Monday, June 21, 2010

Mayo Clinic Peregrine Falcons - An Update

I had the opportunity to visit the Mayo Clinic Peregrine Falcons again today.  What a difference a month makes!

At first look, I thought they'd all fledged.  There was one falcon on the nest platform - no little white fuzzy chicks.  The bird on the monitor looked like a banded adult.  I watched it walk around the platform and pick up what looked like left-overs from dinner (a pigeon wing).  Then the bird walked over to the edge of the platform and flapped its wings. 

This couldn't be an adult.

I looked closer and saw a few unruly down feathers.  Yep - this was the last of the chick trio, the last to take the leap. 

A little after 9am, I went over to the Information booth.   The three women staffing the booth looked surprised when I asked:  what's the news on the Peregrines?

One of the trio said:  I just got in, I don't know what's going on with the birds.  There was only one here this morning when I arrived.

Another said:  There were three in the box on Friday.

The third said:  We're not here over the weekend so we don't know what happened.  They banded them on June 2nd.  Three males:  Maverick, Hawkeye and Prince.

I couldn't stay, but I came back at noon and watched the little guy preen his down feathers (and eat the down), stretch his wings, flap, hop around, snooze and watch the world go by.

For the next 4 hours there were no visits from the parents.   No food drops.  This must be the way they "encourage" nestlings to take the leap.

A little after 4pm, the bird got very agitated - running back and forth on the tiny ledge, screaming and flapping his wings.  Unfortunately for me, it was time to go home.

Looks like he'll fledge later today or tomorrow.

Maybe next year Mayo volunteers will print a daily "Falcon Report" and tape it to the falcon display so interested viewers like me could make sense of what's been happening from day to day.

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