It was fairly active in the nest box overnight, but fortunately all four of the nestlings remained inside until morning. At 5:00 AM, they began getting more adventurous and started going out on the verandas – all but Spirit, anyhow. Spirit was content to remain inside the nest box for the entire day. Max and Zander were especially busy coming and going from the verandas, while Luna was less intredpid. At 6:10 AM, Ares brought food to the box, Astrid took it and fed Spirit who happened to be the only bird in the box at the time. Soon Max came in and Astrid fed him as well. I think this was the only time that a parent fed nestlings today, all the other times involved food just being dropped off.
Interestingly, After the feeding, Astrid spent the entire balance of the morning perched on a pillar just above the nest box. Ares was on an adjacent pillar for much of the time, but left periodically to chase prey and intimidate passing Turkey Vultures. Astrid gave alarm calls fairly frequently in the AM and we weren’t always sure why. The nestlings were also giving their renditions of falcon alarm calls. Their versions are generally higher in pitch and to my ear sound a little like Pileated Woodpecker calls. At around 8:00, a male American Kestrel came out of nowhere and assumed a low perch on Grace Church. We thought that maybe he was the cause of some of the alarm calls, but when he flew off, no one seemed to take notice. The nestlings (not including Spirit) got a lot of practice negotiating their way between the nest box and the verandas, but they did only a relatively small amount of wing exercising. When Astrid finally did move off the pillar in the early afternoon, she made an unsuccessful play for a pigeon.
Later on in the early evening, we watched Astrid soar higher and higher until she disappeared in the east. Ares had been MIA for at least a few hours at that point. We assumed he was on an extended hunting trip. About an hour later, Astrid reappeared on the hotel ledge. She had a pigeon and had eated about a third of it. The rest she dropped off of at the nest box for Spirit and Max (who came back from the veranda when he saw the food). After the food drop, Astrid made many visits to the nest box – just checking on things. Finally, after 8:00PM, Ares finally showed up in the canyon. He didn’t have any prey with him, so he went over to the State Building and landed on a ledge where he had stored a cuckoo. It seemed like he was going to bring the cuckoo over to the chicks, but decided against it. Is he finally getting the hint that no one like to eat cuckoos?
As darkness fell, all of the nestlings returned to the box. A & A took perches on the State Building and the Steeple. It seemed the action was over for the day. Maybe there will be a fledge tomorrow? We shall see. Join us if you can!