Some Excitement at the Museum
Well, Mary’s pretty convinced the museum falcons have indeed switched sites from the south to the north. Today, I spent several hours watching the north side and there was the general activity of the last few days. One or both falcons spent time wandering around under the NE corner eave, making all sorts of noises.
Mary came out to watch and we both noted that the female wasn’t laying down, from what we could see. She seemed sort of fidgety. Possibly, she is getting ready to lay an egg. We’ll have to see!
I think I’ve mentioned that the north side of the museum is getting plenty crowded now. At the far NW corner, a pair of kestrels have nested in a hole behind one of the columns for many years. That pair is back and active. Between the peregrine’s new nest site and the kestrels, a pair of crows have built a nest and have, it looks like, maybe 3 to 4 chicks.
The male peregrine has been consistently chasing the crows to ground when they fly up off the nest. At first, I thought this was going to end very badly, but the crows just go into the tree and wait before sailing off really low. From the amount of debris under the nest, including a bunch of rabbit hair, I don’t think the crow chicks are going to go hungry.
About halfway through my monitoring, a big ruckus kicked up. The male was under the NE eave and I saw the female come in from the NW. The female was obviously distressed as she was coming in very, very fast and screaming the whole way. I soon saw the reason. ANOTHER peregrine was following her. She landed on the NW corner of the nest triangle and the male came hopping out, flattened down and screamed right at her. Huh?!?
The other bird came very close to the female and she took off. The male reared up, wings flapping, and then stood by the nest area making a lot of noise. It was then that I realized that the bird that had landed, the one I’d mistaken for the Field Museum female, was actually an interloper.
The two falcons swooped and rose after each other and finally the interloper took off fast, heading back NW. I tried to take pictures, but they were moving so fast and in such a crazy pattern, I got about 20 blurry pictures of the side of the building and the sky instead.
The museum female came back around about 5 minutes later and landed on the ledge. Boy, was she upset. She paced and hopped all over the ledge, bitching at the male, bitching at the air, bitching at the corner.
The male made some sort of soft noises at her, but she was in a MOOD, so finally he took off. He was gone for about 15 minutes and all the while, she paced and huffed.
Suddenly, she looked to the west and started screaming again. “Uhoh,” I thought, “I wonder if the interloper is back?”
It was the male, but for the reception he got, he might as well have BEEN an interloper. He was carrying a bird with him when he landed on the NW side of the triangle. Quickly, he hopped to the center, dropped the bird and backed off as the female gave him a piece of her mind.
Sean thinks the picture I took of that is hilarious. He says it looks like the male is saying, “Honey! You’re so upset! Look, look! I brought you a drink!”
The female stomped over the the bird and after a few minutes started to eat, which calmed her considerably. Not very long after, the pair sat near each other on the ledge, snoozing. So, I guess all is well.