A Fairly Calm Day

Slowly, I catch up with missives burned in my memory, but not in print. I could not believe how life went from wow to WOW!! in about four days time. I guess, such is the life of peregrine – fastest animal in the world, which has translated to Steph – fastest week in the world.

I continue to go over to the garage top every morning even though all the chicks have fledged. It seems very lonely now without Herc and Max constantly swooping in and without chicks jockeying for position on the ledge. But, it is a happy loneliness, as the pattern of life cycle stays well on course.

Some may not know that Sean and I actually live very close to the nest. We live in Printer’s Row, which is about two blocks to the south. Early on, Sean and I discovered that we could actually see a number of Max and Herc’s favorite hunting/roosting spots from the windows of our loft. Very rarely, my friends, does someone monitoring wildlife get such a cushy viewing platform. I guess I’m just lucky that way.

This morning, I lugged myself out of bed and went, as I am wont to do, right to the spotting scope set up in the southern corner or our loft. Immediately, I saw a chick in the middle of the eastern exposure of Dan’s EPA building. Her tail hung over the edge and her wings were relaxed. No worries. My field journal entry:

“6:45am: C. on EPA, C-E. Rel. Lay d. Fine?”

This is why I translate my journal for Mary, by the by. That translated as: “6:45am: Chick is on the roof of the EPA building to the center of the building on the east side. She seems relaxed and hasn’t moved. It seems as though she might be laying on her belly. I wonder if she’s ok? I’ll check again after my shower.”

After my shower, I looked in the scope and saw she was in the very same position. Journal: “7:01am: NM.” No movement. Sean and I completed our morning routine at 7:40am and I looked in the scope again. Journal: “7:40am: NM.”

Sean’s friend and workmate Brian, with whom he carpools to work, paged at 8am and Sean and I went down to meet him. I kissed Sean goodbye, waved to Brian and wandered off towards the garage. Reaching the top, I did a cursory look around but found my eyes drawn to the C-E, where I saw the silhouette of a chick in a now familiar position. “8:15am: NM.”

Finally, I decided to call Dan. I left a message on his cell phone that sounded something like: “Hey Dan! It’s Steph. Hey, um, I’m down here and I’ve noticed that there’s been a chick on your roof. She hasn’t moved for awhile and I’ve got a bad feeling about it. Really bad. If you get the chance, you might go out and take a peek at her.” — “8:40am: NM.”

Well, needless to say, I finally ended up calling Mary, thinking we had a very wounded or dead chick on the roof. She said if I was very worried, the building manager would probably take me up, but reminded me that sometimes chicks can sit like that. I took one more look up (“9:23: NM”) and decided I should run in to the museum, drop off my stuff and then come back. Heading to the elevator, I felt the need to look one more time: “9:32am: Um. She moved. She’s grooming. I’m such a dumba$$.” Sorry for the language, but that’s what I wrote.

I am still in the very early learning stages with regards to Peregrine Falcons. Something I didn’t know was that they can, when they are fledglings, lay down for a good long time to rest. This does not mean they are injured or near dying, simply that they are tired and need to, well, chill out a bit. I got into the museum after plowing my way through a sudden downpour, so I was soaked. I went directly to Mary’s office. My boss, John Bates, showed up minutes later.

“So, I feel like a schmuck. I completely wasted your time, Mary. I’m sorry for that, but seriously, it seemed like an emergency. Until, well, until she started grooming,” I said.

Mary and John laughed, not unkindly. “When I talked to Mary earlier,” John said, “she told me what was up. I asked her if the chick was ok and she said, ‘Yeah. I hope Steph isn’t out there getting soaked.’ You’re soaked.”

Boy, am I. Good to learn, though. If a chick is laying on the ground (in the middle of the city) that way, it’s one thing. On the top of a building? Probably completely normal. It was a valuable rain soaking.

Tonight, I watched out our windows as four peregrines performed a breathtaking aerial display over the jail/EPA/garage space. It looked scary, but now I know that it is probably the MCC chicks and parents practicing flying and hunting techniques. I learned that from Mary two weeks ago. It’s an obvious thing to say, but it merits repeating: Learning makes life MUCH less scary.

An update. I’m trying to keep up with the present, while translating both my field notes and memories into the posts I’ve missed. For those of you who can’t wait, and I’d be in your company, the male chick hasn’t been seen (but is just as likely fine as not), female chick number one is named Wendy and she has been released and is fine.

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~ by Steph on June 22, 2006.