The eyasses are changing very fast.
Here they are a few days ago showing more down …………
Now they are nearly as big as their parents and are beginning to step out of the nestbox and explore their skyscraper ledge. “Ledge-walking” scares some falcon fans, because the falcons' nestbox is 13 stories up on their skyscraper - but don't worry, they won't fall off. Falcons are cliff-dwellers and are adapted to high places. Here is a view from the skyscraper ledge.
It takes both parents to hunt for their growing family.
Meanwhile back at the nest, aside from eating and sleeping, the young falcons now spend time exercising their muscles by walking, hopping, and working on their balance. Here is Spark exercising his wings….
…..but he still needs a lot of practice. Believe it or not, he will fly in a few weeks.
As you know, the eyasses received their identifying bands when they were 3 weeks old. The Ohio Division of Wildlife explains how the bands are read: “Peregrine falcons banded in North America typically receive 2 leg bands-one on each leg. The first band is a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) band which contains a number unique to that individual falcon (similar to a Social Security number). The numbers are small and hard to read unless you have the bird in hand. The color of this band can help identify the geographic region where the bird was banded. For example, USFWS bands used on Ohio falcons are purple. For birds that are hatched in the wild, the USFWS band is placed on the right leg. On falcons that were part of a release program, the USFWS band is placed on the left leg. A second band is placed on the leg opposite of the USFWS band. This band is usually one or two colors and may only have a few numbers and/or letters; these symbols are larger and repeated several times around the band. This band is made to be read from a distance, usually using a spotting scope. The colors of this band also help identify the geographic region where the bird was banded and the symbols can be traced back to an individual bird. For example, the current color combination of Ohio color bands are a black field on top of the band and a green field on the bottom of the band. This is commonly referred to as "black over green" and written as B/G”.
Here are SW’s bands:
The band on her left leg reads “B/R S/*W”, which means that the top band is black and the bottom band is red. The asterisk means that the "W" is on its side. SW's silver US Fish and Wildlife Service Band on her right leg reads #1807-44144 and tells us she was hatched in 1999, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Here is a wonderful video from the Ohio Division of Wildlife about banding:
The nest in the video is on a bridge in Ironton, Ohio. This was the home of a famous – and very fierce - peregrine falcon female called “Ironton Lucy”. While most falcons simply come close and threaten humans who come near their nest, Lucy was would make painful contact. She was so protective of her nest that the pedestrian walkway across it had to be closed during nesting season. Lucy is no longer with us and is presumed dead. Her body was never found but her leg-bands were found on a steel beam on the bridge by workers. She has been replaced by another female that is not so aggressive. You can read a story about an up-close and personal encounter with Lucy called “An Engineer, a Bridge and a Bird” on page 4 at:
When will the eyasses take their first flight? Stay tuned for falcon news……………………
To watch the falcons live go to: http://www.falconcam-cmnh.org/news.phpOur thanks to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for sponsoring the FalconCams and for the still.
Photos are courtesy of Scott Wright, volunteer peregrine nest monitor. They may be used in any non-commercial publication, electronic or print, but please give photo credit.
For more about falcons, go to http://raptorsinthecity.org/