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Spirit Finally Fledges!!

Spirit's first flight is to the roof of the ADK Bank and she perches right next to our PTZ cam
Spirit’s first flight is to the roof of the ADK Bank and she perches right next to our PTZ cam

The Utica Peregrine Nestlings have all fledged now, but they continue to visit their nest box and continue to be fed there. This is different behavior than seen in the previous years. In terms of their flying: Their skill levels are gradually increasing. They are making miscalculations – primarily when landing, but this is all to be expected at this stage. Overall they are doing very well. Fledge Watch will continue through this early stage to insure that if they do get into real trouble, someone will be on hand to provide assistance if necessary. Please come down if you are able! It’s the best airshow in the Mohawk Valley

Astrid and Zander engage in some chasing
Astrid and Zander engage in some friendly  chasing
Ares almost drops off food to Max on the roof of the State Building
Ares almost drops off food to Max on the roof of the State Building
Zander displaces Astrid from her steeple perch
Zander displaces Astrid from her steeple perch – She wasn’t happy about that
Zander likes Astrid's favorite perch a lot
Zander really likes Astrid’s favorite perch
Luna makes a rough landing on the wall of the bank, but soon recovers and lands well
Luna makes a rough landing on the wall of the bank, but soon recovers and ultimately lands well
Utica is Zander's Town
Apparently Utica is Zander’s Town now
All the boys return to the nest box to hang out with their (at this point) unfledged sister - and to have lunch
All the boys converge at the nest box to hang out with their (at this point) unfledged sister – and to have lunch
Some strong flying was seen today
Some strong flying was seen today
Astrid tours the canyon
Astrid tours the canyon
Making a great landing just east of the nest box
Making a great landing just east of the nest box
Having a lie down benath the PTZ camera
Having a lie down beneath the PTZ camera

All Three Males Have Now Successfully Fledged!!

Two brothers converge post-fledging on the ADK Bank's roof
Two brothers converge, post-fledging, on the ADK Bank’s roof

It was a really big day for the Utica Peregrines. Two more Fledges happened today and all went well. The day was quite windy and the flacons used that to their advantage. It allowed the young birds to hover and to execute slower and more careful landings. There were so many events – some unprecedented, that happened today, I’m not sure where to begin. Zander had fledged yesterday afternoon, but then returned to his siblings in the nest later in the day. It was almost as if he had “un-fledged”. We thought that was interesting, but then his two brothers, Max and Luna, did exactly the same thing.  All of them returned to the box repeatedly post fledging. Today, Max fledged at about dawn and Luna fledged in the late morning. No one claims to have witnessed the exact moment of either event, but both of these guys did really well in their flights. All three managed to converge with each other a few times; most notably, on the roof of the Adirondack Bank. Some landings were a little scary, especially a few that took place on the side of the Grace Church steeple, but all were recovered from nicely. It was an amazing day. The fledge watchers that showed up to help safeguard the fledglings received a fantastic air show for their efforts. As it stands now, Spirit is the only one of the brood who has yet to leave the nest. We expect her to give it a try tomorrow. This show has just begun! Come down if you can

Flying with Astrid is always a tricky business
Flying with Astrid is always a tricky business
Coming down for a landing on the cross at the very top of the steeple
Coming down for a landing on the cross at the very top of the steeple
Another interesting place to land is the top of a flagpole on the bank's roof
Another interesting place to land is the top of a flagpole on the bank’s roof
Not the best landing on the side of the steeple, but he recovered
Not the best landing on the side of the steeple, but he recovered
Zander is looking like a pro
Zander is looking like a pro
Luna getting close and personal with the PTZ camera
Luna getting close and personal with the PTZ camera
Ares corners a Pigeon on a window sill - It gets away
Ares corners a Pigeon on a window sill – It gets away
Max fledges early in the morning and lands on a low building behind the church
Max fledges early in the morning and lands on a low building behind the church
Max puts down on a 14th story window
Max puts down on a 14th story window
All back together on the veranda for a mid-morning nap time
All back together on the veranda for a mid-morning nap time
The parents having a quick converstaion
The parents having a quick converstaion
Astrid drops off a meal to the sharks in the box
Astrid drops off a meal to the sharks in the box
Coming in for an excellent landing on the roof of the Bank
Coming in for an excellent landing on the roof of the Bank
Improving with every flight
Improving with every flight
Nodding off on a 15th story ledge after a very event filled day
Nodding off on a 15th story ledge after a very event filled day

As of Tuesday – Zander Still Only Fledge

Sorry – no time for a thorough update

Zander - last night on the State Building
Zander – last night on the State Building

Zander – as of last night, was still the only juvenile that has fledged. His flights around the canyon were good on Tuesday afternoon, even if some of his landings were rough. We couldn’t see one of the other three nestlings when nightfall came. This morning we’re not sure what is happening. Hopefully another update will come later on. Fledge Watch volunteers are needed.

Ares brings a meal in to the box
Ares brings a meal in to the box
Zander flies in for a landing on the State Building
Zander flies in for a landing on the State Building
Astrid
Astrid
Zander perches on a chimney
Zander perches on a chimney – Pic by Tom S

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Zander Becomes the First Nestling to Fledge for the 2017 Season!! He Also Becomes the First Nestling of all Time to Return to the Nest Box Post Fledging and Act Like He Never Did Anything

After a few missteps, Zander claws his way un to a good perch on the ADK Bank Building
After a few missteps, Zander claws his way un to a good perch on the ADK Bank Building
Zander flies from his perch near the west side of ADK Bank, all the way to the roof
Zander flies from his perch near the west side of ADK Bank, all the way to the roof
Zander's best landing was on the roof of the ADK Bank.
Zander’s best landing was on the roof of the ADK Bank.
Astrid came to check out Zander on the roof
Astrid came to check out Zander on the roof
Zander considers flying off the roof
Zander considers flying off the roof
Not to be completely outshined - Luna became the first nestling to land on the roof of the nest box this season
Not to be completely outshined – Luna became the first nestling to land on the roof of the nest box this season

First of all, way too many things happened today, and it’s too late in the evening to itemize every little event like I usually do, so I’m including only the highlights. Spirit was the only one that spent all of last night in the nest box. Her brothers were spread out on the verandas and on the adjacent window ledges. Even a nighttime thunderstorm didn’t compel the boys to come back to the box. Several feedings took place during the course of the day, including a few at the nest box and on the verandas. Astrid conducted at least one feeding – even if it was of just a single nestling that took part. At 10:20 PM, we noticed that one of the youngsters (we think, Luna) had gone up onto the roof of the nestbox. This wasn’t unprecedented. Over the last three years, we’ve had a more than one nestling discover the box’s roof. At 4:47 PM, we had the first fledge of the season when Zander (the third falcon to hatch this year) made his maiden flight off the nest box’s long perch. His flying seemed strong. He flew to the steeple and tried to land on a place where there was no perch. He ended up clinging to the structure’s stones for a few minutes, before taking to the air again. His second flight took him east and around the church’s large parking lot. From there he flew to the State Building. While there, he tried to put down on a narrow ledge, but missed and fell down to a lower ledge. There he also failed to get footing. He flew around the south side of the State Building and was out of view for a little while. Soon he was heading for the ADK Bank building. There he landed, but again on a spot where there wasn’t a ledge. Amazingly, he crawled up the masonry and managed to get to a small ledge on the 14th floor. There he stayed for while. We thought he might remain on that relatively good perch for the rest of the evening, but evidently he had other plans. With no prompting by a parent or anyone, Zander flew up from his perch and landed on the roof of the ADK building. After a while, Astrid surprised us after she too landed on the roof of the same building. Zander and Astrid looked at each other for a little while, before she left – off to chase pigeons. Zander knew that the nest box wasn’t all that far below his position on the roof; and so when we at fledge watch were all distracted and looking away. Zander dropped (or flew) right back down to the nest box. He reversed fledged! He rejoined his siblings and soon was participating in their pre-fledging antics and exercises routines. Well, folks, this has never happened before.

Ares perched on a light fixture on the county building
Ares perched on a light fixture on the county building
While their brother was gone, the siblings acted like nothing was amiss
While their brother was gone, the siblings acted like nothing was amiss

We shall see what happens tomorrow. Once again, we do need fledge watch volunteers throughout the day  tomorrow and for at least the rest of this week. Help us to help the birds and come and see them in action.

 

Both Max and Zander Hover High Over the Nest Box! But Still no Fledging Yet

Zander (like Max before him) executes a perfect hover flight over the perch
Zander (like Max before him) executes a perfect hover flight over the perch

The Falcons were a bit more lively overnight, probably because of the warm temperatures. We didn’t notice any feedings in the early morning hours, but the nestlings began going out onto the verandas at 4:30 AM. At 5:15, Astrid was feeding Spirit and two of the boys in the box. We don’t know if it was fresh food or yesterday night’s leftover pigeon. The juveniles were very active for the next couple of hours – zipping from the veranda to the nest box and to the perches. The first half of the morning also featured lots of wing flapping and plenty of short distance hop flights. Astrid and Ares kept a very close watch on the nest box through the morning. We thought that they, like us, were anticipating at least one nestling to fledge today.

Luna, Spirit, Zander and Max (left to right) - And yes, Spirit does seem to be placing  her wing around her brother's shoulder
Luna, Spirit, Zander and Max (left to right) – And yes, Spirit does seem to be placing her wing around her brother’s shoulder
Everbody's watching a pigeon fly over the building
Everbody’s watching a pigeon fly over the building
A tremendous amount of wing work was going on today
A tremendous amount of wing work was going on today

At 9:40, Ares brought in a cuckoo to the east veranda. Astrid met him there but instead of letting her take it or giving it to the nestlings, Ares flew away with it. He likely stored it in his pantry on the State Building. We probably have not seen the last of that cuckoo. At 10:40, Astrid flew up to the window ledge located just east of the east veranda. There she tucked herself in and (to all of our surprise), she remained in that place for an hour. That was unusual behavior for her.  At 1:30 PM, while Max was out on the perch, he caught a gust of wind which caused him to hover at least four feet above the perch! He came down on a veranda. This was the closest thing we have seen to a flight from any of the nestlings. With this stunt, Max exhibited a great amount of control. Apparently, encouraged by his success, he did the same thing two more times before taking an afternoon siesta with his siblings. Max’s stunt, which was later repeated by Zander, represented the first known time that any of the Utica nestlings have done this before fledging.

Ares brought a cuckoo to the box, but then took it away again
Ares brought a cuckoo to the box, but then took it away again
Ares does a demonstration flight in front of the nest site
Ares does a demonstration flight in front of the nest site
Astrid perched on a pillar above the nest box
Astrid perched on a pillar above the nest box

At around 5:00 PM, Astrid brought a pigeon to the box, but then flew away with it. Ten minutes later she returned and brought it into the nest box. In the interim, Ares flew back and forth in front of the nest site a few times. This seemed to be an attempt to coax the youngsters to fly, but they were content to just watch. By 7:00, the nestlings had been active for quite a while – doing the usual shtick. At one point Zander performed the hover flight maneuver that I previously described. By 8:30 PM, a storm was threatening the region and the Downtown area. Astrid was on a windowsill on the State Building and Ares was on the church steeple. All four juveniles were still hanging out on the west veranda and just beyond it on a window sill.  That’s where they seemed to be resolved to remain for the storm. By 9:30, one of them had returned to the box, but the others were out of view of the cams. Hopefully they will remain hunkered down. Fledge Watch continues this week. Please come down and help if you are able.