rfalconcam - Imprints


The Journal of Rfalconcam

Unity’s Nest at Kodak Park

Unity's scrape at KP with 2 eggsEven before we knew Unity’s identity, Rochester Falconcam team member Carol Phillips was busy working with our good friends at Kodak to get access to the site for our crack team of watchers. Recently her persistence paid big dividends as Kodak invited a few observers to take a closer look. Falconcam team members Joyce Miller, Lou Capuano and Jim Pisello accompanied Carol to the power plant at Kodak Park’s Weiland Road location for a brief tour of the facility and our closest look yet at the site Unity has chosen for her nest this year.

Bruce Moyer, from Kodak Corporate Security met everyone at the gate and led them inside. The power plant burns coal and oil to produce heat and generate electric power for many of the buildings throughout the Eastman Business Park complex. Kodak owns the facility, but it is operated by Duke Energy.

Inside the team met Duke Energy’s Bernie and Ted, the plant managers, and geared up with hard hats, safety glasses and hearing protection. A ride up a freight elevator ended at the top floor where all the excess heat from the steam turbines made for a sauna-like experience. Ted, who had a previous life as a biologist, led the group onto the roof overlooking the nest area. From there, two eggs were plainly visible in the substrate on the protected ledge. The material on the ledge looks to be pigeon droppings, deposited over many years. Ted claimed the pigeon population had dwindled even before Unity’s arrival last year, and the team saw only a handful of birds while they were on site. Unity had put in an appearance earlier with an overhead fly-by that ended with her disappearing around the back side of the plant. Some more of the pictures from the tour, taken by Lou and Jim, can be seen in the slideshow below.

With two eggs in the scrape, could a third be in the works? The plant operators noted that the last egg was laid many days ago, so it doesn’t seem likely that Unity will be laying another. And though the nest is not monitored actively, it was clear from interviewing the Duke Energy folks that Unity is not spending a great deal of time on the eggs. That’s not the behavior you’d expect for a falcon that’s in “hard” incubation mode.

So what does that mean? Given Unity’s young age and the fact that this is her first clutch, it’s possible that these eggs won’t hatch. It’s not all that unusual for a falcon’s first clutch to fail, and Unity is under some stresses which might contribute to a brooding failure. Her mate, Archer, is not around as much as he should be, since he’s spending a great deal of his time at his “primary” nest site with Beauty. That alone may mean that Unity has to spend a lot of time off the nest in order to feed herself, defend her territory, and so on. According to some reports from our watchers, she’s not showing too much interest in brooding, either. That could be a symptom, or a result of the stresses in her environment.

The folks from Kodak and Duke Energy are enthusiastic about having a falcon family at their site though, and they’ve generously offered their assistance in keeping an eye on things. Since the site isn’t monitored nearly as closely as at Times Square, it’s possible there’s more activity going on there than we realize.

The Rochester Falconcam wants to extend our gratitude and thanks to Bruce Moyer and all the folks at Kodak, who continue to be terrific partners, and to Ted, Bernie, and all of the falcon fans at Duke Energy for their help and hospitality. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens at this site with Rochester’s newest Peregrine, Unity.

16 Responses to “Unity’s Nest at Kodak Park”

  1. margaret Says:

    Thank you for all the information, team Falcon. What struck me most was the view from KP to downtown and TS and KOT. I can now see what Unity sees, and perhaps the reason for the fight the other day. I also have a clearer picture of the scrape area. Those eggs are certainly in a precarious position in all that PP.
    I would guess that they are not being incubated. I only hope that there is a hatch somewhere this year.
    Maybe a nestbox on the catwalk like they have on the watertower in NJ is not such a bad idea.

  2. Kathy Says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Thank you to the Duke Energy people and Bruce Moyer with Kodak Security, and to our super Team Falcon people. What a wealth of information and insite to Unity’s world. It would be wonderful if she could have better accommodations next year. Better still if she could have a mate of her own.

  3. Jess Says:

    @margaret – The area where Unity has made her nest is actually pretty good– it’s protected pretty well from the weather and the building radiates a lot of warmth. The biggest problem is all those pigeon droppings. From the pictures it looks like the eggs are pushed down into the substrate pretty far. It might make them hard to turn, which the falcons have to do periodically to ensure even incubation.

  4. Maureen in MA Says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us!!

  5. Braveheart2665 Says:

    Wow – amazing photo’s ! TY team falcon ! I had no idea how clearly they could see to downtown & Kodak & TS. I sure wish Unity could get another mate so she & Beauty wouldn’t have to compete for A’s attention & eggs would have a better chance of hatch.

  6. Lu Ann Says:

    This is amazing! Thanks Carol for getting the Kodak team to allow us a better look and to think I used to walk past that chute many years ago and never dreamed it would be a nest site in the future.

  7. Lu Ann Says:

    Is there a possibility in the futre of a nest tray being put there?

  8. Jess Says:

    @Lu Ann – There’s always a possibility Lu Ann. We continue to share our findings and observations with the DEC. If Unity isn’t successful at the nest site this year, they may be able to work with Kodak and Duke Energy to put either a tray or a nest box at the site during the off season. A proper gravel bed might give Unity’s eggs a better chance of hatching.

  9. Alison Says:

    Fascinating report. It may just be that the heat from the plant is keeping the eggs warm enough that Unity does not feel the need to sit on them all the time. We did read that Archer was thought to sit on the eggs from time to time as well. But it would be just as well if Unity’s eggs do not make it, giving Archer’s “first” family a much better chance.

  10. Cynthia Says:

    Hello from Unity’s birthplace: the University of Toledo. I’ve been following her progress in Rochester since stumbling on it via my regular google searches for UT peregrine progeny. Glad to hear that Unity is doing fairly well, given the awkward aspects of her current situation. In case anyone has a family tree going, one of Unity’s brothers from 2007 – Chayton – has bred successfully for two years now in Jackson, Michigan: http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2011/05/break_out_the_cigars_jacksons.html. So Unity is an aunt and Beauty a great-aunt.

    This year, Beauty and her mate Allen hatched four 2011 siblings for Unity: 2/2, bringing their total to 16. So far, we only know of Chayton, Unity and (sadly) Rocket, who was killed in Michigan a year after his 2008 fledge.

    What are the chances that Unity might find a different mate, less louche than Archer?

  11. Cynthia Says:

    Sorry – I meant, of course, BELLE and Allen.

  12. Alison Says:

    Ah, I see that Beauty’s eggs are past due. I guess we get lots of falcon action, but no real fledge watch this season.

  13. Maureen in MA Says:

    @Alison – My thought exactly. Hopefully they’ll surprise us…?

  14. Maureen in MA Says:

    Very sad news this season…. 🙁

  15. Carol P. Says:

    Hi Cynthia! I am so far behind checking things! Yikes! Thanks for posting this information about Unity’s brother Chayton. Great news! 🙂

  16. Luise - Professional Website design Says:

    It could seem sensible every thing you say. With our corporation where I work as web designer we tend to have a similar perspective even to our internal work (not that it must be the exact same or for the same thing, however the point is there).

Sponsored By

Times Square
powered by Shakymon