Garage Roof Prey Scraps

The drizzling rain and gusting wind precluded picture taking this morning, as my lens kept getting wet. I didn’t see the male at all today, but Hercules perched on the nest ledge, feathers puffed, head down against the rain. Good idea, Hercules. Unlike me, she probably stayed somewhat warm.

If my calculations have been correct, this is the chick(s) day 6. This means that their mass has doubled from birth-weight. So, they should be about 2.0-2.3 ounces. Their eyes are more open and round and they can sit up relatively well. A second coat of down is starting to come in and will continue to do so over the next few days. You can see this approximate stage here.

I’ve decided that since I now know, for sure, that Hercules’ smaller counterpart is a male, I’ll start, for purposes of this journal, to call him “Max”, which is my very favorite male name. Well, to be perfectly honest, my favorite male name is “Senator Maxwell”, because it pays homage to that Loki-esque character trait I find endearing in certain people and animals while also lending a certain built-in power and prestige. Maybe that is why Jason Lee and his wife liked “Pilot Inspektor”.

I think I love the name because my favorite book as a small child was Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Apparently, I had a propensity as a child for naughtiness and mischievous activity, much like the book’s main character Max. So, Max it is – for now. This will, of course, change when I get his leg band information and look him up, unless, by very odd coincidence his banders also liked Where the Wild Things Are and decided to name him after the main character. This possibility seems remote.

I started, this morning, to walk the perimeter of the MCC and look for any prey parts that might be on the ground. I’ve become curious about what these city falcons prefer to eat. Pigeons would, by far, be the slowest and most plentiful flocks of birds in the area, but as I’ve looked over my notes from the last days, I’ve noticed a lot of starlings, but only one pigeon, and it was dropped.

Peregrine Falcon Meal - OrioleThis pictured half bird lay directly beneath the stairwell roof. I wondered if it might be one that Hercules deposited after cleaning out the nest. I didn’t know what the bird was, so I took out my ruler and did some measurements.

Journal entry: “Small, about the size of a House Sparrow. What is left is 6cm, 4cm of that is the leg. The tarsus is black, 2.8cm. The plumage is gold with white to gray down. A number of large black feathers with white edges and some more yellow feathers lay approximately 10cm to the side, up against the wall. They look like they blew there. Warbler?”

I hypothesize this may be due to the size of the chicks – tiny. Perhaps Herc and Max favor prey, at this stage, which provides the right sized meal for the chicks. Next year, when I can start my observations right from the courting/copulation get-go, I’ll try to do a far more detailed study of prey selection habits. This year, I’ll practice.

Tom, the garage’s maintenance man I met yesterday, told me that for a number of years, he’s swept up bird parts on the garage roof. In the last few weeks, he’s swept up a lot of bird parts.

“Honestly, I found the whole thing spooky. I’m glad I know where all the bird parts are coming from now,” he told me this morning.

I told Tom that if he left he parts in a little pile in the SW corner, I’d come identify them and then get rid of them for him. He said he’d start doing that. At any rate, I started walking around the garage top and taking inventory of the parts scattered about.

Peregrine Falcon Meal - PigeonThis picture shows a pigeon leg. Various and sundry other pigeon parts lay scattered beneath the lighting fixture on the southern end. As well, there were a number of blood droplets. Considering the rain, either Herc or Max must have been eating on top of the lighting post just minutes before I arrived.

I snapped some pictures, took one last look at Herc and headed into the museum. I had a meeting with John Bates, my boss, and at the end, I showed him the pictures. Her verified the pigeon leg and told me the half bird was a male oriole, as the legs are way too thick to be a warbler.

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~ by Steph on May 11, 2006.