Birds of a feather
Friday May 29th 2009, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

I opened the door a half hour ago and got an instant flashback.  I don’t know where it is and the city’s emergency warning system has not sent out automated calls.  But the smell was heavy in the air–there was a fire out there somewhere. There’s also a stiff breeze going on, and I don’t smell it now.

We never had fire season growing up in Maryland, that’s for sure.

We also never had peregrines that I knew of.  Today the falcon fledge watch has officially begun in San Jose. I saw one of the females perched up on the low ledge above their runway near the top of City Hall, looking out over the city.  Her sister stayed just below her, and as the one turned her head this way and that, looking out at such a whole new direction to take in–down–her sister started pecking at her toes.

Like siblings everywhere, the one above reacted with, Stop that! She twitched her foot away, and when she set it back down, the other started pecking away at it again: are you sure that talon isn’t a tasty bug?  And again, till finally that huge falcon foot pushed carefully slowly against the other’s head and away from her: I. Said. STOP. That. NOW.

A few more pecks from below just to get the last word in.

Veer, the lone male of the four, disappeared from the camera for long hours yesterday. Males are smaller, so their feathers become fully grown out a little sooner; he’s easy to pick out from the crowd, small, dark and smooth, while the others still have a few puffs of white fuzz sticking out at funny angles, although, fewer by the hour now.  When Veer was banded, they put a black band on his left foot, the opposite side from his sisters.

This afternoon, all four were in the nest box.  He flew out of it, looking steady and sure as he went, baby awkwardness gone. He instantly disappeared out of view of the webcam; I don’t know if he stayed in their runway area.

All three females cocked their head to the side in lockstep unison, then further over to the side as they watched him go: how off earth did he DO that?

They will find out in the next day or two.

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I’ve not been watching that webcam, but I can imagine the interplay amongst the youngsters. The difference with my birds is that will have absolutely nothing to do with one another. Pepper won’t even protect his own cage when Chipper is in it. I have to chase Chip out.

Comment by Don Meyer 05.29.09 @ 7:07 pm

Ack! I keep forgetting the humor:
These aren’t really jokes, but …
A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. ”House” for instance, is feminine: ”la casa.” ”Pencil;” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, ”What gender is ‘computer’?”
Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ”computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give 4 reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ”computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (”la computer”), because:
1.  No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2.  The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3.  Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4.  As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (”el computer”), because:
1.  In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2.  They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;

3.  They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem; and

4.  As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The women won.

Comment by Don Meyer 05.29.09 @ 7:29 pm

It is that time of year isnt it:)Hugs Darcy

Comment by Darcy 05.29.09 @ 9:00 pm

I’ve so enjoyed hearing about and seeing the development of these birds. I even forced myself to watch mama feeding them the pidgeon.

Comment by Joansie 05.30.09 @ 4:40 am

Love hearing about the falcon progress.

Our ducklings on the lake are growing like weeds, too.

Don, I loved your joke, had to print it out for DH, the computer geek.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 05.30.09 @ 5:30 am

Oh, I hope the fire was something small and contained. Having grown up in CA, fires certainly were always part of my childhood – not only the wild kind, but also, every October, the burning of the rice fields in the Sacramento Valley. Talk about bad air quality!

Comment by Jocelyn 05.30.09 @ 7:28 am

Fire season. We have it here in VA, but to the west of me is more rural than “your” MD…

Comment by Channon 05.31.09 @ 12:14 pm

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