Yesterday they banded the peregrine falcon chicks at the Colonnade Building in Minneapolis. This week has been so insane--I just can't seem to keep up with the schedule. I had a business meeting this week and the poor woman and I were trying to get our schedules to sync up, I finally asked, "Dawn, do you want to meet at a peregrine falcon banding event?" Lucky enough, she did! I wasn't sure, she's one of Non Birding Bill's friends.
Here is Bud Tordoff, holding up one of the four chicks that got bands yesterday. There's a video of it here, you can see one of the adults flying around the nest ledge above Bud. You can also hear the adults screeching in the background of all the chick screaming noises.
There were two males and two females (researchers can tell them apart by size--even at 21 days old). Dawn and I watched a couple of the chicks being banded and then went inside to go over our actual meeting. As we were wrapping things up, the banding crew were coming back into the building. The person in charge is Jackie Fallon, who I know through The Raptor Center so I begged, "Hey, Jackie, can I come up to get photos of you putting the birds back from the floor the nest box is on?"
She said yes. Dawn gave an understanding look and I dashed into the elevator with the peregrine banding posse.
There were some maintenance people taking advantage of the absent chicks to do some minor repairs around the nest. Even though the chicks were gone, the female adult peregrine falcon was giving him the hairy eyeball:
Note the woman in the window well with the padded stick--to keep the falcon from nailing the repairman. There were some interesting leftover prey items around the nest:
This is a chord from the repair man, but under it is a rail head. I'm thinking Virginia rail.
There was also this pellet and I'm so bummed that it didn't turn out so well! There's a hummingbird bill at the top of it! Peregrines--eating hummingbirds? How? I know they are fast, but hummingbirds? Why? Wouldn't it be too much work for so little food? It's gotta be like eating a jolly rancher. I begged the banders to bring it in, but their priority is getting the banded chicks back in the nest swiftly and not getting hit by the adult falcons. It was not in an easy to grab area from the window well, and really, I was lucky just to be there watching the nest platform.
And the chicks were put back on the nest ledge. As soon as they were put down, they scrambled to the back corner of the nest and screamed together. The female falcon swooped back and forth as she could hear her chicks screeching.
As soon as the window well went up, the female flew in. Both the chicks and the female are looking up towards the well like, "What the heck was that all about?" Here's a video of the female looking over the chicks:
You can almost see her trying to work out in her tiny little brain what just happened. You can also see that she has an urge to feed the chicks. That begging cry stimulates the adults to hunt and feed the chicks.
We left the female alone with her chicks to get back to the business of rearing them. Ultimately the birds get a sense of "I won". They kind of are thinking, 'This big scary thing came in, took the chicks away, but all the falcons screaming and swooping frightened the big scary thing so much, the chicks are back."
Okay, now I have to load up the car and hit the road to North Dakota.