Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Adventures of our Fledgling

The young male Peregrine Falcon has indeed taken the journey into flying. No one that we know of was there to watch his first flight but we did not have to rescue him from the street so it was a success to us. It was either the night of Monday, July 7th or the morning of Tuesday, July 8th when he decided to take flight. When we went to look for him on the 8th, he was not in or on top of the nesting box. So it was time to search all the buildings and streets to find the new place where the fledgling was perching.

At this time, both of the parents were around so we thought that the fledgling was close. It was a difficult day to look for the bird because it was raining and this made it hard to hear and see. After about an hour of searching, the fledged falcon was spotted. He was on the Greysolon Plaza building, under a neat decorative sculpture. He seemed like he was in a pretty good spot so I decided to leave and come back later to check on him. When I did that, he had already made it across the street to a perch that was a little higher. Although I had not seen him fly, I was already feeling good about his flying skills. The next day we came to set up for the Peregrine Watch program and watch him for the day.

When we first arrived at the top of a parking ramp, where we look for the birds, we did not see anybody around. Shortly after, we saw the young bird and an adult swoop over our heads and go straight towards the Greysolon Plaza building. We were very suprised to watch the young falcon fly to the top of the building. This was only his second or third day of flying and he was already heading back to the top of one of the tallest buildings in Duluth. Needless to say, this was very promising to see. For the rest of the day, we continued to see him take short flights and land on a few different perches. We also watched the adult female swoop at him to get him to fly. Even though we was doing very well flying, he still was not the best at landing. We watched him try to land on perches, fail, and then come back and try again. It was obvious that he did not have the skills of his parents.

Now, it has been a little over a week of flying and he is continuing to succeed in flying, as well as, get better at his landings. He has started to swoop at his mother and play with her more. We have yet to see him attempt to catch any prey but I am sure this will start soon. A few days we have gone to observe them and cannot find any of the family. The young one is already expanding his flying range and finding new perches. However, just today he decided to hang out on top of the nesting box before flying off to the clock tower. It is hard to know how long we will be able to observe this family easily but I think it may not be much longer because this little one is so good a flying already. Hopefully we will be able to observe some new skill developments this week!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Close to Fledging!

Today the young falcon was 37 days old and he was doing a lot of good moving. In just the last 3 days he has advanced so much. On Wednesday he was coming out on to the perch bar and hoping back into the box for his first time. Today he was coming out to the perch bar and flapping and then eventually worked his way up to the top of the box.

We had been watching the young falcon stand on the perch bar and flap, flap, flap, flap. Then we looked away for a few moments to talk to people and when we looked back he was on top of the box. We were unsure if he would go into the box again because it seems a little harder to get back into the box then out. We watched the falcon run across the top of the box and flap his wings for a while. This area was a whole new world for him today and it was neat to watch him explore it. He was looking all around at birds, bugs and feathers passing by. He seemed pretty content in his expanded world. However, he did not stay up there as long as we had thought.

Eventually the young falcon made it back into the box. He was a sneaky bird. We looked away for another brief moment and then he was gone again. We were a little worried that he had tried to fly and we did not see where he went. We did not have our monitor for the camera in the box today because of all the time he had been spending out of the box. After a bit of observing we noticed the parents were calling and coming to the box and then flying to another perch and coming to the box again. We still did not see the young bird appear to greet his parents so we continued to wonder where he was. Eventually we did see him peak his head out of the box and begin to flap inside the box. We were happy to see he did not try to fly yet.

The parents continued to fly to the box and back to another perch on the Greysolon Plaza building. They did this over and over again. It was really some neat action.  They could have been encouraging the young bird to come out of the box again and teaching him about flying. Since he does not have any other siblings, he will have to rely on his parents to "play" with more.

We are excited to see how the next few days roll out. This young bird looks like he is really getting ready to fly. It takes about 40-45 days for a young falcon to develop enough to take its first flight. Males will usually fledge sooner then females and in just 3 days this one will be 40 days.  However, it is all up to the bird so we will just have to wait and see.