Launch or lunch…?

First flight    Photo by CLeve Nash

Out of the nest                                        Photo by Cleve Nash

So much for all our predictions, calculations and educated guesses. They are all “out the window,” now that one of the chicks has left the nest. I had expected the chicks to fly on the 1st of June. Although he hasn’t flown yet, this is the normal procedure before flight. Chicks normally fledge on or around Day 44. We estimated that we are at Day 36, so somebody goofed.

This morning about 8:30AM, I arrived at the rock to observe the three young falcons. Seeing nothing around the nest is not unusual. They could be sleeping. Then I caught movement twenty feet above the nest site. One of the young, flapping its wings, ventured out of the eyrie. I watched as it clung to the rock with talons and beak, all the time gaining altitude and flapping vigorously. There are gull nests in every direction and the gulls are not happy about this youngster roaming the neighborhood.

I watched the adult tiercel arrive with prey, the female cacking vociferously and chasing him to make the food exchange. With prey in her talons, she is inbound to the eyrie. The chick that had ventured out of the nest is squealing and flapping and it looks like he’s going to miss a meal.

I’m sure he or she will fly today. Thus is the normal procedure, to climb as high as it can and then jump. They picked a terrible day for learning, with wind gusts up to 55 mph and steady 30-35 mph breeze. This first step is when the young are most vulnerable. If they are able to fly, rarely do they make it back to the eyrie. They usually spend a cold night clinging to a ledge with no siblings for company or warmth. The biggest threat would be a Great-horned Owl. If he or she makes it through the night, with luck I will find him in the morning.
Happy trails, Bob

Grade point average on calculations has been reduced to C-.


About Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch

The Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch is here to inform birders, students and all people who are eager to know about these handsome peregrines. We want you to enjoy and be able to use our on-site powerful spotting scopes. We are available to answer your questions about the pair of falcons that have been observed for many years.

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2 Responses to Launch or lunch…?

  1. Sue says:

    So glad to hear that they are out! Wish we were able to see them but we are enjoying the progress from afar.

  2. Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch says:

    Thanks, Sue! We have many readers at distance and are always pleased to hear from them. ~Heather

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