Two peregrine chicks banded at Gulf Tower

Peregrine falcon chick at Gulf Tower on banding day, 2009 (photo by Kate St. John)If you were watching the Gulf Tower webcam around 9:00am today (Tuesday), you saw Beth Fife of the PA Game Commission fend off the mother peregrine falcon and collect her two chicks in a cardboard box. 

Tasha is such a fearless mom that she rushed at Beth and had to be captured so she wouldn’t hurt herself.

Meanwhile the father, Louie, buzzed past the banders closer than he has ever come before.  He kakked and whooshed and made a special loud shout every time he nearly hit them.  When his entire family disappeared indoors he perched above the nest area and continued to kak, then made a single ee-chup call.  Ee-chup is a sound usually made between mates.  I wondered if he was calling to Tasha.

In the banding room Tasha and her babies were given thorough health checks.  All were found to be in good health and very well fed.  The veterinarian gave Tasha and Louie high marks for being such good parents.

Female peregrines are a third larger than males so the chicks were weighed to determine their sex and the proper bands to apply.  The two Gulf Tower chicks were deemed to be females.  The older chick was just above the male/female weight line and the younger was 80 grams heavier even though she is four days younger.  You can see how big she is from my photo. 

The two remaining unhatched eggs were brought in from the nest box and will be candled to see if a live embryo ever developed in them.  Beth also collected the small amount of garbage at the nest.  Tasha is a better housekeeper than Dorothy so there wasn’t much to examine but we did determine the babies had been fed two kinds of woodpeckers and a lot of pigeons.  One prey feather was a mystery – probably a duck.

After the banding Tasha and her chicks were returned to the nest.  Louie and Tasha calmed down and the babies finally slept.  I’m sure the entire peregrine family is glad that banding is over for another year.

For media reports on the banding, see the Tribune-Review or KDKA

You can watch the peregrines at their nest on the National Aviary’s webcam.

(photo from Kate St. John’s cell phone)

11 thoughts on “Two peregrine chicks banded at Gulf Tower

  1. I *did* and it sure was great to see! Congratulations!

    The little “buggers” had me nervous with their “ledge sitting” yesterday afternoon. So cute!

    The Rochester site reports that “your Beauty”, they suspect, is doing some serious brooding on the ledge of the Midtown Tower Bldg. Because she and Archer chose a site without a camera, it is all a guessing game, but those Rochester Watchers are pretty experienced, with or without a live streaming camera.

  2. Now that they are walking around the nest, I was a little concern about them falling out the side of nest too. Has that ever happened?

  3. How nice to see the birds close up. The one chick has really lost most of her fluff but she was really scaring me today. She walked out onto the ledge & I know you have said they wouldn’t fall off the building it is still scary to see. Can’t wait to find out what Dorothy had now. Hopefully I will be able to see them being taken out of the nest for their banding day.

  4. it looked like the one chick took a short flight in the nest & then decided she was going to try out her wings while standing near the edge of the nest-She is going to make me a nervous wreck-I don’t care what you say Kate she is going to fall out of that nest if she isn’t careful. She does seem to be impatient to start flying. The other one seems content to lay around & watch her sister try to kill herself.

  5. I had to laugh outloud when I read Joann’s post – because it exactly echoes my own sentiments!! ROLOL!! I can no longer watch them longer than for a minute or two and then my palms start sweating and I cringe and wince everytime one of them gets near the edge.

    A pure lesson in trusting in instinct. I wish I could trust my own as much as those birds trust themselves!!

  6. Since I am a novice “watcher”, I, like Joann, find the kids at the Gulf Tower frustrating… but, I trust Kate’s sage advice… as she has been a “watcher” for much longer, and knows the birds habits … so, my advice to Joann… watch the kids at the COL and you won’t be so spooked about the Gulf Tower’s kids ledge walking… can’t wait to see the newbies in flight… will be amazing…. what a journey in such a short time, I feel priveleged to have been able to witness it all!!!! Thanks Kate for your website… I am happy to have stumbled onto it.

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