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Eyes to the Skies

Morning watch 5-11-13

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

I was quite surprised when I checked the temperature before leaving for my watch this morning-61 (F) 16 (C). A cold front was close and it came thru during my watch making the temperature drop 10 degrees while I was out. It was very dark and overcast too.

I arrived on the Broad St. Bridge (BSB) just past 5:30am and could see no falcons in the area. I tweeted out that Dot.Ca hadn’t shown up yet at 5:45am and a few minutes later Donna let me know that he had been on the eggs since 5:28am. I missed the switch by a few minutes. So where was Beauty then-I went in search of and upon returning to the BSB I spotted the Beautyful one on the top ibeam southeast side of OCSR. I drove down to Graves St. across Main St. from OCSR and next to Aqueduct Park to watch.

img_7603-beauty img_7613-beauty Remember to click on my pics to see the full version

Beauty kept gaping, a behavior where the head is thrown back and the bird appears to be swallowing air. Although in still shots it can look to less experienced watchers as if he’s calling, there are no sounds made during gaping and it’s actually a very different “look” than when they are vocalizing. Researchers are not sure why gaping takes place, but there are a couple theories: one is that gaping is a peregrine’s way of dislodging feathers that may get caught in the throat following preening. The other theory is that gaping equalizes the air pressure in their ears after a change in altitude or “sudden changes in barometric pressure, as when a cold front moves in” (described by Steve Sherrod in “Behavior of Fledgling Peregrines”). So I believe she was gaping because of the cold front that started coming thru around this time. She stayed up there about 15 minutes and then flew east over the river and out of my field of vision around 6:30am.


I went looking for Beauty but didn’t find her so I drove over to the Brighton Site (BS). I had no luck finding Pigott for the 2nd day in a row. Soon after I got there, camera watcher Campgee tweeted that DC left the eggs and returned kakking and shortly after Annette tweeted the same, so I headed for downtown to see what was going on. Thank you for the heads up ladies! Upon arriving on the BSB I scanned the buildings and airspace finding nothing to be alarmed about and spotted Beauty back on the top ibeam of OCSR.


Once again I drove down to Graves St. to be closer to Beauty.

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At about 7:50am Beauty flew to the nest box and DC flew out taking a little flight around the area before landing on the 2nd ibeam southeast side of OCSR.

img_7638-beauty-off-again <Beauty  DC> img_7640-dc

After a couple minutes DC flew to the northeast wing  taking off after a few seconds and going over to the southeast wing ledge before disappearing off the back side of it where I couldn’t see.

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I drove over to look for him but he was gone. I then saw him a minute later on the top ibeam southeast side of OCSR at 8am. DC flew off 5 minutes later when I wasn’t looking. Traffic was picking up on the BSB as people were starting to arrive for college graduation ceremonies at the Blue Cross Arena starting at 9:30am. The bridge parking would fill up quickly so I opted for going back to BS. I tried driving in from the back access road as it gives me a good view of the site but it was blocked off so I turned around and went to the main driveway into the place. 2 gentlemen stopped me and said they were parking Lilac Festival parade participants only. I asked to get thru to check for the falcons that dwell there and they let me go for a few minutes. I found DC  on the east end of the south side vent plucking feathers in a frenzied state.

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5 minutes later he stopped and started scoping out the territory to the east and south. DC continued to watch in those directions and then he flew off circling the building twice before vanishing to the north out of view leaving his prey behind.

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Again there was no sign of Pigott and DC certainly didn’t act as tho she was there.  I made a trip around the complex before leaving  at 8:50am but didn’t see or hear her. The local roads were being closed and I didn’t want to get closed in until the parade was over so back downtown I went. Carol tweeted that DC was on the eggs and Beauty was out. Traffic was heavy and the BSB parking was all full up when I returned. I stopped real quick and took a look around finding Beauty on the top ibeam southeast side of OCSR. I chose to end my watch at 9:05am and get away from the busy streets of downtown. I wish I had seen Miss Pigott-perhaps she has gone on  a mini vacation-Peregrines are wanderers after all. Keep smiling everyone for we are getting closer and closer to hatch time at 45 Exchange Blvd.-the penthouse nest box! :)

If you wish to view videos from my watch all you need do is click the links below


5 Responses to “Morning watch 5-11-13”

  1. margaret Says:

    When is the last time Ms. Pigott was seen?

  2. Ginny Says:

    I’m a little concerned about Miss Pigott too.
    And I learned something new re: the gaping! I had never known that!
    Thank you :-)

  3. MAK Says:

    Miss Pigott was seen Saturday night so it’s all good. I just learned about the gaping term myself. I’d seen them do it plenty of times but thought they were adjusting their crop. Ya learn something new every day! :)

  4. bc Says:

    I wonder if the reason she is not being seen is because she is in the cubby on eggs?

  5. MAK Says:

    I don’t think so bc, because yesterday when DC came with food over there he left it behind after preparing it-usually she is present when there’s food around. And today he flew in and seemed to be looking for her and then flew off without going near the cubby either day so I don’t think she was there based on DCs behavior. We can only watch and learn! :)

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