On Wednesday evening, Tower City Security called volunteer nest monitor Mr. Scott Wright to report that a juvenile falcon had been spotted on the ground in front of the building. The FalconCam caught an image of the juvenile just before it took off on its first flight.
It was Spark. Did the wind catch him as he was flapping? Or did he actually decide to fly? Whatever happened, a busy city street is a dangerous spot for a fledgling, so a security officer tried to grab him while he was on the ground - but Spark got away, flew to the top of a pole and landed on some electrical wires. Here he is near the top of the pole that says “Do not enter.”
Mr. Wright rushed to the scene and watched Spark perched on electrical wires throughout the night.
The next morning, 2 Rock Doves flew in and landed next to Spark. Do they know that they are prey for this predator? Or do they know Spark is too young to be a threat? His parents will continue to feed him for the next 4-6 weeks until he learns to hunt for himself.
Question: a human would be killed if he or she touched a high voltage electrical wire. Why are birds able to perch on electrical wires without any harm?
At 9:15am yesterday morning, Spark took off from the wires…………..
He flew to a roof above a parking lot on a nearby hotel, and while he was flying, he was attacked by a gull. Boomer was close by watching over his son and made 3 flybys that scared the gull away. Here you can see Spark on a very narrow ledge at the top right.
Mr. Harvey Webster, Director of Wildlife Resources at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, tells us, “Fledging is always a nervous time as there are many perils in learning how to fly in the canyons of the city, starting with the fact that the young are 12 stories up. The winds in the city come swirling around the buildings and can form treacherous eddies and downdrafts. And yet this is a rite of passage that every young falcon must face. First flights are usually short distance affairs from ledge to ledge and roof to roof. But within the next week to ten days all will be flying over Public Square. And although they might continue to spend the night at the nest box they will become independent of that site. They will continue to depend on their parents for food for the next 4-6 weeks.”
After Spark landed near the roof, he took a nap. What adventures he had!
Stay tuned for more fledging news..........
To watch the falcons live go to: http://www.falconcam-cmnh.org/news.php
For more about falcons, go to: http://raptorsinthecity.org/Our thanks to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for sponsoring the FalconCams and for the still.
Thanks to Tower City Security, Cleveland Police and Mr. Wright (who kept watch throughout the night) for watching over Spark.
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.