The last time that three juvenile Peregrines were seen in Downtown Utica was on July 27th. Two days later Max was the only one left in canyon. The next thing we expected to happen was for Max to leave, but instead, Zander returned to the fold. The two sibling sparred and chased each other (and their parents), quite a bit. By August 2nd, Max seemed to be the lone kid again. On August 3rd, we were convinced that Max had left the area. We even made an announcement to that effect on our Utica Falcon Facebook page. Not only did Max reappear in the evening, but he had Zander with him. On Friday night the brothers were darting around the State Building, chasing each other and sparring like mad. High winds in the evening allowed them to fly especially fast. As for Astrid and Ares, they had been doing more and more ledge displays during the period when the kids were less of a presence in the canyon. However, when the young returned the parents reverted to keeping low profiles and even occasionally hiding. We fully expect that sometime soon they will have the canyon to themselves again, but don’t ask us to make a prediction about when that will be. We’ve given up on doing that. At least for this year!
We’ve had one of our young Peregrines leave the fold since my last update. Luna, the smallest male, was last seen flying and sparring with his siblings on July 14th. Although we don’t know for sure what has become of him, we have no evidence that he had been injured or killed. The incentive to leave the family is strong for a small male since he would have the hardest time obtaining food from the adults. More often than not, when he did get something he would lose it to one of his larger siblings. As of July 21st we still have three juvenile Peregrines on their parent’s territory. They frequently return to the canyon where they hunt, spar, and make tremendous commotions. They are very loud birds! All three have been seen hunting. They do this alone and in teams. Sometimes they fly very low as they try to stir up prey. They are often out of our view, hunting on the outskirts of the territory. So far they all return to the canyon at least a few times a day and almost always by nightfall. The parents have been doing fewer ledge displays at the box just lately. They still spend a fair amount of their time keeping out of sight of the perpetually hungry gang of kids.
As I’m writing this update at 5:30 AM, I can see all four young Peregrine Falcons actively chasing each other around the State Office building. The heavy rain had just subsided and these guys were ready to go. About a half hour ago one of them had chased Astrid out of the nest box. Astrid and Ares have resumed performing ledge displays at the box, but more often than not, they are interrupted and chased out before they can finish. The youngsters have been hunting for themselves, but still continue to get prey from their parents whenever possible. They frequently pursue their parents and even up them from their perches. It has gotten to the point where Astrid and Ares spend a considerable amount of time hiding from their kids. However, evidently, they still seem to want them around. Last night when Spirit and one of her brothers were out hunting by the Mohawk River, Astrid came in and lured them back to the canyon with a meal. So far, every night the kids have been returning to the canyon and to their perches on the State Building.
Over the course of the last week, the four juvenile peregrines from the Utica nest continue to be seen daily. They are spending more time away from the canyon, but usually all of them return a few times a day. They have been spending most of their time testing their hunting abilities and on a few occasions they have been observed successfully securing prey. However, they still regularly pester their parents for food and their shrill begging calls are frequently heard echoing through Downtown. As they push to the outer boundaries of their parent’s territory, they have been able to experience different habitats and explore interactions with a wide variety of other species. They have been spending an increasing amount of time around the Mohawk River just lately. So far we have been very fortunate to be able to track them on some of their adventures and we hope to continue to as long as they remain in the region.
The fledglings were in good form today. They discovered the County Building and spent a considerable amount of time flying around it and perching on its many facets. They especially appreciated the light poles that were recently installed along the edge of the roof. As Ares found out several months ago, they make really great perches. The four musketeers were also seen making attempts at catching prey. They chased a few pigeons around, but as far as we know, never came close to catching one. Astrid picked up part of a pigeon meal and lured the youngsters into chasing after her. Interestingly, even though she was flying relatively slowly, the three perusing her remained at least 20 feet behind her. It was as if they didn’t really want to catch her. I’m pretty sure that, had it been Ares, they would’ve had no qualms about catching up to him and grabbing the food from his talons. Spirit didn’t take part in the chase since earlier in the morning she had already eaten most of a pigeon on her own. It does seem like she gets the lion’s share of the food the parents bring in and that does make sense she is the largest and arguably the most formidable one in their ranks. Astrid and Ares performed at least 1 1/2 ledge displays at the box today. I say 1/2 because the last one was rudely interrupted by a brash fledgling.