcon on the east observation deck this morning. Banding number indicates Sally. Bob picked  het up and is having  necropsy done  but he suspects it  was trapped too long without being noticed in the  heat.  I am terribly sorry to report this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Amelia Picked Up for Questioning

Well, not really, although she is behind bars so to speak. Bob got a call from church security this afternoon that someone found one of the birds near the west entrance of JSMB. Bob picked her up and couldn't see any reason she would be on the ground, but just to be safe he took her to visit a falcon specialist who said Amelia shows signs of having just eaten and it can be common for them to have a difficult time flying in the heat after just eating (I think I got that right). Anyway, Amelia will overnight and if all is well, Bob will release her tomorrow morning. I will keep you updated.

New Heights

A few of us spent time down at Temple Square last night and we now know the kids are hanging out on the north face of the Church Office Building (COB) and probably sleeping there overnight (see second picture). Tonight there was not much flying until a good wind picked up and then we were treated to a great display very high over the COB. Around and around they went from north to south.  Bob is pretty sure we saw all four kids plus one adult. My camera just didnt do a good job of picking up the birds in flight but I added one just so you get an idea. The light was too low by the time they started their aerials. Apparently they put on the same show the night before so if you are downtown looking, late evening, that's the spot. We had best viewing across the street on North Temple.

One kid on each of the top two breezeway shelves.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quiet Night

I do not have much to report - I only spent 30 minutes on the grounds. I could not find any birds at first. I walked around the reflecting pond and checked the usual locations. Just before I was to leave, I heard loud sqwauking, and all four juveniles flew from various locations to land over on the Temple where an adult must have made a food drop. They were frantic. The two below are the ones who 'won' and got the food. The other two flew off. I found one on top of the Key Bank building, show below.

Update: I will be spending Sunday evening on the grounds, starting around 7pm. I will have the 2-way radio on ch 11-22 and my cell phone with me. I will receive emails and Tweets on my phone. If you are coming down to watch, look for me near the reflecting pool. I will Tweet if I go down any other times.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Birds Gone Wild on Video!

Well, I should have know that someone would capture 'the capture', LOL. Here is Bob and Bobbie caught on video on Monday morning. Thank you to whoever got the footage!

Also, here is a great capture of a juvenile going back to the nestbox! This is amazing, he's adorable, sort of hopping and playing with something. Its a long video but a great thunderstorm going on in the background! Nice capture to SkygirlBlue of BCAW.

And while I have your attention, I might as well post all the fledge videos. Below is #1 Amelia, July 6. Then Charlie, Sally and OOPS, Bobbie on July 7.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All Four at Charlie's Cafe

Yesterday I stopped down at Falcon Central to see what I could see. I heard a juvie vocalizing rather loudly on the JSMB. I sat by the reflecting pool and caught a glimpse of two birds. It sure sounded like more than two so I kept looking and pretty soon I noticed a third one up on the scallop just above. I walked a little closer and then I saw the back end of another bird on the corner. What a surprise to find them all in the same area especially now.

Update from Bob as of tonight, July 20: he saw all four juvies tonight as well. Two flying for sure and the other two sitting.

Can you see all four? There is one cadillac-ed right on the corner, see the wing tips? Click on pic for larger view.

This is the view that told me there was a bird on that corner. He/she is munching on some leftovers.

Pictures by Mike

Here are some really good photos taken by Mike Shaw. Thanks for sharing.

Juvenile in stoop off observation deck (that's the deck Bob rescued Bobbie from Monday morning)
Blown up, I think this is Sally but some said its Charlie.

My Guess? Amelia, Bobbie, Sally - left to right.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bobbie the Troublemaker

A quick update: Bob called me to let me know that Bobbie was found on the observation deck of the big Church Office Building (COB) by security this morning. Apparently, for the last day or so, Bob had only been able to account for three birds. Bob picked up Bobbie, who was unhurt but unable to fly out of the area because it has a tall fence surrounding it that Bobbie could not make the jump over. Bob released Bobbie on the Beehive and later in the day saw Bobbie, or another kid, actually sitting up on that actual fence on the observation deck. So he may be getting another call tonight! (Were there enough Bob(bies)s in that last sentence for ya??)

p.s. I will be falcon watching on Temple Square on Friday evening and Saturday morning. If you are in the area, stop down to hang out with me. My 2-way will be on!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Official 'Watch' Over

Yesterday, my son, Doug, accompanied me downtown for our volunteer dinner/social which took place on the dining patio near the birds. Afterwards, he taped me with his Flip camera while we watched flights. A couple things to note: 1) It helps to view this video full screen and at 720p because the birds are flying higher, 2) Be sure to take your motion sickness pills before viewing, 3) I need to go on a major diet or maybe cameras really do add 10 pounds. There is an almost crash at minute 5:40 but the bird does a great job of clinging to a window, and at minute 7-something there is an illegal street crossing that I would appreciate you not reporting to the police {grin}.

So in all, we saw a kid sitting on the Temple, who was either Charlie or Bobbie because its 'cap' was so dark, and a bird sitting on a high skyscraper that everyone was saying was Amelia. Then my son captured at least two kids flying, but one of them was probably Amelia because when I looked, she was gone off the sky scraper after that flight was taped. So, I am pretty sure we saw three kids last night.

The offical 'watch' on these juvies is now over. But anyone who stops by to watch flights should probably send an email to Bob of what they see, but really the kids are doing very well and there is probably no getting  hands on them anymore. They have not learned to hunt, that we can tell. My best guess is that they will be hanging around Temple Square for another week, maybe two. I am still working on getting Bob to participate in the Q&A. I may have to make an appointment at his office next week :)