A Half Bat
Today it was pretty windy and stormy, so I didn’t take my camera out. Hercules came in with a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, handed it off to Max, who took it into the nest. Hercules visited the niches one and three to the left of the nest and and did her vocalize, peer-down, hop in, hop out routine.
Herc kind of surprised me by flying straight for me at one point. She ended up landing on the stairwell roof, corner closest to me, so about 5 feet over my head. Flying in, it seriously looked like she was going to land right on the railing in front of me. I would have loved to snap that picture, but alas.
After about 15 minutes, she took off for the sky perch, but was only up there for a few minutes before she spied something she wanted.
A very, very narrow alleyway runs between the garage and the two buildings to the west (one is the building that houses the sky perch). Because the buildings on both sides are tall, the space is very dark most of the time. So, when Herc dove and went into the alley, I couldn’t make out what she chased through the murk. It flashed white briefly and seemed pigeon sized.
She missed on the stoop and proceeded to try to chase it down. I’d never seen this happen before, but Max joined the chase. A fast, insane flight back and forth through the alleyway commenced, but the two falcons came away empty-taloned. Max flew back to the nest ledge, with Hercules following about 10-feet behind.
Suddenly, I saw a little brown puff falling down towards her. She snatched it up and landed on a fire escape nearby to eat. I pondered the falling bird. Hmmm.
It started to rain, so I packed up. After walking the jail perimeter and garage block, I decided to go down the dark narrow alleyway. About halfway down, three delivery trucks almost completely blocked the alleyway. I squeezed by them. When I got to the other side, approximately under where Hercules had been eating, I looked up.
Above me zig-zagged a snag of fifteen floors worth of metal fire escape. On the 1st floor fire escape platform lay two sets of remains. I could not walk up there since the fire escape was rolled up, so I used my tripod to reach up and poke the bodies down. After they fell, I crouched and bagged the two bodies up – a bird and a bat!
“Wow!” I said, straightening and looking at the baggies. Hearing a noise behind me, I turned. Three delivery men stood in a dock behind me just staring at me, jaws dropped. I smiled and waved cheerily, turned and walked out of the alleyway onto LaSalle.
I can’t imagine what they thought I was doing collecting dead things in a very dark and narrow alleyway during morning rush. Kind of makes me laugh to consider.
The brown puff was a baby starling. It obviously fell out/off of something since it was dropping not flying when I saw it. I guess it was the right place at the right time for Hercules. Literally, prey falling out of the sky. The other body was a half-bat! Cool find.
Chick Development update – The chicks should now be able half the size of their parents. They still are puffy with baby down, but the contour feathers should be visible on the margins of the wings and tail. A small bear patch behind the eyes develops and may even show signs of contour feather growth. You can see a picture of this stage here.