Tuesday May 15th 2012, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

After two years of 100% mortality rate at fledging, the San Francisco peregrine falcon nest has two young males getting good at this flying thing, one female starting to get the idea, and the second female–Amelia (see her fledge starting at 7:29), who had seemed reluctant to go out there, I’m sorry to say didn’t survive today’s attempts.

In the busy middle of downtown, volunteers were trying to follow the birds’ movements to protect the little ones. They take off not only before their flight feathers are fully in, but the feather shafts are still full of blood for that growth, adding weight for extra clumsiness. They have to learn to land with wings as well as with the feet that have been all they’ve really manuevered around the ground with before then.

One male found himself sliding sideways backwards and about to fall off a skyscraper, when his mother came zooming in and body-checked him back up into the gutter where he had a chance to straighten out and fly right. And after catching his breath, he did. Thanks Mom! That was on Mother’s Day.

While the parents kept close watch but were being outnumbered, each of the four eyases took a turn at being rescued: put in a box, taken up in the elevator to the nestbox on the 33d floor of PG&E, doused with water to slow their heart rates and calm them down, and given a second chance.

Here and here are Perry a few days ago, the first to try: he chipped his beak hitting a building and was on the ground stunned, but now he is enjoying this whole airborne idea. And beaks grow like fingernails.

Last year that nest and the San Jose one were in sync, but this year ours was delayed a week by males fighting for Clara and territory. The eggs sat there waiting, which is fine, and incubation only began after things were decided and the new male had taken over. The count to hatching starts not from laying but from when the parents start keeping them warm.

So our fledge watch is about to begin. The males, who being smaller don’t have to put as much time into growing, tend to go first, and ours are getting antsy to try.

And I have old falcon friends to see, too. Friday evening I’ll be there!

6 Comments so far
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Have a great time Friday! I’m sorry Amelia didn’t make it, but nature is cruel like that…

Comment by Channon 05.16.12 @ 6:55 am

That makes teaching my kids to drive look safe and easy.

Comment by LauraN 05.16.12 @ 7:06 am

we take joy in the success of each one that soars — and mourn the ones that do not

thank you for sharing

Comment by Bev 05.16.12 @ 8:26 am

These are truly amazing creatures, and we do mourn when one doesn’t make it. But we are thrilled when the little ones take over and soar!

Comment by Don Meyer 05.16.12 @ 8:38 am

Gotta share our hawk story. We have NEVER seen a hawk in our quarter acre suburban yard, much less in the air in the neighborhood. The other evening, around 5:30 pm, DH called me into the kitchen to look out into the back yard where the bird feeders are. Consulted my Peterson’s guide afterwards. It was an immature red-shouldered hawk stalking whatever was in the bushes under the feeders. Maybe the mourning doves? Whatever it was got away and the hawk took off in the other direction. I haven’t seen it since then, but I’m still amazed. They’re rather territorial, so maybe it was trying to establish one for her/himself.

Comment by sjanova 05.16.12 @ 6:31 pm

It is a wonder to watch the cycle of life play out.

Comment by twinsetellen 05.16.12 @ 9:41 pm

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