May 05 2014

Mystery At Green Tree

Published by at 6:50 am under Peregrines

Peregrine flying to the Green Tree water tower (photo by Kate St. John)

Peregrine nesting season is not going well at the Green Tree water tower.  As far as we can tell, the pair has no nest.

In March we were hopeful when observers saw the peregrines actively courting.  On April 1 they were still mating when Shannon Thompson confirmed that the female is unbanded and the male has bands.  This is exactly opposite to the pair from last year when the female's bands identified her as Dorothy and E2's daughter from 2011.  (I wonder where she went.)

Since then the situation has gone downhill  I stopped by on April 26 and witnessed some strange interactions.

When I arrived I heard a peregrine wailing and saw one perched on an upper crossbar facing the central shelves (click here to see the shelves).   Soon this peregrine flew up, circled out, and returned. It was carrying prey.

Upon its return I heard wailing and kakking.  A second, unbanded peregrine flew out from a shelf under the water dome.  This one had been in a fight and was missing some primaries and secondaries on its right wing.  It flew to a mid-level crossbar, landed clumsily, and hunched over with its wings drooping on either side of the perch.  It wailed and wailed. Green tree female peregrine, hunched and wailing, 26 Apr 2014 (photo by Kate St. John)

The peregrine carrying prey landed far to the right. This one continued to wail but eventually scuttled over -- still hunched -- to receive her meal. The male flew away.  She continued to hunch and wobble before she began to eat.  She was so clumsy that I was fooled into thinking she could not stand, but I was wrong.

I stayed for 40 minutes, watching her eat and preen.  When she was done, she kakked halfheartedly and flew poorly in the strong wind to a perch on the other side of the water tower.  When I visited yesterday she was alone.

I haven't seen a nest exchange at Green Tree but I have seen some very cranky behavior.  What is it all about?  I don't know.  It's a mystery.


p.s. The first photo shows the male flying in with prey. For a better look, click on that photo to see its full size original.

(photos by Kate St. John)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Mystery At Green Tree”

  1. John Englishon 05 May 2014 at 10:44 am

    I didn’t notice any odd behavior when I was there Saturday. When I pulled off the exit there was a peregrine in the air. By the time I got to the municipal park it was perched on the crossbeam grooming its toes or nibbling on something. Pics were posted to Falconuts Facebook group.

  2. Rob Protzon 05 May 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Is there even a good place for a scrape on the tower? Someplace with enough room for 4 eyases? Maybe a nest box would be a good idea.

  3. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Rob, those shelves are big. The problem at this point may be that they have no substrate since the tower was rehabbed last year. But then again, that might not be the problem at all.

  4. Gail Meisteron 05 May 2014 at 7:31 pm

    That behavior has been going on for some time. My sister and I have gone up to watch for the past month and have watch the behavior you described on several occasions. I took some photos and posted them on my face book page 3 weekends ago.

  5. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Gail, thanks for your news on this behavior at Green Tree. I’m glad to know it isn’t new but as peregrine relationships go it’s pretty unusual to me. Hmmmmm.

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