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Archive for April, 2009

Beauty’s ‘Baby’ Pictures & Nest Box Intelligence

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Photos courtesy of Kate St. John & Karen Lang at the Univ. of Pittsburgh

Kate St. John and Karen Lang served as Peregrine watchers at the University of Pittsburgh in 2007, the year that 81/V, aka Beauty, hatched and fledged. They had a webcam installed at the Cathedral of Learning (what a great name!), and they sent us some pictures of Beauty and her siblings along with their parents, Dorothy and Erie. We’ve compiled them into the slideshow you’re seeing above. It’s not possible to tell from the pictures which of the eyases is Beauty, but we thought you’d enjoy this look into her early life.

Over in Rochester, she and Archer are continuing the daily routine of a mated pair of Peregrines. Watchers report occasional coming and going from the ledge on the Midtown Plaza Tower at a particular location near the southeast corner where we believe a scrape may be located. There is not a lot of activity from the pair, though another mating episode was witnessed around 8:00PM a couple of days ago. This diminution of activity might indicate that egg laying has concluded and that brooding has begun, but it’s impossible to say for sure.

We say might, becuase we don’t have a way to directly observe the suspected scrape. We’re working on that though. We’ve presented a plan to the DEC for installing a camera above the nest location. We believe we can do this with little or no disturbance to the falcons, a primary consideration if indeed the falcons are sitting on eggs. This is all very preliminary though. In addition to the issues above we’d be working in a building that’s largely decommissioned. Cameras don’t work without power and network or internet connectivity, and we have to determine if those resources exist at the Midtown location, and whether we could use them if they do. We’ll post updates when we receive useful information to pass along.

In the meantime we’ll have to depend on our volunteer watchers for information about what’s happening at Midtown. As we receive reports from our watchers we’ll post them over at our FalconWatch Blog, so be sure to check over there from time to time!

Help Us With The New Female’s Name

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

New Female at Midtown Plaza Tower
Photo courtesy of Jim Pisello

Since we learned the new female falcon’s identity, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether we ought to keep the “unofficial” name her Pittsburgh watchers gave her (“Beauty”), pick an entirely new one, or do some combination of the two. We can’t say it hasn’t been fun reading all the opinions going back and forth, but we thought we’d better try to settle the issue once and for all.

Rather than leaving it to a small number of people to make a decision, we thought it would be best to let the entire community participate. That way everyone who’s interested can have their voice heard.

So you’re invited to take our Rochester Falcon Naming Poll! Let us know if you think we should keep her name as is, come up with a brand new one, or combine her existing name with something else. Those who think we ought to choose a new name or a combined name will have an opportunity to suggest one.

Everyone is invited to take part in the survey, but each person may only answer the survey once. We’ll keep it running through the end of this month. After the survey closes we’ll tally the results. If “Beauty” wins, then that’s the end of it. If giving her a new name comes out on top we’ll hold another poll to pick from the suggested names.

Good luck and happy polling!


Quest Gets Into a Clear Pattern

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

View Quest Travels April 15 – 23 in a larger map
(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.)

There was a five-day gap in the data from Quest’s transmitter, but it hasn’t been a problem. In fact, Quest is making it pretty easy for us to follow her daily routine. She’s found a good spot to spend her nights, the Stage Harbor Light House. It’s the highest structure around, so it’s likely she’s roosting on the light tower or possibly the peak of the roof. Here’s a picture of the map zoomed in on the light house. As you’ll see, her night-time locations are all within a couple hundred feet of the structure:
Quest at Stage Harbor Light House

And what’s she doing with her days? Hunting off Monomoy Island, of course. In particular she appears to really enjoy the tidal flats just east of Stage Harbor on the northern end of Monomoy near the mainland (click the Sat button on the map to see the tidal flats). She’s so consistent in these locations that we think it’s only a matter of time before one of the local birders on the Cape gets a good look at her. They ought to have really good luck catching her at the lighthouse near dusk or dawn.

The Latest On Mariah’s Condition

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Mike Allen has sent us another update from the vets in Syracuse who are taking care of Mariah…

Mariah is improving every day. The Dr. came here yesterday and reapplied the skin glue to both her neck wound and wing wound. We measured the neck wound and it had decreased in size to 1/2″ X 1/2″. We actually measured it with a ruler. It is very scabbed over and nice new granulation tissue is growing around it. At some point we will remove the torn flap of skin on her patagium, but wanted that to heal better first.

She will continue to have small cage rest for a couple of weeks and then we will move her to an outside mew. I bought a soft, shock absorbing yoga mat and tacked it onto a 10″ wide piece of plywood and covered it with new Astroturf. We are screwing it to the top of a large perch so that she has a flat surface to stand on, since peregrines are cliff dwelling birds.

She loves the fresh quail we got her this week and she readily takes all her Baytril twice daily. She is a wonderful little patient. The doctor also looked at her eyes yesterday and found no visual impairment. We have not x-rayed her since she is showing no signs of any fractures anywhere. Legs, wings, feet etc. are working well. She cast a pellet yesterday that was as long as a lemon. We will keep you posted.

Rochester’s New Female Identified

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Photo Courtesy of Joyce Miller

Sunday brought together all the right factors– bright clear weather, plenty of photographers and observers, and not least a cooperative falcon– to allow us to positively identify the female Peregrine who has taken Mariah’s place in downtown Rochester. Falcon watcher Joyce Miller, who also got the definitive shot of Archer’s ID band, managed to snap this image of the female showing off her black and green bracelet. For those who can’t quite make out the ID, it’s 81/Y.

Yesterday evening we sent the photo and band ID off to some of our contacts including Barb Loucks and Mike Allen at the DEC. Today we heard back from them as well as Juanita Woods and Art McMorris from the State of Pennsylvania, and from them we’ve received the following history:

81/Y was was hatched and fledged in 2007 from the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. Her parents are Erie *T/W (1998 Rhodes State Office Tower, Columbus, Ohio) and Dorothy 5/*A (1999 Firstar Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Erie’s parents were an unbanded male named Bandit and his 1st mate Aurora red 4R0 from Canada. Dorothy’s parents were Bill 74T (hacked in 1991 from Madison Wisconsin) and Sibella 20V (hacked in 1988 from Isle Royale, Keweenaw County, Michigan).

She received her ID bands on May 31, 2007. Her USFWS band has ID#1687-00506, and was initially covered with blue tape that has since fallen away. Pennsylvania doesn’t name the falcons they band, but her local watchers, Kate St. John (the “Peregrine Lady” of Pittsburgh) and Karen Lang, informally called her Beauty (both the name and the color of her tape began with the letter “B”). Kate writes a blog where she’ll be sharing the news about their former fledgling.

So welcome to “Beauty“, 81/Y! Everyone at the Rochester Falconcam is thankful to Juanita, Art, Kate, Barb and Mike for their help in tracking down the story of our newest Peregrine. We also want to extend our gratitude to Lou Capuano and Jim Pisello who photographed her and contributed to the ID effort, and the many watchers who have been looking out for this new pair of Peregrines.

We’re considering what to do about the fact that she doesn’t have an official name. For now we’ll continue to call her Beauty, but you know that Rochester has a long history of providing unique names for our falcons, so who knows what the future holds…?

Mariah’s Vets “Delighted At Her Progress”

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Mike Allen just sent us a news update on Mariah’s condition that he received from her veterinary team on Saturday. The news continues to be good.

Just a note to let you know that the veterinarian was just here to examine Mariah. We are delighted at her progress. We can’t believe how well the wound is healing. It looks so much better than last Tuesday. We now believe that it will heal on its own without stitches.

We removed the bandage and she is now having the neck area covered with an antibiotic/antiseptic wound glue called Facilitator. She checked the puncture wounds on her feet and the tear on her wing webbing. They are healing nicely. She is an excellent patient. I have a hood that fits her well and she is very cooperative in handling her. The doctor took her off the torb (seditive) today, but we will continue with her antibiotics.

The veterinarian will be back to check her around noon on Tue, as he felt it was less stressful on Mariah if I did not transport her into the clinic, so he is willing to come here to treat her. She is in a quiet and calm setting here and we didn’t want to cause any [undue] stress.

I can’t begin to tell you how well she is eating. I have been cutting her food up for her into little [bite] sized pieces, but I think she is ready to eat a whole quail on her own. I will open it up for her, so she can pick it apart by herself. Not only will this be more natural for her, but it will keep her occupied. Tomorrow (Sunday), I am going… to get her some more fresh quail from a friend who raises them and is willing to give us some. I will send you another report after the doctor is here on Tuesday.

We too are delighted to hear that Mariah is making such rapid progress! Our heartfelt thanks go to the team of caring professionals who are taking care of Mariah and to Mike, Barb and everyone at the DEC for keeping us informed.

Ogdensburg, NY Welcomes a Rochester Falcon

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Sabrina in Rochester, July 2006
Photo courtesy of Jim Pisello
It seems that every time we turn around we get more news about one of Mariah’s offspring. The latest comes to us courtesy of Barbara Loucks at the DEC. She emailed us recently with the following report.

I just got a report this morning that one of the falcons at the [Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge in Ogdensburg, NY] had its band read by our long time peregrine/eagle observer Mary Beth Warburton as black over red, M over sideways T, which I looked up while still on the phone with her. It was banded on June 1, 2006 at the Kodak site in Rochester. Mary Beth originally thought this bird might be a male based on size, and when I checked my notes this was the runty bird of the three females banded that year – but we had to band it as a female based on leg size.

This points out yet another peril of [naming wild birds] – as “Sabrina” may turn out to be something else! Time will tell as to whether this bird is indeed a female or a large male. There is no proof of nesting yet and this bird is new this year to the site.

Mary Beth will keep us informed as things progress. She thinks this is the bird that was dive bombing an immature female earlier in the week at the bridge; moments later the two birds were joined on the Canadian side by a third and pigeons were scattering everywhere.

Yet more great news! It sounds like Sabrina might need to be renamed, if it turns out the other bird keeping company with “her” is a female. Luckily, Dan Stiehler, the long-time Rochester falcon watcher who named Sabrina in 2006, also submitted a male name, Valiant. So, if it does turn out that Sabrina is a he rather than a she, we have a fitting name for him. Hopefully Mary Beth will be able to observe Sabrina and the other falcon mating. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear any more news from New York’s northern border!


All the recent revelations and sightings of Mariah and Kaver’s offspring might be leaving everyone a little confused. Our friend Tom Hoehn (Cornpoppy) from Kodak decided to help us make sense of everything by updating the Rochester Falcons Family Tree. Take a look and see how much clearer it all becomes when it’s mapped out…


Quest Update – Monomoy and Chatham

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

View Quest Travels Apr 1- 10 in a larger map
(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.)

We’re happy to announce that our access to Quest’s transmitter data has been restored. In our absence she hasn’t missed a beat.

Her night time locations are in Chatham, with a couple of data points placing her near a structure that might be a lighthouse at the Stage Harbor inlet. On the 7th it looks like she spent the night in the 200 block of Cedar Street near Stetson Cove.

Her daytime haunts appear to be the tidal flats just off the Cape south of Stage Harbor, and along the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Temperature sensor data, when we receive it, shows that she’s staying warm, doubtless a reflection of the good weather overall in April.

Who Is The New Tiercel?

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Photo Courtesy of Joyce Miller

UPDATED! Read below
Well, we don’t know if he has a name, but thanks to watcher Joyce Miller we’ve got a positive read on his ID band. Joyce took this picture (click the image above to view the full version) on the 12th of April when the tiercel perched on the fire escape of a nearby building.

Yesterday, Jim Pisello shot this image of the tiercel taking off from the Midtown Plaza Tower:

The band isn’t quite as clear, but it’s still a good look.

Black bands are often used in Canada (though they are also used in the US on occasion), so we’ve sent a request our Canadian contacts to see if we can learn his Identity.

Sharp-eyed viewers will note that this tiercel’s band ID, 25 over V, is close to the ID band worn by Tybropa-Cree, the tiercel who was in Rochester earlier this year and unfortunately was killed in an automobile collision. Tybropa-Cree was hatched in 2007 and fledged in Scarborough Ontario. Since 25/V comes after 15/V, it might be reasonable to assume that this tiercel was banded sometime after Tybropa-Cree. His adult plumage means that he’s at least 2 years old, so a hatching date of 2007 fits with our observations. In any event, it’s only a matter of time before we learn more about Rochester’s newest tiercel. As soon as we find out more we’ll let you know.

In a turn both strange and wonderful we’ve received more information about our new tiercel. It comes from Doug Garbutt, one of our friends in Port Colborne, who have been the caretakers of Freedom and his mate since 2005. Doug wrote to Rochester Falconcam member Carol P with this news:

Hi Carol

Looks like you have Freedom’s son “Archer” in Rochester. The MNR [Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources] banded solid black 25 over V June 10 2006 here in Port Colborne. Gotta run I’ll give more info soon as I can.


Welcome Archer!

Everyone here at the Rochester Falconcam is thrilled beyond words. Of course you’ll all remember that Freedom is Mariah and Kaver’s son from 2002, the first year that Mariah and Kaver were paired. Imagine, after all the turmoil we’ve had this year, that it is Mariah and Kaver’s own grandson who has taken residence! So even though Kaver is gone and Mariah’s return uncertain, we can take comfort in knowing that their successor carries on their legacy!

Next to having Mariah and Kaver back, It’s hard to imagine much better news than this. Many thanks to Doug, Joyce, Jim, Carol and all the other watchers who’ve been out trying to ID our Archer!

-Jess (who’s still doing a happy dance over the news)

Mariah’s Condition Improving, Surgery Planned

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

We’re happy to report the latest news on Mariah, courtesy of DEC Wildlife Technician Mike Allen:

Received another update this morning, Mariah is being a model patient, standing and eating on her own – the veterinarian is planning to do surgery on the throat wound but not until next week. They wanted to make sure she was stable first and at this point there is no rush. That’s all for now but I thought you would like to know she’s doing well.


Well, that’s excellent news! I don’t think we could hope for any better at this point.


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