Archive for June, 2009

The Rochester Falconcam Guestbook

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

We appreciate all of the support we’ve received over the years from our viewers around the globe. If you’re a fan of Archer, Beauty and Mariah, let us know!

Sign our guestbook and add your location to the map of Rochester Falconcam fans. Just click the “Sign this guestbook” button above or click the link on the right side of the page under “Guestbook”.

Quest Comfortable On The Coast

Saturday, June 27th, 2009


View Quest Travels Jun 18-26 in a larger map with a legend (Zoom in or out on the map by clicking the small + & – signs. Move it around by clicking your mouse button and dragging the map in the desired direction. Click the falcon icons for more information about each location.)

Not much to report for Quest this week. She continued to stay close to the coast of Lake Ontario in a five-mile swath from Port Granby to Port Britain. She appears to be comfortable there, with quite a few location readings near what looks like an industrial plant of some kind that includes a tall smokestack which she’s probably using for a perch (thanks to reader Ei for pointing it out to us!).

We heard from our friend Mark Nash at the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, where a Quest sighting was recorded on June 8. Mark writes:

Just received some interesting news from Bill and Elizabeth who spotted a [Peregrine] in Wesleyville yesterday equipped with a satellite transmitter. It must be Quest from Rochester N.Y. I just happen to know something about this wayward Pefa, as I was down in Rochester N.Y. just about this time last year deploying this satellite transmitter on this young peregrine with Mike [Allen] from the New York D.E.C.

No pictures I’m afraid, but it’s good to know that she’s being observed on occasion.

Remember, you can follow Quest’s daily movements at our Quest’s Week map page!

Could Archer & Beauty be Nesting Anew?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

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Beauty (left) & Archer (right) at the Times Square nest box

It’s an interesting question, one we’ve heard a lot since our Main Camera started catching the two falcons in the nest box at the top of the Times Square building. The answer is, well… read on.

The presence of both falcons in the nest box, apparently bowing to each other looks a lot like courtship activity. Our watchers haven’t observed the two of them mating since moving to the Times Square building though, so it’s hard to say what’s going on. Then there’s this time-lapse sequence from the 22nd that seems to show Beauty sitting over the scrape in the nest box and acting very much like she’s got a clutch of eggs to incubate. So what does it all mean?

We talked to DEC biologist Barb Loucks, and she tells us that while renesting is possible, it isn’t very likely. Usually a second clutch only gets laid if the first one failed within about ten days of incubation beginning. Assuming that Beauty did lay eggs at the Midtown Plaza Tower, our best estimate is that she began incubating them on or around April 20. The last report of the two falcons at Midtown was on May 19, and by the 23rd or so they’d moved to the nest box at Times Squre. So it would seem that, if they were brooding eggs on Midtown, they were at it for about a month. Barb told us that if they do lay a second clutch, it’s likely to be smaller than the first. Add the relative youth (and presumed inexperience) of this pair and the absence of witnessed mating to the mix, and it doesn’t look too good for a second nest this year.

At some point it just gets too late in the year for eggs to hatch, eyases to fledge, then gain the flight and hunting skills they’ll need. If a fledgling hasn’t learned to hunt by migration time, their chances of survival become very dim indeed. That’s because the falcon’s prey– other birds– are heading south too, and the Peregrine needs to “follow the food”, as it were. There are other considerations for the urban falcon, like greater availability of prey year-round, but in general terms there’s a good reason that evolution has programmed falcons to hatch their clutches in the spring. Second clutches and late clutches have been observed– there was even a late clutch in New York State this year– but they’re not the norm.

Renesting, of course, assumes that Archer and Beauty had in fact laid eggs on the Midtown Plaza tower. We suspect they did, but we don’t know for sure, so making a definitive statement about Beauty’s odd posture in the box isn’t really possible. Barb and Mike Allen have expressed interest in getting a look at the possible nest site on Midtown later this year, but no firm plans have been made for that. And with the demolition at Midtown scheduled to begin later this summer it may not be possible to view the ledge where the falcons spent so much time before moving to the Times Square nest box.

So what about their other behavior? Barb notes that their courtship may never have actually stopped, or that it might just be starting up again since they’ve found a nesting site. When falcons do lay a second clutch in the wild, it is often at a separate nest site from the first. Maybe all of this is like the late courtship/pair bonding behavior we’ve seen from Mariah and Kaver in past years just prior to Kaver’s migration, but pushed back a few months because Archer and Beauty didn’t have a brood of eyases to raise.

Barb told us that ours isn’t the only unusual find for Peregrines in New York state this year, so maybe there’s something in the air. Besides the late nest, there has also been a successful fostering attempt and some new nest site discoveries. In the meantime, mysteries abound here in Rochester. It’s fun to watch, and we all get to observe something new and learn together! So will Archer and Beauty yet lay eggs in their new-found nest box? Here at the Rochester Falconcam we never say never, and our unofficial motto, Specto Subitus is in full force this year. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Read Mariah’s Story All At Once

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Mariah on June 24 2009
Photo courtesy of Jim Pisello

Every so often we get notes from viewers asking how they can catch up on what happened to Mariah this year. Rather than reading through pages of Imprints posts, we’ve added a new category called Mariah Rehab. Click it on the right side of your screen to display all of the posts about Mariah’s injury and her rehabilitation. \

The eleven posts are in reverse-chronological order so you’ll have to go back a couple of pages (just use the Previous Entries link) to start at the beginning. We hope this will make it a little easier for those viewers who might just be joining us.

Update! Use PayPal to order M&M’s for M&K

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

M&M’s for M&K Heart Logo
A few days ago we told you about our new fundraising campaign. Now you can pay for your custom M&M package through PayPal™! Just click the logo below to go to the Genesee Valley Audubon Society’s PayPal™ page:

Refer to the M&M’s™ for M&K donation form to choose your package, then follow the simple 3-step process below.

  1. Fill out the amount of your donation and your account information on page 1 of the PayPal screen.
  2. On page 2, log on if you already have a PayPal™ account, or fill out the form to open one.
  3. On the third page, scroll to the bottom of the screen. In the Email to recipient section type “MMMK Order” in the subject line. In the Message section type your Donation Level and quantity, along with your mailing address (if different from the one you supplied for your PayPal™ account). Include any other notes up to the 300-character message limit. Here’s an example.

When you’re ready to place your order, click the Send Money button button at the bottom of the screen.

FalconCam Main Camera is Back!

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Archer and Beauty

Great news! The efforts of the Rochester Falconcam technical staff have paid off, and we’re happy to announce that our high-resolution Main Camera’s images are being transmitted from the nest box on the Times Square building! Now that we have the camera running we’ll work on getting its images back onto the Rochester Falconcam site, but for now you can view them over at the Rochester Falconcam Archive Viewer. Just choose the date and time you want to see and select “Main” from the list of cameras, then click the Go button to see the images. You can use the navigation buttons to move forward and backward through the archived images, or click the Now button to see the most recent image.

The Rochester Falconcam’s Multicam page now displays 4 camera views. Camera #1 is mounted inside the nest box at the Times Square building. This is the nest box shown in the picture above. The other 3 images on the Multicam page are from the cameras at the nest box on the nearby Powers Building. Camera 2 is currently aimed at the Times Square building, from about one block away. Cameras 3 & 4 show the interior of the Powers Building nest box.

Now that the Main Camera and Camera 1 are transmitting from the Times Square nest box, keep watching to see if you can spot Archer and Beauty stopping by for a visit or to practice their pair bonding activity!

UPDATE! Main Camera’s images are now available on the Rochester Falconcam site!

Quest Likes Port Hope & Another Mariah Release Picture

Thursday, June 18th, 2009


View Quest Travels June 11-16 in a larger map with a legend
(Zoom in or out on the map by clicking the small + & – signs. Move it around by clicking your mouse button and dragging the map in the desired direction. Click the falcon icons for more information about each location.)

Quest continues to enjoy her stay in Port Hope, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, about 45 miles (80km) east of Toronto, Canada. For the most part she’s been staying near the MacDonald-Cartier Freeway which is also known as the Highway of Heroes. Satellite imagery shows lots of woodland and agricultural fields. No doubt she’s finding plenty of food there, but she’s also been spending time hunting over the lake and at nearby Kendal Park. Remember, you can see where Quest has been over the last seven days at our Quest’s Week page, updated daily!


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The DEC’s Mike Allen sent along another picture of Mariah’s release, taken by a colleague of his at the moment she left her carrier. Mike said she used the lip of the carrier to launch herself skyward. Apparently she did it without a moment’s hesitation– she’s a blur of motion in the picture!

Celebrate Mariah & Kaver with Candy

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

We don’t think anyone would ever suggest eating the Rochester falcons. But that’s just what you can do, thanks to our latest fundraising campaign!

M&Ms™ for M&K includes a gift bag of custom printed M&M candies that feature Rochester’s dynamic Peregrine duo, Mariah and Kaver! Plus, there’s a selection of limited-run prints showcasing the Rochester falcons and their amazing offspring. Five donation levels ensure there’s one to fit every falcon fan’s budget.

Ordering is easy! Just download and print our convenient donation form, fill it out, and return it with your check or money order in US funds to the address shown.

All the proceeds from the M&Ms for M&K program will be used to support the ongoing operations of the Rochester Falconcam program. It’s a unique and delicious way to celebrate the rich legacy bequeathed to us by Mariah and Kaver. Get M&Ms™ for M&K for yourself and send some as gifts to your friends!

A Better Look at Beauty & Archer at Times Square

Monday, June 15th, 2009

We’re making progress but we’re still not ready to connect the Times Square cameras to the site yet. One thing we did manage to do though is to pull the original images of Archer and Beauty at the nest box that we printed in our post from the 12th. Here’s the first of them.
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One thing we can say immediately is that we got the ID wrong in our earlier picture. The photo above clearly shows the black and green leg band, which means this is Beauty, not Archer as we had said. Her breast shows the heavy barring and deep salmon tint to her plumage that our on-scene watchers have also noted.

Here’s the next picture…
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The bowing behavior that typifies courtship and pair bonding between falcons is on display in this picture. You can also see the area surrounding the nest box, including the ramp on the right that can be used by eyases or fledglings to climb back up to the nest box if one were ever to fall out. The door allowing access to the nest box area is also visible on the right. The nest box is about seven feet (2.2m) above the floor of this narrow area, so if we ever do get an opportunity to band eyases here we’re going to need a ladder to get up to the box. It’s not visible in this picture, but this box has been modified so that the right side can be opened to allow easier access to any eyases that may call this artificial scrape home.

Times Square Camera Status & More

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Falconcam team members Kenn Martinez and Jim Pisello spent some time today working on the camera setup at Times Square with mixed results. The good news is that the team is making progress tweaking the settings to allow transmission of images. The bad news is that there’s still more work yet to be done. Jim reports that neither Archer or Beauty showed up while he was there this morning but our watchers continue to see the two of them on the building, and we’ve even received notes from tenants letting us know that the falcons are zooming around

Remember to check out our new Quest’s Week map to follow all her latest moves!

In other news, you can follow the Rochester Falconcam on Twitter @RFCFledgeWatch! Just click the Find People link at the top of the page and type our Twitter name or “Rochester Falconcam”.

Finally, if you haven’t checked out our slideshow, head over to the Rochester Falconcam’s main page. We’re adding new pictures from our on-scene watchers all the time!

-Jess