Beauty and Unity Throwdown at Kodak Tower?

Our friends at Kodak sent over a couple of pictures taken yesterday afternoon near 1PM local time, on the 18th floor balcony of the Kodak Tower. The pictures show two adult Peregines, both about the same size, having a pretty intense-looking fight:
Pefa fight 17 May 2011 12:59 PM #1     Pefa fight 17 May 2011 12:59 PM #2

If you look closely at these images (click them to view larger versions) you’ll see that one of the falcons sports a purple leg band, while the other has a black and green band. We know that Unity’s USFWS band is purple, and Beauty’s state ID band is black/green. At the time of the fight, Beauty was not on the nest at Times Square. She had left about 20 minutes beforehand. We didn’t have any watchers at Kodak Park at the time to see whether Unity was there, but the chances that we have 2 adult Peregrines from the midwest US (where they use purple USFWS bands) at this time of year is unlikely.

According to the photographer, both birds flew off to the north soon after the photos were taken. Beauty returned to the Times Square nest box later in the afternoon, looking pretty normal for her, and Falconcam team member Carol P reports that Unity was at her KP nest when Carol dropped by around 3:45PM yesterday.

So, what’s going on here? Peregrines’ natural territoriality and aggressiveness is on overdrive during nesting season. We’re hopeful this was nothing more than a territorial spat, rather than a sign of things to come. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation going forward, but with any luck this was a one-time dust-up that helped both of our resident females to reinforce their respective territorial boundaries.

17 Responses to “Beauty and Unity Throwdown at Kodak Tower?”

  1. Carol P. says:

    Aunt and Niece duking it out. The Watchers will be on high alert!

  2. Paul says:

    Yow! Glad everyone is OK.
    If it was Beauty and Unity, then a departure to the north would mean that Beauty prevailed and the boundary was reinforced.

    Paul

  3. susan c says:

    A pretty intense looking fight indeed – and absolutely incredible pictures! I do hope that they stay away from each other, I’d hate to see either of them get hurt.

  4. margaret says:

    Intense pictures. I hope that is the end of it and the boundary line was drawn. Isn’t it funny how the falcons always end up at Kodak? Kodak Park, Kodak Tower, and now a Kodak moment I wish we didn’t have to see.
    Hope they are both safe with their eggs.

  5. Alison says:

    The Kodak Tower remains the prime territory for miles around, even if both Beauty and Unity are settling for “second best” elsewhere in the city.

  6. Xanthe says:

    Are they fighting over Archer? Is he slacking on his responsibilities?

  7. margaret says:

    But who determines a nest site? The male or the female?

  8. Maureen in MA says:

    Intense pictures indeed! Wowee!! I’m very glad to hear that both seemed to have faired well and got back to egg tending duty.

  9. Jess says:

    @margaret – In the wild, generally the male will scout out a few nest sites and the female will make the final choice. We’re not sure if it works the same way in urban settings, but it seems logical.

    @Alison – Without doubt, the Kodak tower was a singular location, probably the best one in the city when you take all factors into consideration. Beauty is regularly spotted perching on the tower and there’s little doubt that she considers it to be part of her territory. I’m not sure that a Peregrine sitting on the Kodak tower would be able to see another falcon at the Kodak Park site (I just don’t think their visual acuity is quite that good), but the respective buildings are easily viewed, especially from the upper floors of the tower or from the smokestacks at KP. And a falcon in the air between the two would probably be spotted by a bird perched at either location.

    So it’s not much of a stretch to think that Beauty may have seen Unity flying southward and decided to engage her, or alternatively that Unity might have spotted Beauty on the Kodak tower and decided to do a little “reconnaissance in force” to see if the tower was worth fighting over.

  10. Braveheart2665 says:

    WOW ! Beauty doesn’t like the smell of the other woman on Archer – I was afraid of that . Well certainly glad they are both ok & hope things stay calm between them for the rest of the season. I hope Archer learns his lesson after this year about having just 1 lady at a time. He’s gonna wear himself out feeding both sets of eyas’s. That little devil ! But he is so cute one can’t help but fall in love.

  11. Lu Ann says:

    Do we know if Unity has eggs?
    I think that must be a pretty strong blood line if they are both okay. I hope they are.
    See what happens when someone is two timing???

  12. Guru says:

    Should we call Archer Arnold now?

  13. Lu Ann says:

    Seems to me Unity wouldn’t have left her eggs if she had any unless Archer was there to incubate. We know he was on the nest at Times Square at the time of the fight so he wasn’t at KP. I don’t think they have any eggs. Any other opinions?

  14. Elinor says:

    Oh dear! It looks like Archer’s two ladies have finally met…and they didn’t get along too well. How soapy!

  15. margaret says:

    LuAnn, the watchers who have been up to KP believe there is one, possibly two eggs, and I think someone posted that a worker in the park saw two eggs in the scrape. In the beginning, before the entire clutch is laid, the parents don’t incubate continuously as they do when “hard incubation” starts.
    So, IMHO, it’s possible there could be one or two eggs in the scrape, and Unity left for a while. Since she only has a part time mate, she may leave more often. Only the pefas know!

  16. Lu Ann says:

    Wow I guess we know for certain now that the group got into the park to check it out. That is awesome. Thanks Margaret : )

  17. margaret says:

    Yes, those pictures that the team posted are unbelievable! Did you see those eggs in all those pigeon droppings? Yikes. Interestingly, Jess posted an answer to my question and said that the chute is not such a bad site but the eggs may be sinking down into the droppings and cannot be turned.