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The Journal of Rfalconcam

Banding Day 2007 Wrap-up

Banding Table

Many thanks to everyone who entered the Rochester Falconcam’s Eyas naming contest. We received over 300 entries from as far away as Australia! There were so many great names it was difficult even to whittle down the list, to say nothing of actually choosing the final names. This year with four female eyases, our male name finalists were unfortunately out of the running by default, but it’s just another of life’s little surprises.

Banding began around 10:00 AM, a little later than the team had planned. We were just getting ready to get the eyases from the nest box when Mariah arrived with food. Anyway, we had to wait for her to finish feeding the eyases their third breakfast of the morning(!), and we were obliged to operate on falcon time instead of our own schedule.

Mariah buzzing the banding team

Mariah is well known as an aggressive falcon, especially in defense of her territory and her eyases. This year was no different. She launched attack after attack at the wildlife technicians from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation as they removed the eyases. In the picture at the left you can see how we used lawn rakes to protect the backs of the workers. The rakes were held like shields. Mariah dove at them and peeled away at the last moment. In this way we kept the workers safe, and also minimized the chance that Mariah might get injured in a collision with a member of the banding team.

Eyas receiving ID bands     Banding an eyas

The best way to ensure her safety was to retrieve the eyases as quickly as possible, and that’s just what we did. Inside, Barbara Loucks and Mike Allen of the New York DEC took each eyas in turn and applied aluminum identification bands to each of the birds’ legs. These ID bands will help scientists and others to identify the falcons after they leave the area later this summer. Each eyas also received a quick health check. You’ll be happy to know that all were found to be in good condition and, not surprisingly, well fed too!

As each eyas received its band, its name was announced to a group of school children and others watching the banding through a live video feed in Kodak’s lobby. If you missed the names, you can find them at our Banding Day page. We even took a couple of the newly banded eyases down to the lobby so the children could see the young falcons up close. The Rochester Falconcam is dedicated to educating the community about the Peregrine falcon. Our outreach efforts with local schools help to involve upcoming generations in protecting our natural environment. Journalists from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle were on hand too. Read their story and watch a video of the banding.

Mariah turns to attack     Kaver flyby

After all the eyases had been banded and named it was time to return them to the nest box. Once again the team ventured out to face the wrath of Mariah and Kaver. As before, once the eyases were safely returned to the nest box, we human invaders retreated. Mariah landed in the nest box almost immediately to check on her eyases. Before long, they were being fed again.
Mariah checks on the eyases after banding

2007 marks the tenth year that the falcon chicks in Rochester have been banded. We’re grateful to everyone at Kodak and the NYS DEC for their support, and to our many fans around the world for tuning in to watch all of the excitement! The next few weeks will see the eyases continuing to grow. Their white downy feathers are already being replaced by dark brown and tan juvenile plumage. Before we know it, they’ll begin exploring the area outside of the nest box, and by the third week of June they should begin to take their first flights. I’ll talk more about fledging, and what you can do to help ensure the safety of these eyases in an upcoming article.

25 Responses to “Banding Day 2007 Wrap-up”

  1. Pirkko Says:

    I missed the actual banding today, but I have read all the reports with a keen interest! Wonderful names for each and every one of the chicks! But four girls! How often does that happen?! Mama Mariah is of course very pleased: the more girls in the world, the better, but Papa Kaver is probably scratching his head, “What the h–k?”

  2. Misty4 Says:

    When I saw them banding the Syracuse falcons on the 6 o’clock news, I had to check here – I was sure today would be the day in Rochester too! Syracuse has three eyases to your four. one male and two females. I have followed your falcons for six years and love that you share them with the world.

  3. Retread Says:

    This is the third year I’ve followed the Kodak falcons and Banding Day, thanks to Kodak and NYS DEC. Watching day by day, from courting through fledging, is quite absorbing, nevermind educational. You’ve got the nature shows that fill up the TV channels beat by a mile.

  4. Kate Says:

    I also missed the banding as work required me elsewhere. I wish to thank you for all the information posted on imprints as I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned during this whole process. I’m excited now as the little ones become more aware and capable to move about. Thank you again for this wonderful experience.

  5. Barbie Says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful website and for all of the work that you do to protect these magnificent animals and educate everyone about them. It’s been so thrilling to watch these beautiful birds hatch and grow! This is my first year watching this experience, and now I am hooked and cannot wait to see the little ones take their first flight! Thanks again!

  6. AJ Says:

    Darn, missed the actual banding. Finally some names I can pronounce. Thanks to all the namers.

    Question. How do you know that M & K are the same ones as the previous year since they arn’t banded?

  7. Sandy Says:

    Although I was at work we were able to see some of the banding. It was great. We had two computers taking pictures of the event. It was fun providing our own captions to some of the pictures. Momma was sure mad when they got back. I can just hear her yelling “Where did you girls go to”. And the little ones crying the ailens came and took us.
    It was great fun. Thanks.

  8. Esther L Says:

    Sorry to say We missed the big day My Dad and I enjoy keeping an eye on the baby’s and also on some of the other webs with new born birds . Thanks to all the web cam peaple for making use bird watchers that are not as moble as we use to be able to keep up with our hobbys .

  9. ENB Says:

    Had the same question as AJ re: M&K non-banding
    Other questions:
    When eyases are mature enough to survive on their own, are they forced out of the territory by the parents, or do they just gradually drift away?
    Is there continued recognition of parent to offspring and sibling to sibling?
    When/how do they select and establish their own terriotry?
    When they mature to breeding age, will they attempt to return to their birth box to nest?
    Based on 8 years of banding, is there data showing survival rates and territory range of offspring?
    When not nesting, where do M&K reside?

  10. chris Says:

    Four little girls. What good news!

    ENB, Mariah seems to take care of her offspring till they drift away. She even seems pretty tolerant of the immature falcon (unidentified) spotted in the area during nesting season.

    As far as knowing they are actually Mariah and Kaver, there are details about their appearance which are quite unmistakable to the close group of observers who’ve been following them for so long.

    Two of their fledges have been fitted with satellite transmitters in the past but neither survived to maturity. Those two stayed pretty close to Rochester as I recall. Information about one or both may still be found on the Migration Research Foundation web page.

    One of M&Ks fledges, Freedom, took a mate and territory not too far away in Canada two years ago. That’s the only confirmed survivor as far as I know, although there are likely others. Hope that helps.

  11. AJ Says:

    Great questions ENB, I hope we get some answers.

  12. ENB Says:

    One further question. Are the bands such that they expand when the legs of eyas thicken or are the bands made anticipating final leg thickness?

  13. marwee Says:

    thanks you for having the banding details repeated on this website. You give us great understanding and we commend you for courage in facing Mariah – she was not a happy camper.

    Bless you as you continue your work with endangered species

    thanks, marwee

  14. Jess Says:

    @ENB – Wow, lots of questions! Let’s see if I can answer them (in order)
    For the most part, the juveniles will leave of their own accord. Peregrines are “programmed at the factory” to wander, though they may not go very far. If they do decide to stay around, for example, because they want to continue begging food from their parents, Mariah and Kaver are likely to drive them out of the immediate territory (the downtown Rochester area). However, the relatively high density of food in the city means that they may not go too far. Hafoc, one of Mariah and Kaver’s offspring from 2004, rarely ventured more than 50 miles from the nest box, and he spent much of the winter of 2004-2005 in Rochester. Unfortunately he was killed (probably struck by a car) early in 2005 so it’s unknown whether he would have returned to the territory. Sabrina, one of the 2006 brood, was observed at the Kodak tower from mid November 2006 until late February of 2007. Mariah and Kaver were not seen during this time, and when they returned this year, Sabrina appeared to leave the area.

    It is unclear whether parents continue to recognize their offspring after fledging, but it’s unlikely that they would. Most research indicates that offspring returning to their nesting territory are treated like any other intruders by the resident nesting parents, and driven off.

    Juvenile Peregrines may establish their own territories as soon as their first year, but they usually reach reproductive maturity in their second year, so it may take a couple of years before a Peregrine establishes its own territory. A juvenile may attempt to challenge its parents for control of its hatching territory, but again it would be treated as any other challenger, and a fight would ensue. This has never occurred at the Rochester nest as far as we know.

    We know the fate of only a few of Mariah’s offspring. Ranger, a female from the 2001 brood and Freedom, a male from 2002 have both established nesting territories in Ontario, Canada. Ranger is in Toronto, and Freedom is in Port Colborne. We know that several of her offspring are deceased– an unfortunate fact of Peregrine life is that first year survival rates are quite low– by some estimates only 25 – 50% of Peregrines survive past their first year. We’ll have more information about Mariah’s offspring in the comprehensive family history that we’re compiling.

    When not nesting, Mariah and Kaver spend most of their time perched on various buildings in downtown Rochester. They may also migrate, at least for some part of the winter. This year, there were no confirmed sightings of Mariah or Kaver for about 3 months (Mid November – February), and up to 4 non-resident Peregrines were spotted in Rochester during the same time period, so it is likely that they both migrated this year. Whether they do so each year is unclear– we’ve only recently begun watching for them year-round, so we need to collect more data to get a better picture of Mariah and Kaver’s “off-season” activity.

    The ID bands have some room for growth, but in actuality the eyases’ legs are pretty much done growing by the time they’re banded.

  15. ENB Says:

    Thanks to Jess and to Chris for your responses and the great detail you provide. A final question regarding mortality. Is it known if death is naturally (non-human) occurring that is, food scarcity, predators, environment-climate, or human-related such as cars, pesticides, hunting?

    I feel sadness knowing that 2 or 3 of the 4 eyases may not survive into maturity.

    Again, thanks for your time.

  16. Brenda Says:

    Maybe you can shine a little light on this….after hearing about these birds-I had kept on eye on the progress of the hatchings and the growth of the 4 little girls. As I am watching, Im thinking I could almost tell who was on 1st..lol I think Grace, then Ananta, Sacajawea and then Linn. I was trying to figure this out and that’s what I came up with. Do you think this is a good guess? I was going on the process of the new feathers and the coloring of them. I was wondering if Linn was going to be ok. It seems that she huddles in the corner an awful lot. How is her survival going to be rated? Im thinking she was the last–she seems to be so timid. But I do have a few pictures saved to the computer which I think are so cute of the four of them. If you would like a few of the pictures I managed to get off of here, I would be more than happy to share. Thank you for the great job of sharing this! This was a great pleasure to watch !

  17. chris Says:

    ENB, . . Perhaps it is little sad that so many don’t survive to maturity. But PF’s are so full of life that I always think of them as packing more life into a few months than most other creatures do in years.

  18. Rose Says:

    Syracuse seemed to have the same folks doing the same thing on the same day as broadcast on Channel 3 that evening.

  19. Nancy Says:

    I have a question about the numbers, colored tape, and the names.

    In the review of the banding day, the eyas given band #92 was identified as having yellow tape, and the one given band #93 is supposed to have blue tape. However, the numbers are clearly visible in several pictures, and #92 has blue tape and #93 has yellow. The other two eyases are numbered and have colored tape as described.

    Do the names go with the band number or the color of the tape? Thanks!

  20. Eve Says:

    That was a wonderfully well written article on the banding of the eyases.
    I had missed the event and was in awe of how descriptive your details of it all appeared. That sure is quite a feat having to take the chicks from the nest while being attacked by mama!!! I am so thankful to you for your updates in Imprints and keeping all of us in the “Know”. Eve in Rochester

  21. Lucy Says:

    Like Brenda, I’ve been trying to figure out the hatching order by comparing the progress from fuzz to feathers, and I agree with her sequence Grace, Ananta, Sacajawea, and finally Linn. Question: how likely are they to fledge in the same sequence as hatching? Are there other variables such as weight, strength, and daring, or is it mostly determined by maturity? I know that males would be likely to fledge sooner and fly better, but since all 4 are females, what can we expect?

  22. Gina Says:

    I have been watching the girls the past 2 days and i have not noticed Mariah feeding them alot! is this her way of getting them to learn to fly? i feel like they may be starving?!

  23. Dee Says:

    I, too, have always had great concern for Lil’ Linn. The first thing I do every night when I get home from work is watch the “girls” on the archive viewer and roll the tape from 5am to 5pm. I’ve noticed that Linn has become quite a bit better at stepping up to the plate when Dad gets there with dinner and she hops around a lot more now. When she huddles, take a look at the temp, it’s usually chilly. Have you ever seen that mouth of hers? She’s a squawker!! “Hey Dad! how ’bout some chow?” What a bunch a cuties!

  24. AJ Says:

    Thanks Jess, for your answers to ENB. They were also my questions too. You didn’t answer my original question though. How do you know that M and K are the same M and K as yester-year since they are not banded. Would really like to know. You can answer me direct if you want. I know that Kaver was a Cabot before. Not sure if there was any other female.

  25. Ei Says:

    Hi AJ-

    As a long time M&K watcher I think I can give your question a try. As they’re not banded we can’t know absolutely for sure that they are the same birds, but there are a LOT of things that make it as close to certain as we can be. Before the cams are on for the season, the folks watching on the ground have observed them perching in the same places time & time again, year after year. In fact, this winter there was a different female in the area and they knew it wasn’t Mariah because she was perching in a spot Mariah NEVER uses. Watching them for so many years they recognize their body and wing shapes, flying & hunting habits, feather coloration and behavior toward each other.

    The clincher is when the cameras come on for the season & we can see them up close. Each bird has distinctive features, particularly on the face and head-the pattern of the malar stripes & white feathers on the neck doesn’t change-so we can compare photos from year to year. They are also remarkably consistent in their behavior in the scrape-Kaver is notorious for NOT wanting to get off the eggs when Mariah wants to incubate ;). So there’s no doubt in the minds of any of us who watch faithfully that this is Mariah and Kaver.

    As far as I know, Mariah has been the only female to nest here-I think since 1998. Cabot-Sirocco was her first mate until 2001 (he was banded), then Kaver took over in 2002.


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