A Museum Pair?!?

Well, I don’t have any pictures, but I do have some exciting news, I hope!

When I got to work this morning at 8:30am, my message light on my desk phone blinked up at me. I retrieved the message, left only two minutes before:

“Steph, it’s Mary. Nobby came into my office and said that he saw some peregrines on the museum. I asked him if he meant kestrels, but he insists peregrines. Meet me at the north door and we’ll check it out.”

I gathered my things and hustled back out of my office, heading for Mary’s office at the other end of the department. She emerged just as I walked up and we took the stairs two at a time to the main floor.

As we walked out the front doors, we heard the familiar “kak-kak” of peregrines and stared at each other. A peregrine perched, pretty as you please, on the south side’s west cornice. From its size, Mary figured it for a female. As we watched, another bird flew in and dropped some prey on the roof in front of the female. She waited for a few minutes and then dropped down from her perch atop the prey.

I blinked at Mary and she laughed. “That definitely looks like pair behavior. What are the odds of this? I’m sure they are just passing through.”

After about ten minutes, the female hopped up onto the center roof sculpture and a smaller bird lifted into the air behind her. It cruised in a circle over her head and the two “talked” the whole time. Finally, he landed – on top of her! Copulation!

“Now that really looks like pair behavior!”

The copulation didn’t last long, no offence to the little male, and he took off to cruise around above her while she preened. I caught a quick look at her legbands when she held her left leg out to preen its feathers.

“It’s definitely black over green, top number looks like a “73” and the bottom looks like a rounded letter, like an O, Q or D. I can’t be sure.”

Mary confirmed that she saw the black and green as we watched the male land in the triangular cut-out below the roof. At first, he hopped over into the SW corner and made a lot of noise while wandering around out of sight. Then, he hopped over to the SE corner and did the same. Mary explained, rather excitedly I might add, that his behavior indicated they were interested in the cut-out for nesting.

What ARE the odds? Seriously. Of all the buildings in all the towns in all the world, you nest on our building?!? EXCELLENT! I’ve decided this means that just for the sake of this journal, I’m going to call this unbanded male “Rick” for Bogart’s character in Casablanca. That’ll just be my little nickname, of course.

Throughout the day, Mary and I went out to check and check again. Nobby, a post-doc that works in birds, came down to look and Mary thanked him profusely for spotting the birds. He seemed very, very tickled.

The pair flew in and out of the cut-out all day, making lots and lots of noise. With any hope, they’ll find the ledge to their liking and we’ll have our very own pair of peregrines at the museum.

That would be a MOST excellent way to enter into the 2007 Peregrine Falcon season!

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~ by Steph on March 22, 2007.