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
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
Sorry – no time for a thorough update
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.