A New Home

Spotting a PeregrineMan, it’s been a long stretch between posts! The last of the jail chicks went on her merry way and it was back to bat flies full bore for me. But! I do have news, not the least of which regards this, my new blog home.

Sean and I made the decision to simplify our living space and lives by getting rid of the big server at home. So, that means Sean won’t have to admin the thing, which should be a load off his mind! As far as this blog goes, it just gets a slightly different address – so no big. If you are reading this, then you obviously managed to find your way here from the redirect. Excellent!

On to peregrine news! This year, we had fifteen adult pairs in the Chicago region, which lines up nicely with the last few years. As in 2006 and 2007, eight of those pairs managed to nest successfully, unleashing twenty-one fledglings into the world. While this isn’t the bumper crop we had in 2006 (29!), it is still a very healthy number for our area.

Thanks to many, many observant Chicagoans and a bit of hard work on our parts, we also managed to find a few new sites getting the looky-loo treatment from potential nesters. A Flickr buddy, Kevin, turned us onto a potential site at St. Mary’s Hospital on the near-west side where he observed two adults on numerous occasions during nesting season. You can be sure we’ll be watching that site closely next year! As well, another Flickr buddy, Mark, joined Sean and I on an early season walkabout and we managed to find the river birds nest at long last! Mary managed to finally find the Calumet birds and we observed one successful fledgling from that pair. Belmont/LSD, Loyola Campus, Marseilles, McCook Quarry and Fermilab also all bear watching next season.

The season was not without casualties, of course, which while expected, is always sad. Of course, before mating season even began, we lost Wacker’s beautiful male, Etienne. And then, early in the season, we lost the adult female at the Pilsen site, Bryanne, who had established that nest with her mate, Lyn, seven years ago. Shortly after she laid three eggs, Animal Control found her on the ground near the site. Although she lived to make the trip to raptor rehab, she died the next day. An examination revealed she had a ruptured oviduct which, along with debris, had accumulated into a cyst.

We also lost a number of chicks, which is again expected. Two of the four Wacker chicks died shortly after hatching. We also lost a chick each at the Broadway and UIC sites. And we lost a few more to fledging – two females from Evanston and the only male from the MCC nest.

Which brings me around to saying that we thought we’d lost one female from Evanston and a male and female from the MCC nest, but no! Although I feel badly for the loss of the Evanston female, Brigid, I am happy to report that due to a leg band mix-up, the MCC female that went down with a keel bone fracture survived and was released awhile ago. The MCC female had been bunking with Brigid while they recouped and somehow the leg band numbers got switched in the record, meaning I got a report that the MCC female had died of asper and the Evanston female had been released, when in fact, it was the other way around. Anyway, I decided to name her Tabitha for a woman St. Peter resurrected – seemed appropriate!

The other MCC female fledged just fine on her own, and though we always cringe at the idea of a chick getting out of Chicago without a leg band, I am tickled she did her thang without any drama. About a week after she fledged, I had a report from peregrine watcher Dawn that a trio of birds, two adults and a juvie, were flying maneuvers over the big vacant lot on Roosevelt, just south of the nest. Since that is firmly within Herc and Max’s territory and Dawn mentioned that the chick looked “very large”, we’re all pretty certain that was the MCC family. Anyway, since then, I’ve seen Herc and/or Max perching on various buildings in the MCC area, but rarely together, which is normal for them in the “off time”.

I got some really exciting news from Isabel here at work. Isabel has been doing a genetic study of the Chicago peregrines for her dissertation. Today, she let me know that she’s fairly confident Hercules and Max have been our MCC adults since at least 2002! That made me really happy. Hopefully, Herc and Max will have many more years at the MCC.

In mid-August, Mary, Isabel and I hosted a small party here at the museum for all of the magnificent and tireless peregrine volunteers. The party was a great success and it was wonderful to meet so many people I’d only heard about over the years as well as catch up with the many good friends I’ve made through the peregrine program. My only regret is that it was so crowded, I didn’t get much of a chance to chat with anyone for more than about 10 minutes. Oh well! Now we’ve met and I’ll be looking forward to meeting them again in seasons to come!

That’s about all there is to report. I imagine I’ll post from time to time over this long off-season when something of note happens. Until then!

~ by Steph on September 23, 2008.

 
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