This flying thing is for the birds
Thursday June 04th 2009, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

How the heck do you drive this stickshift?!

Or, why the biologists committed to rescuing this species that almost came to extinction in the days of DDT are doing Fledge Watch this week with binoculars on the ground and all the trained volunteers they can find.

imgp77201This picture is looking in the opposite direction down the runway from yesterday’s photos; that is the nestbox on the right.  Every now and then the camera will close in on the bands on the birds so you and they can tell which one we’re looking at.

No such luck this time: I saw a juvenile take off this afternoon, which was so cool, and mentioned it to a friend but told him I was sure it had to have been one of the ones who’d already fledged: it looked too steady and too sure of itself to be a first-timer.

Boy was I wrong.

At that time, according to the report that came in a little later, Kya took off.  She had a rough landing and decided to stay put on the Bris de Soleil for a few hours.

And then she decided she wanted to go home.  There was a sibling at the end of the high ledge by the nest box, watching: via the webcam, I could see a falcon in flight swooping around again and again, though I had no idea which one it was.  Then there was one swoop to just out of sight where I thought, wow, that didn’t look good. I assumed it was just a funky perspective of the camera.

It wasn’t.

The report that came in later said that she’d tried for the nestbox but hadn’t gotten quite high enough and had collided slightly with the building. She recovered, swooped around and tried again–and this time hit harder.  Down down down, falling noisily, grabbing at the vents on the side of City Hall for 30 feet with the noise getting the attention of otherwise oblivious people on the ground as well as the fledge watchers.  Everybody holding their horrified breath.  Then she caught herself, winged it, and… the people standing on the nearby garage had her coming towards them and were going, she’s not going to clear it!

And then she disappeared.

They ran.

She ended up in an alley with multi-story structures on three sides and no way she could see out.  A person was walking in her direction. One fledgewatcher yelled at the woman to stop coming closer! Another, the biologist in charge of the project, went over the fence that was in his way and took off his cap.  When he got quite close, Kya went on her back with her talons up, ready to fend him off. He stretched out his cap, she grabbed it, and he was able to swoop it and her up and hold her wings gently in to get her into a protective box.

She was then taken to the roof of City Hall, not far above the nest, where her parents divebombed the biologist–they knew what was in that box! Smart birds.  He doused her with water so that she would wait before flying again and could get some rest while he got the heck out of her way, rather than having her panic and tire herself out and do more damage.

And she’s okay.

Parenting. You send them out on their first solo drive and you pray like crazy.

8 Comments so far
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Maybe I shouldn’t read your blog right as I get online in the morning: you had my heart running! lol

I’m glad she’s okay – and the biologist too. 🙂

Comment by Suzanne 06.05.09 @ 5:06 am

Oh wow. What compassion! I’m glad she was returned to her parents for some R&R before her next effort.

Comment by Channon 06.05.09 @ 6:34 am

Whew! That’s worse than those car insurance commercials with the teenager trying to back down the driveway!

Deep breath, try again.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 06.05.09 @ 8:21 am

I’ve got another one who will be learning to drive soon. Does the dousing with water really work to slow them down a bit? At least my kids aren’t trying to become airborne at the moment.

Comment by LauraN 06.05.09 @ 8:27 am

“Whoosh!” I said as I let out my breath. My Pepper’s wings are clipped, and I get startled when she decides to leap off the counter to come chase me down the hall. But YOUR description caught me breathless.

Can we take some humor after that breathless experience?

Practice safe eating – always use condiments.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife, or death.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

The cardiologist’s diet: If it tastes good spit it out

Las Vegas is filled with all kinds of gambling; game tables, slot machines and wedding chapels.

If an invisible man married an invisible woman, their kids would be nothing to look at.

Comment by Don Meyer 06.05.09 @ 10:55 am

Who need TV when you have such excitement on tap!

Comment by Diana Troldahl 06.05.09 @ 2:45 pm

True life drama! What a script. Thanks! 🙂

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 06.05.09 @ 4:06 pm

Hahah better get Geiko…. 😉

Comment by Alicia 06.08.09 @ 12:02 pm

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