FledgeWatch Day One: All Four have Fledged
That’s a wrap on FledgeWatch day one! Staff convened at Riverfront Tower at 8:15 am to open the pen and monitor the peregrine chicks as they spent their first day ‘on the wing’. Following the installation of the actuator, the chicks were given time to settle before the pen was opened at approximately 10:00 am allowing the birds to take flight at their leisure. Although fledging occurred at varying times throughout the day, the order of chicks to fledge from first to last was Blue, White, Red, Yellow. After numerous hours were spent tracking the birds downtown, staff parted ways around 5:30 pm.
We have provided the surrounding details on each chicks fledging, subsequent activities throughout the day, and last known locations, below. Staff will reconvene tomorrow morning to again locate the chicks and continue their monitoring efforts. Once monitoring has concluded for the day, an additional update will be posted tomorrow evening providing status updates and outlining the details of the days observations.
Just like last year, the male with the blue tape was the first to fledge! He left the pen around 10:05 am ( very shortly after the door was opened) and almost immediately hopped up onto the parapet ledge. He remained perched on the ledge for a few minutes until approximately 10:22 am when he appeared to step backward off the ledge, ultimately falling off.
Although this fledging event appeared to be an unintentional one, he appeared to have little to no immediate trouble on the wing as he rapidly went into a glide just after falling off the ledge. After gliding above Kanawha Plaza, he unsuccessfully attempted to land on a windowsill of the Williams Mullin building before ultimately circling around the east side of the building and out of sight of all stationed observers. Around 11:00 am he was located on a 14th story patio attached to the nearby HCA building. He remained in place at this location for a few hours, making occasional movements up and down from the guardrails of the patio before once again taking flight around 1:15 pm. This was a short flight involving a few circles around the surrounding buildings before he ultimately returned to the east side of the HCA building to land. Instead of landing on the upper patio where he was previously perched, he landed on a table atop a lower 9th story patio. He remained in this general location for the remainder of the day where he was observed stretching and flapping his wings and making periodic hops to and from the table.
White was the second bird to leave the pen, taking off in flight directly from the lip of the nest box and landing on the nearby parapet ledge around 11:24 am. Shortly after landing here, he walked behind the camera mount and thus out of view to online observers.
He fledged shortly after this (around 11:26 am), circled the Riverfront Plaza Towers, and ultimately landed atop the roof of the Williams Mullin building across the street from the nest box. He remained in this position for an extended period of time before flying up to the roof of the adjacent HCA building facing Kanawha Plaza around 2:00 pm. Here he paced the roof and stretched his wings for approximately two hours before once again taking off towards Riverfront Plaza.
After circling and making a few failed landing attempts, he ultimately ended up on a lower balcony of the towers approximately three stories above ground around 3:55 pm. He remained at this location for a few minutes before flying towards the Towne Bank building where another landing attempt was made but ultimately resulted in the bird skittering down the building and ending up at street level immediately in front of the entrance to the Towne Bank parking garage. Fortunately, a DWR staff member was able to get to the grounded bird within minutes and was able to narrowly prevent the bird from getting hit by a car exiting the garage. At this point the bird again took flight towards the direction of the Federal Reserve building, once again becoming momentarily grounded in the street before again resuming flight. Following these events, numerous staff members scoured the surrounding area in search of the bird. It was ultimately located on a light fixture attached to the east side of the CoStar building at 4:43 pm where it stayed in place for the remainder of the days monitoring activities.
Despite the failed landings and groundings, the bird continued to exhibit incredibly strong flight behaviors following these incidents and was able to regain a good amount of height while flying to its final perch. Based on those observed behaviors, staff remain cautiously optimistic that it remains relatively uninjured following the ordeal.
Although Red was the fourth chick to leave the pen at approximately 1:18 pm (just a few minutes after Yellow), she was the third to fledge after spending no more than a few minutes perched atop the ledge. Her inaugural flight was spent circling the Riverfront Towers where staff temporarily lost site of her due to the presence of both adults and her sister (Yellow) also being spotted in flight, in the same general vicinity. Shortly after fledging around 1:30, she was observed atop the roof of the Towne Bank building.
She remained in place at this location for the remainder of the afternoon and was still in place when DWR staff left their posts for the day. However, shortly after staff had begun loading equipment into vehicles and departing, it was observed that she was no longer in this position and had presumably moved onto another unknown perch shortly after staffs departure.
Third to leave the pen at approximately 1:07 pm but last to fledge from the ledge of the parapet at approximately 1:24 pm, the Yellow falcon also had an eventful day. Almost immediately following her departure from the ledge, she circled the Riverfront Towers and made multiple failed attempts to land along the building’s windowsills. Following these failed attempts she was seen around 1:27 pm skittering down the side of the West Tower where staff presumed her to be grounded.
After a quick search of the surrounding area, she was quickly located perched in a tree along a sidewalk between the Riverfront Plaza’s West Tower and 9th Street. Although she appeared uninjured from our observations on the ground, her position in the tree was particularly precarious as it was just a few feet from the six lanes of traffic in the street. DWR staff acted quickly to climb the tree that the bird was perched in and secure her via a very large net. Following capture, she was examined for any signs of injury or head trauma. Once she was confirmed to be alert with no signs of injury and her wings were confirmed to be functioning properly, she was returned to the nest box at 2:10 pm where she remained in place for the remainder of the day and into early evening.
Following staffs departure from downtown, she again departed the pen at approximately 6:30 pm and could be seen on camera perching atop the parapet ledge. At approximately 7:10 pm a prey item was delivered to her at her location atop the ledge by one of the adults which she was observed to be feeding on. At 8:20pm she could be seen unintentionally falling from the ledge in a similar fashion to what was experienced by the blue male earlier in the day. Although we are confident she would have been able to glide/fly following this fall, where she attempted to fly to is currently unknown.
We hope to again locate each of the birds first thing tomorrow morning and will be sure to provide updates as soon as we are able in the evening!