Saturday, October 26, 2013

October Update - Mom still Downtown

Hello, I thought I would drop some notes in a post that I received from Bob plus some of the Facebook updates from the Wildlife page. These are in order of most recent going back to early September. I requested an update on Dad. I will post when I receive it.

-FYI - 4:21 p.m. on Tues., October 22: my 1st of the season rough-legged hawk observed soaring just south of the northern boundary (2200 North St.) of the Salt Lake City International Airport, "roughies" are fairly common winter visitants in Utah

-1:48 - 2:07 p.m. on Tues., Oct. 22:
2013 adult female perched on last k in words Key Bank on north face of the Key Bank Tower

-SLC Peregrine Falcon Cam fans ... new (first) California condor webcam in the wild:
Check it out ... let 'em know if you see something interesting!

-I drove downtown (about 12:30 p.m.) to identify the reported bird on the top of a car yesterday, October 16. Unfortunately, I was a moment too late since the car pulled away (to the west) from my vantage point on the east side of Main Street.  However, with the help of able co-worker Patricia Engel (who greatly enlarged the posted photo), we were able to identify the bird. Upon close inspection of the enlarged photo, we were able to agree that it appeared to be a common nighthawk ... an aerial insectivore that nests on leafy, or gravelly ground in woodlands (as well as on flat-topped, gravel, urban roofs) and occasionally shows up as a prey item in the diet of the Salt Lake City peregrine falcons. The broad, white bar on either wing of the nighthawk is an easy to spot feature in peregrine prey collections that I've made through the years.
-I've observed a lone peregrine with some regularity over the last few weeks in the downtown SLC area. I just returned from there having observed (1:27 p.m. on Wed., October 9) an adult peregrine that looked like Mom of 2013 (obvious, white cheek patches and a wide/broad, buffy-colored tip o' the tail) perched, where I have spotted a lone bird often, on the Key Bank Tower (KBT) sign on the east face of the KBT.
She's there now, on the south facing sign.  Sorry for the poor quality photo.
Thanks to Justin Matkin for photo taken October 10.

-I observed an adult on the north-facing Key Bank Tower sign on Tuesday, Sept. 24. On Sept. 13, I saw a young-of-the-year peregrine perched on one of the lattice-type power line structures off 3200 W. just north of the Salt Lake City International Airport. 
-6:30 - 6:52 p.m. on September 11, 2013: adult female (presumed to be the 2014 "Mom" since sported no bands and exhibited the highly recognizable, buffy-tipped tail) observed perched atop the tallest column (farthest to east) at the west end on the north face of the Zions Bank Tower 
 -The adult female (Mom), or a lookalike, was spotted on the southeast, "shoulder" corner (south face) of the tall Church Office Bulding (COB) at 7:00 p.m. on September 4. At 7:46 p.m., Mom was observed making the short flight to a presumed roost site to the west below the tinted glass at a point where the shoulder level of the building intersects the main column ... I've observed adults at roost on either side of the central column of the COB at that level on the south face of the COB on numerous occasions in the past. Mom, or the lookalike, may have been the peregrine that was reported to me by Church Security as "stuck" within the observation deck on the west side of the COB earlier in the evening, sometime around 6:00 p.m. When a Security officer accompanied me to the area earlier (around 7:00 p.m.), the bird could not be found and it was assumed that somehow (and finally since the time that it was reported to me) it had managed to bolt/vault over and above the observation deck perimeter walls to attain the freedom of unobstructed, open air. No other peregrines were observed in the area at/on all the usual places so I'm fairly certain that Mom was indeed the earlier-reported trapped bird.

Comment from co-worker upon hearing my report of the incident: tell her to knock that (getting trapped) off/stop it! Amen, but, of course, they'll do what they do!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Note from Bob

I am without Internet while visiting family but wanted to pass along a note from Bob.

"Please rest assured that we are not trying to avoid commenting on Dad's status.

We are continuing to contact and discuss his condition with experts and carefully considering our options. His shoulder and elbow injuries are, after all, serious and we do not want to rush to a decision.

I spoke to Jo last evening and she reported that he is doing well, eating well and behaving calmly. That makes the aforementioned contacts and discussions easier in the sense that we do not have to hastily reach a hard decision as to Dad's fate right now."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sad News

I am so very sorry to report that Solo did not make it. Here is the official note from Bob Walters of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

On July 13, 2013, Solo the only, young-of-the-year peregrine falcon to hatch at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB) this year, died from injuries received on July 3rd. The injuries were a result of a high speed impact into the north face of the Zion’s Bank Tower located due south of the JSMB. Following his injury and rescue, Solo was transported to a Salt Lake City rehabilitation facility where supportive therapies were started under the care of Jo Stoddard. X-rays were taken on July 5. While no fractures were evidenced, Solo suffered soft tissue, nerve and spinal cord injuries. These injuries resulted in flaccid paralysis of both legs, incontinence and head trauma. While some slight improvement in the paralysis was detected over the 10 day holding period, other systems began to shut down. He was found dead midday on Saturday.

Robert Walters
July 15, 2013

Bob will try to answer questions if you have any. Please leave them in the comments section. I have no update on Dad. Mom has been seen in several locations over the weekend. No sight of the new male though.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Update from Bob

Hi Everyone,
Just thought I'd move a comment up here that Bob left today.

06:53 - 07:27 a.m. this morning, July 9: adult female (Mom) observed feeding and then loafing on the key icon that precedes the words Key Bank Tower (west face of the Key Bank Tower), adult boyfriend was not observed

FYI - I collected the only, remaining, entire egg today at 1:43 p.m. from the nest box. It weighs very little (contents desiccated?), but I intend to determine if analysis is possible. Who knows ... we may learn something! Adult(s) not observed at ground level in the usual places as I entered the JSMB and no protest mounted at man in (at rear of) nest box by either the adult female, or her boyfriend.

No new news on Solo, or Dad, but I'll update as soon as possible.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fan Mail from Some Flounder

This blog is written by a VOLUNTEER that puts in 100+ hours of VOLUNTEER time before, during and after Fledge Week with the team, networking with other birding folks, taking and editing photos, updating the blog so that ALL the people who have watched the cameras over the course of the nest season can still feel like they are part of the action... This blog is for the common folk. Those of us who don't need a degree in ornithology to enjoy and appreciate nature. I started it because I was downtown VOLUNTEERING and wanted to share some of the experience. The State of Utah does not pay me for my hours nor do they have anything to do with this blog. NOBODY has a right to complain about anything with this program if you haven't had your 'boots on the ground' during fledge week. (This is written in response to someone who complained that my blog wasn't professional. To the rest of my readers, thank you for being here.)

Phew, now that I got that off my chest. BTW, any further professional explanation of Solo or Dad's conditions can be requested directly from Bob Walters. I am not a wildlife biologist, but I might have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

Here are a couple of photos caught on the cams yesterday of the new male in and leaving the nest box. Note he has no metal bands so he is not a returning juvenile from a prior nest season.

Solo and Dad Update

Bob sent out this note yesterday:
"Solo: Xray(s) revealed no lesions, no fractures and no dislocations.

Wings appear okay ... this after Bob mentioned noticing a "mouse" on Solo's right wing when upon the JSMB (east-facing, south interior scalloped edge) before his flight to the window ledge on the west face of of the JSMB and later a report of a drooped wing on that same ledge before the flight where he bumped into glass on the Zion's Bank Tower  

What's next ? continue supportive therapy (fluid and food), see if Solo improves with time. 

Interesting that: Solo weighed in at 790 grams ... on border between male and female weight, JoAnn said that Solo looked huge when compared to Dad, when positioned side to side. So, Solo may not be a male, but a female with skinny legs. I'm convinced that all that heat contributed in a major way to Solo's problems and for that matter maybe it even figured into his Dad's problem too.

We wait and see if improves by staying in touch with JoAnn, just to say it: there is no guarantee that he can re-enter the program and certainly not any time soon.

Dad: Xray(s) revealed a dislocated shoulder (left wing) Xrays and clinical notes have been sent to several experts in the U.S.A. and Joann is awaiting feedback. Dad continues to do well ... eating, etc."

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Guy?

Mary Anne caught some video of a bird in the box this morning. At first I thought it was Mom, but something seemed different. I cropped an image from it and also took an image from a June 20 video of Mom. I think these are two different birds. I pasted video below as well. Any opinions?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4 Update

Bob said that there is nothing new on Solo. He is due for x-rays tomorrow. He said that one our watchers was downtown today and saw Mom and the new male. I hope to go there tomorrow to get a photo. This is another photo shared with me from the rescue of Solo on Tuesday.

Happy Independence Day to all.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Solo Injured

I hate to report this. Bob sent this note out today. Say a prayer, light a candle, send good thoughts:

"Unfortunately, Solo bumped/clipped the north face of the Zion's Bank Tower mid-morning today, July 3. He appeared to recover from the "hit" and then fell upon the "easternmost" awning above the sidewalk at the South Temple St. entrance of the Zion's Bank Tower.

Solo was taken to JoAnn, examined and is now scheduled for an x-ray on Friday, July 5.
There is a window of time of seven days in which the adult female will maintain fidelity/interest in the young-of-the-year, nest site, etc. So, Solo will not go out today or tomorrow and we'll see, if and when, based on what JoAnn determines via the x-ray, close observation and monitoring of Solo, TLC, etc.

I'm going to monitor the adults (note plural, not singular) with some regularity.

P.S. it's unknown if Solo has an injured wing (this was reported elsewhere earlier today) and there's no new news on Solo's Dad, except that he is eating well = has a healthy appetite"

Solo's Adventures ~ Mon/Tues

Hi! I hate Mondays and Tuesday, because I have to act like a normal person and work, haha. A couple years ago I reached a point where full time work, hobbies and a grandchild became just too much to handle, so something had to give. Guess which I chose to give up?

The point of that is that I ran out of time on Monday and Tuesday to do updates, since I also spent 5 hours at falcon central helping out. So here is an update covering Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday and this morning.

When I left Sunday, Solo was still on that North Office Bldg (NOB) sitting under an exhaust fan, cooling off, staying out of the sun. Dinner was delivered by Mom, and he stayed there the rest of the night. On Monday morning, the crew lined up again on North Temple awaiting some movement from him. Mom started some flyovers, we assume to encourage him to get his butt up and start moving. He did! And then he was lost. For about six hours.

When he left NOB, he flew over to the Church History Bldg, then from there flew just a bit west and sharply south through the gap between Relief Society Bldg and The Temple. And nobody saw where he went. A search of all the walkways, gardens, rooftops, and ledges turned up nothing. That starts to get worrisome. But our only choice is just to sit tight and wait for that happy phone call that someone spotted him. In the meantime, I went up to the 10th floor of JSMB where a nice man let me sit in the NW windows where I could look out over all the area where he disappeared. No sign of Solo at all. About 3:30 the phone call came. A maintenance person spotted him on the ground near the iron fence between The Temple and the Reflecting Pool. He must have been hanging out under the bushes in the shade.

But wait! When Bob went over to pick him up, he noticed two adults on the NE corner of JSMB! The intruding adult male was back, hanging out with Mom. The usual events played out, Solo was picked up, boxed and taken back up to the Beehive for release. Not five minutes after release he flew off the south end of JSMB headed for all the glass on the Zion's Bank Bldg! He hit lightly then veered over to the scrollwork on West Wing JSMB, SE corner, see picture below. After we were sure he was staying, I took the elevator back up and grabbed a couple pictures. Mom delivered dinner and she sat nearby and called loudly. Was that reassurance to him that she was there or calling for the new male? Who knows but it was loud and went on for awhile during his mealtime. He ended up taking a quick flight around to the west face of JSMB to a window ledge and he has been there since. I just talked to Bob and he was fed this morning, although much of it fell to the ground. Looks are it's a Sora Rail (go look that up on google ). Bob said it's very possible that the new male is helping hunt out on our wetlands/bays.

NOB where Solo spent the night under cooool fan, July 1.
Mom keeping watch from COB on July 1.
Solo after being 'toweled' near The Temple garden area, photo credit to Salt Lake City Peregrine Falcon Facebook page.

Solo resting after glancing off Zion's Bank, July 2.

Uh, dinner is just a few feet away. But Solo isn't hunting yet. Mom delivered dinner soon after this.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Night Update

Everything is beginning to blur together. Solo has been picked up from the ground at least twice more today. I arrived about 7:45 this morning. Solo was perched on the very top of the West wing of JSMB. Mom was flying by over and over, probably to get him to try a flight. Shortly after that, he did, flying south and then east headed to land on some of the windows on the Zion's Bank bldg. Of course there is no place to land there, so he careened east above S. Temple and tried for the Admin Bldg. He touched the top edge and then drifted downward, not able to grab the ledge. He ended in the gar...den by the sidewalk. He was put back on the Beehive, where Mom encouraged him to move over to the North side and he eventually came down on a ledge and she delivered a pigeon. He ate and then rested there from about 11:00 and was still there when I left at 2:00. I called Bob later and he said Solo had attempted a flight again, landing over by the oval near the tall Church Office building. He again was put on the Beehive and was still there at 8:00 when I talked to Bob. Word on Dad/male adult is that there is no fractures to the wing but he will stay at rehab until he is completely well and not favoring that wing. For now, it appears he will not be around much to help out with Solo.

Mom flying over Solo urging him to fly.
This is Solo's flight about 8:30. I just barely caught him.

Here he is flying over to Admin after failing to land at Zion's.

Picked up out of the garden by Admin Bldg.

He still has some white fluff.

Eating pigeon about 11:00

Solo on ledge, Mom below on scroll, know as Charlie's Cafe.

Geography of Falcon Grounds

I received a request today for a map of the area, as a lot of my references on Twitter and the blog talk about Beehive, JSMB, Temple, South Temple Street, Zion's Bank, etc.

So below are some photos I edited with labels. You can also go to and put in the coordinates. The main area we cover is bounded by:

  • North Temple Street (on the North)
  • South Temple Street (on the South)
  • State Street (on the East)
  • Main Street and West Temple Street (on the SW and West)
Feel free to ask questions. I will indicate which way you are facing under each photo. More photos from today's adventure will be posted later tonight.

You can click on the pictures to view them larger.

Looking East from just above the nest box.

Looking NE from just right of the nest box.

Looking NNW from Nestbox corner

Looking southwest from Tall Church Office Building top floor.

Sorry for the blurriness, NE view of Admin Bldg and Nestbox area from State St. and S. Temple St.

 This picture was from last year, when Primo was injured flying into Zion's Bank Bldg.
From one block south, looking through 'The Gap' between JSMP and Admin Bldg. Bob's tree is just under that arrow.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

End of the Day Update

First of all, I am adding a mess load of pictures so if you missed the fledge video, scroll ALL the way down past these pictures. Second, because there are so many, I am leaving them small but you can click on any of them and it will take you to the full size photo.

Solo has been very busy today! Since I left at 2pm, he has been 'toweled' twice more, landing once on Main Street and once near the ice cream store on South Temple. Too near traffic, that's for sure. Bob said he has settled down on the east face of JSMB for the night, with Mom keeping watch from the Eagle Gate Tower across the street.

Here are more photos. Basically, Solo left the nest, spent a couple hours dinking around on the ledge he landed on, bothered Mom at one point (she didn't see happy), she flew back and forth as he waddled after her on the ledge. She fed him some of the pigeon she brought over from the nest, then he proceeded to just walk himself, rather swiftly, north, then east on the Admin Bldg. He stopped on the NE corner, caught a breeze, flapped and took off over the top of the Lion House. Everyone panicked as it looked like he was headed to traffic on S. Temple. We searched, some running over to State Street and then lo and behold, we found him sitting just above the entrance to the Pantry in the gutter! He had tried a landing on their roof but its made of metal, so he couldn't get a grip. Our new volunteer (I believe her name was Heidi), climbed the scaffolding to get closer, threw a towel up in the air a couple times and Solo finally soared to the ground, all of 10 feet. We had a few folks corral him with their towels and he was in Bob's arms and off for banding. Later, when he was released on the Beehive, he didn't pop up, so I took a trip up to the top of the Church Office Building and looked from above to see if we could spot him. Nothing. But the photos give you an idea of where he is released.