Observation date: 11 July 2014
My last couple of entries have mentioned injuries concerning the adults eyes. For the last few days while observing juveniles, the resident south side chick referred to as “Homie” had been favoring his left leg. I thought it might be just a typical pose standing on one leg as they often do, but when he went to put it down it did not touch the rock and the talons were partially closed like a loose fist. Later that day after observing him fly, the leg would hang down and not retract into normal flying position. In the photo below, look carefully for the lowered leg hanging down.
I, also, noticed he had two broken primary feathers, one on either wing. Today he flew out to meet the tiercel who was returning with prey over the parking lot. The tiercel dropped the prey to the chick which he failed to catch. The tiercel caught it in mid-air and swooped up and gave him a second chance. The juvenile caught the prey on the second time and returned to the rock to dine.
These birds are active for 12 to 14 hours a day; I spend five to six hours a day so there is a lot I don’t observe. As to what has happen to this youngster is anyone’s guess.
Happy trails, Bob
Item: “Stumpy” is a White-crowned Sparrow whose left foot fell off three years ago. She will sit on my chair or hand and has raised a clutch of chicks every year. I know that because she fills her beak with cookie crumbs and flies off to feed her young across the parking lot in the brush above the willows.