Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LOTS OF PHOTOS ~ Q & A from your Emails and Comments

I have been getting a lot of questions/emails. Thank you so much and keep them coming, although, it's crazy right now with driving 18 miles to the nestgrounds, working, blogging, Tweeting... I feel like a news reporter. I don't know how they do their job! This is an alarming pace right now. I will answer a few questions as best I can. I am just going to throw in a bunch of photos from yesterday, don't have time to label them though.

Q: Do you feed the birds when you have them in hand for a while and they haven't eaten (for example, Hunter, who spent hours on the ledge yesterday)?

A: No, we do not feed them. 1) They can go for a while without food, definitely 24 hours, 2) Parents are using food for incentive/reward right now to get them to fly, so we don't want to mess that up. They are also trying to get better at flying and too much food = fat kids. 3) All kids were fed yesterday at some point.

Q: What happens to the birds when they are fully independent?

A: Since they are viewed as competition by the adults for the territory, eventually the parents (especially Mom) will drive them out of the area. Bob has said in the past that they will find another territory/mate or migrate south as many peregrines do to southern areas of US. We have never seen one of our fledglings again after about end of July. In about 10 days they will be leaving the grounds during the day (flying west to look for prey? to Great Salt Lake?) and return to 'roost' on the taller buildings. Bob refers to this as 'returning the the mother cliff' as peregrines in the wild nest on rocky cliffs.

Q: Is there any thought of moving the box to a safer place so the falcons can learn to fly in a natural habitat rather than crash into buildings?

A: There is a wrong assumption among our viewers that we humans chose this location for the nestbox. Actually, 20 years ago or so, a female peregrine began trying to nest on this same building, year after year, and most of the time failed, because the eggs or chicks were on tricky shelves or even ovals, with mishaps and egg breakage. Bob got involved by asking the building owners if he could install a nestbox to try to help them be more successful. The cameras were provided by the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon church), which we are all very thankful for and also thankful for their continued support of the program and allowing Bob access to the roof to release birds. Anyway, my point is, peregrines insist on nesting in cities, among tall buildings and the box location is actually the best it can be, with the soft gardens below, not pavement. This female has been very successful over the years. As to the accidents that happen, more and more glass buildings without ledges for landing or surfaces that can be grabbed, can cause many problems. The Temple is the best landing spot, with crags, rough surfaces and hiding spots. BUT, the kids seem to be attracted to the tall buildings, with the glass, to our south. There isn't much we can do. If we remove the nestbox, they will just go back to nesting on bad spot that cause nest failure.

Q: Are mom and dad banded? Were they raised in this nest?

A. No neither are banded. If they were ever to come to the ground for injury, we would band when releasing but this has never happened here. They were not raised here. The current Dad showed up last year, simultaneous to our last Dad being injured in a suspicious accident, later to be put down. Suspicious because its possible the new Dad fought him for the territory or in some way caused the injury... of course this is just speculation. Its also possible that old Dad made a wrong judgement and flew in to a wire or building. Mom has been here for a few years, maybe even as long as 7 or 8. She came in and claimed the box for hereself and brought a mate.

Q: Why don't Mom and Dad have names?

A: Oh, what a can of worms, ha ha. Seriously though, the volunteers have never felt a need for names for them, so it's just not a priority. Mom and Dad works fine.

Q: I would like to know if those on the ground can watch the cam from devices to see what's going on above them? 

A: Yes! More and more of us have smart phones and can tune in to the cam from those. Also the building has monitors throughout for visitors to watch the nest. This is very cool!

Q: Why aren't the kids banded while they are still in the nest?

A: Bob believes in causing the least disturbance before fledging as possible. To get in to the nest, Bob has to open the wall on the rear of the box through an office window. This quite possibly would scare the kids out the opening in the front. Because our nest is not as high as some others on office buildings, and because there are not a lot of lower buildings close by to fledge to, usually our chicks end up in the gardens, can be picked up and then banded. It's a better result all around. Bob's opinion is that if one never comes down, is very successful at flight, good! Not necessary to band them all.

Some email comments that I love:

Just wanted to give you a big THANK YOU for your great falcon blog. We have been watching the nest box for the last two seasons (we have one computer with the camera viewed continually) and have really enjoyed it. All of the neighbor kids spend hours watching the falcons. Hope this year's batch has better luck that Solo did last year. Thanks again......
Albuquerque NM

Been watching everyday since the eggs were laid, It's been a thrill watching the little ones grow and mature, watching the first two fledge is as exciting as watching our own children take their first steps.way to go to both birds that fledged. we will miss watching you and can't wait for the youngest to join the family in the skys over SLC.

I have LOVED watching the web cam and reading your blog this Spring. Thanks to everyone who has made this available to us! 


Liz I'm watching the babies with my sister in California, we "get
together" over morning coffee to keep watch each year.  One year we hope to
come for the volunteers to fledge watch



You can see Hunter just on the corner (NE) of Admin Bldg after her first fledge yesterday 7:17am

Where Ace was picked up at 7:00pm and then flew back again spent the night just a bit to the right of this

Mom up high keeping track of all the kids last night

Hunter enjoying breezes

Hunter stayed on this ledge all day.Walked back and forth around the corner but didnt fly.

Hunter got a visitor and didn't like it.

Hunter didn't like the pigeon visitor getting too close and left her all day perch.

Chasing down Hunter after she came off ledge at 8:00pm

The parade following Hunter after she was picked up.

Blue footed Hunter

Dad? keeping track from Eagle Gate tower.


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for keeping us updated on the falcons! I know there is a lot going on right now, but we appreciate your efforts!

Anonymous said...

The other answer to why not put the nesting box in a natural habitat, is that nature's not any safer. Cliffs. Predators. Trees.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your answers and the awesome photos, Liz!! That is so interesting to know that they prefer cities!

Julie said...

This is just awesome. Thank you for the amazing photos and update. I am learning so much!

treelover1959 said...

I watched newly fledged peregrines on 3200 west north of airport last Saturday. Landed on fence about 20 ft away just stared at me. Of course my camera battery was dead. Still had fluff. Lots of rodents and quiet space

Jill Egbert said...

You're awesome. These pictures are awesome. Thanks for everything that you do.

Anonymous said...

9:25 pm wednesday skye got a visit from (mom) i think?

Anonymous said...

The one left in the nest looks so forlorn and lonely but don't see any inclination for her to move she just sits in the box? I hope she gets her motivation soon?

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen the one still in the nest move for a while. Hope she's okay?

Unknown said...

THANK YOU for your efforts with this blog, they are much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

How thrilling it has been to watch the progress of the chicks. I didn't tune in until earlier this week but then I had the nest in large-screen view a good part of every day and even lucked out Wednesday a.m,. when I had barely tuned in before seeing Hunter take off into the wild blue yonder!
This blog, with your daily updates, incredible photos of the birds' landings, and up-to-the-minute Tweets and pix from the volunteers and Bob, have been essential to a full understanding of what has been happening in and beyond the nesting box. Thank you very, very much.

Liz Schubert said...

Thank you for all the great feedback! We wish we could find a way to share it all with you. I'm hoping to video Bob and a few of the volunteers talking about their experiences.