New Vistas for Mariah and Kaver

Today Kodak issued a press release about a major project to make repairs to the Kodak tower’s stonework facade. The work will begin later this summer and continue for three years. CLICK HERE to read the details from Kodak.

We at the Rochester Falconcam are very excited about this new chapter in the story of Mariah and Kaver. Even though this news means the falcons’s nest box will need to be relocated, we’re confident that they will continue to call Rochester home. With the help of Kodak and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, we’ll be placing several nest boxes in locations frequented by Mariah and Kaver. We’ll draw upon the extensive knowledge of our falcon watchers and others to determine the best spots for the boxes.

The welfare and safety of Mariah, Kaver and their offspring have always been of the highest importance to both Kodak and the Genesee Valley Audubon Society and that will continue to be our top priority. Falcon watchers who’ve trained their binoculars on the tower can attest to the poor state of the stonework on the building. For many years Kodak has restricted repair work on the tower out of concern for the falcons. But after some of the masonry fell off the building last year, Kodak realized they couldn’t wait any longer. The state of the building poses a safety hazard for everyone who works in it and to the falcon family.

Repair work is scheduled to begin in late July, well after the fledglings have left the nest. The work will continue for the next three years. During that time the Kodak tower will be completely encircled in scaffolding. We all know how fiercely Mariah and Kaver defend their nest box. With scaffolding wrapped around the tower and dozens of workers moving around the building’s exterior, there is a real threat of injury to the falcons or the workers if Mariah gets too aggressive. So after extensive consultations with the Genesee Valley Audubon Society and the New York State Department of Envionmental Conservation (DEC) over the past several months, the decision has been made to relocate Mariah and Kaver’s nest box away from the tower. By moving the nest box we hope to avoid any danger or injury that might result from a territorial defense.

What does this mean for the Rochester Falconcam? Our passionate team of falcon watchers will be carefully monitoring Mariah and Kaver to see which of the boxes they choose for their new nesting location. We’ll need your help too! The more eyes we have watching Mariah and Kaver’s movements and activity, the more likely we are to discover which nest box they’re most likely to use. So if you’ve ever thought about coming out to do some falcon watching, this year you have the chance to make an important contribution, not to mention getting to see Rochester’s most prominent citizens in action!

We’ll work with the landlords and building managers to re-install our cameras and the other equipment we need to bring the story of Mariah and Kaver to our viewers around the world. We’re confident that this will begin a new and exciting chapter for the Rochester Peregrines and for the Rochester Falconcam!

We know you’ll probably have many questions. Please use the Comments on this post to ask them. If you email us we’ll receive your note, but others are probably wondering the same thing you are, so the Comments are a good way for us to give answers that everyone can read. We’ll try to answer as many of your questions as we can, and we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of all the news throughout the year.

-Jess

60 Responses to “New Vistas for Mariah and Kaver”

  1. Jess says:

    @Rosamund- I don’t think we can make any predictions about the potential success or failure of next year’s clutch at this point. If they successfully move into a nest box at another location there is every reason to think that a 2009 clutch would be successful, all other things being equal. Remember that while Mariah does fiercely defend her nest territory, she also defends the rest of her territory with just as much enthusiasm. It’s really only the presence of the eyases in the nest box that causes her to really attack the banding teams. When we work on the nest box earlier in the season, as we have the past couple of years, Mariah is defensive, but not nearly as aggressive as at banding time. Our belief, which is shared by the DEC, is that we have a good chance of a successful move by placing additional nest boxes in Mariah’s downtown territory.

    @Birdlover- The transmitter is a piece of state-of-the-art technology. It is about as small as it can be made given the various components contained in it. The solar power array alone requires a much larger size than a memory chip (an item not included in the device). It also houses a radio-frequency transmitter, temperature sensor, timing circuit, and other items that need to be sealed against weather, shock and other environmental hazards. The marvel is that it is not larger!

    Regarding your contention that the scrape relocation is a failure, I just don’t see how you can make that statement, since it hasn’t happened yet. The real failure would be if Mariah or a worker sustained an injury because her nest was too close to the repair work being done, or if a Kodak employee or bystander were to be injured by masonry falling from the building. These are the very real hazards that we’re seeking to prevent. I know that everyone may not agree, but I can assure you that we’ve considered every option, and have chosen the one that maximizes the safety of the falcons, workers and residents of the Kodak tower.

    @Kathy O- As we mentioned in the Imprints article, this is a three year project. Work will proceed year-round from late July through 2010.

    @Mark- The cupola area may be included in the repair work to be done. The roof of the tower is in disrepair in many spots, and the maintenance project contains an option to replace the metal roof and the metal sheathing on the cupola, as well as other work. Even if we could exclude that area, masonry repairs will be taking place at all levels of the tower, in close proximity to the nest box. Mariah would surely view this as an intrusion on her nesting territory and attack the workers if her nest box remains on the tower. And when the young fledge, we know that they land on all levels and all sides of the tower. If the fledglings came down on the scaffolding, Mariah would move to attack any workmen in the area. It is simply too dangerous for Mariah, her offspring, and the dozens of workers to leave the nest box in place.

    @Joan McC- For the reasons I mentioned above, we cannot leave the nest box on any part of the Kodak tower or the Kodak Office complex. The relocated and newly installed nest boxes will most likely be within line of sight of the Kodak tower, and will certainly be in areas that are familiar to the falcons. We believe it is very unlikely that they will choose to leave the area entirely. Mariah and Kaver have shown a remarkable fidelity to this territory. There’s really no reason for them to abandon it, particularly if we provide a number of nest boxes from which they can choose a new nest site.

  2. Norma Van Ingen Cappelli says:

    Where do Mariah and Kaver go after the fledglings have left the next box permanently?

  3. Gail says:

    My gosh, so many are very upset about this. I applaud Jenn for continuing to reassure everyone. I’m sure this decision was made with great care, if not necessarily with Kodak then with the GVAS and Falconcam team. And Kodak has been very supportive of the falcon cam so please don’t assume the worst. Enjoy this season, have faith in the people involved, and believe in Mariah and Kaver.

  4. Alison in Austria says:

    I am also unhappy even tho’ the action is indeed inevitable. My concern is that Mariah does not particularly care if there is a box on the Kodak Tower or not. It is the location of the tall tower itself with a commanding view of the surrounding areas that make it an attractive scrape and merely moving the box and adding others (there are already other boxes around in likely places, but they have all been empty since they were installed) might lead to the falcons making their scrape on the empty niche where the box used to be.
    The falcons are not long on memory. One pair continued to lay eggs on a bridge (was it in Ohio?) where they rolled into the river year after year and no number of nice boxes in the neighborhood enticed them away from what looked like, each year again, prime real estate.
    I would also like to add that Kodak is a company in serious trouble. The webcam and activities around the falcons are a frill while lay-offs and plummeting stock prices (the stock has lost more than half of its value since I bought it 4 years ago in appreciation of the Falconcam) are the first concern of a business. Bad mouthing Kodak will not help the falcons or the volunteers that work with them.

  5. Sandra Dali says:

    I am a fan of the falconcam and look forward to it every year. If you read Imprints you will see the powers to be are doing everything possible to make the transition as smooth as possible for Mariah and Kaver. I am thankful to all the people involved that are willing to spend their time to bring us these pictures. I am also thankful for Kodak’s involvement in the falconcam. Kodak didn’t have to continue their participation.

    I also am a fan of Rochester and the fact that Kodak is willing to invest money to refurbish Kodak Tower is a good sign. We need the investment in Rochester. As Alison said, “Bad mouthing Kodak will not help the falcons or the volunteers that work with them.” I am not an employee of Kodak, but I have seen the changes in the last 20 years. Kodak has done some good and bad things for the city (as have other companies), but thankfully they are willing to make the investment by refurbishing the building.

    Let’s show our support, so that the “landlords/owners” of the new nest box site (wherever that may be) will be willing to have the cameras, people and activity.

    Jess, kudos to you for all your responses and information. This is a great site and you do a fantastic job.

  6. tom says:

    Hello all, Tom at Kodak here. Many of you have seen me in and around the program for some time. I thought I would jump in to share some perspective…
    First, I love and welcome the thoughtful discussion – we are paying attention.
    Second, Jess is doing a great job providing clarifications, thanks!
    This is the 11th year the falcons have called the Kodak Office tower home. We are proud of that fact and marvel at the progeny of Mariah that has helped this species make a comeback in New York State. In past years we have been able to plan building updates around the falcon season. Some of you may remember a multi-million dollar elevator replacement project a few years back. It was all planned around M&K. This effort is much more substantial and we knew we had to get expert advice. We know more about photography than falcons ;-) We are committed to doing what is right for people’s safety, the falcons, and a building that needs some TLC. I am glad there is such concern and that the discussion is so thoughtful!
    I’ll close with pictures instead of words; they say it much better than I can. Here is a post from our blog from May, 2007 that has some of my favorite shots from this program. Be sure to click to enlarge to see better views and view the commentary on each – enjoy!
    http://tomhoehn.1000words.kodak.com/default.asp?item=576852

  7. Janet says:

    For everyone involved in the bldg project and the relocation of Mariah and Kaver. Thank you for the concern and care that you are giving to the falcons, the bldg, and everyone in and near the Kodak Tower.

    As for Mariah and Kaver, both have proven to be very protective of their home territory and recognize the “amenities” associated with the Tower. I can’t believe that they would simply leave their territory and all of the “perks” that come with it. Provide a nest box with some type of ledge and “playpen” area and those two will settle in and claim that box for their own.

    There are many pieces to this project, but I’m confident that M&K will be not too far away next season – these are smart birds – they aren’t going to give up their territory without a fight. Janet

  8. elaine says:

    I really appreciate the fact that kodak is waiting until late July, after the eyases fledge, to begin the project. Kodak has the opportuntiy to be a front-runner in a new kind of thinking about urban/industrial projects. I’m glad Kodak seems to be taking the falcons into account, and I hope it works!

  9. Kathleen Rogers says:

    I’ve been hesitating to ask this, but here goes. Won’t placing multiple nest boxes in the area for Mariah and Kaver to choose from just be inviting other falcons into their territory?

    Is there any consideration being given to using the old nest box with its familiar feel and smells, or is it in bad repair?

  10. Jess says:

    @Kathleen- It’s possible that multiple nest boxes would invite intruders, but a few years ago Kodak put up several nest boxes on some of their other buildings. One was only a couple of city blocks from Mariah and Kaver’s nest box on the Kodak tower. None of these were ever occupied.

    Our plan is to re-locate the existing nest box, and install it on another building, in addition to placing more nest boxes around the area. Smell doesn’t really come into the equation since Peregrines have a relatively dull olfactory sense. We don’t really know if there’s anything special about this nest box that might cause them to choose it over another, all things considered, but we fully intend to make use of it at a new location.