MCC Chick #2!
I left home this morning at about 7am, telling Sean I’d probably be a couple of hours on top of the garage if he wanted to join me later. He demured, saying he had his chores to do for the day and some other work he wanted to get done. So, I kissed him on the cheek, slung my scope bag and camera equipment over my shoulders and wandered on towards the MCC.
I decided to watch the nest side first, so I turned up Clark Street. I heard a great deal of noise from the ledge as I walked up. Peering upward, I saw one chick flapping its wings madly and squawking, so I hurried up the exit-only ‘el steps to take a good look. As I got to the first platform, I leaned over and looked up just in time to see a second chick poke its head over the side and look down to the street. A second chick! Excellent!
I took a quick look around at various ledges in the area, looking for Max and Herc, but neither adult seemed to be around. For the next half hour, I watched the two chicks do wing strengthening exercises while running up and back on the long ledge. At some point, both chicks stopped everything and looked expectantly to the west. I turned just in time to see one of the adults soaring in towards the ledge.
It was Max! He landed with a large bird in talon and the chicks immediately descended on him, crying and screeching loudly. Max let out several loud *kaaaarks* and snapped a bit at the chicks, quieting them just enough to allow him to pull some meat off the bird and start a feeding.
After the feeding, Max swooped back off the ledge and flew towards the north. I saw him drop down and figured he must have landed on the Board of Trade annex. The chicks seemed logey after their meal and picked perches on opposite sides of the ledge for a nap. I decided to pack up my things and go make a try at photographing Max’s legbands again.
I got to the garage top about 10 minutes later and just as I got my scope set up, a car pulled in to my right and Preston got out, waving. Cool! We chatted excitedly for a minute about the two chicks but then got down to the business of leg bands. Hercules and Max were both perched on the Board of Trad annex. Hercules, of course, stood in full sun and you could almost read her leg bands with the naked eye – well, not really of course, but they were easy to read with only binoculars. Max was sitting in a nice position to see them, but unfortunately on a very, very shadowy perch. You could see the black and green colors of the bands and a pretty nice outline of the top “5” on the black band, but the green band still looked murky and unclear.
We strained our eyes to tears for the next 20 minutes or so with no luck. As we took a short break, Hercules hopped off the annex heading for the nest. We watched her progress and as she reached the MCC, I noticed movement beyond her. It was my construction guys! About ten of them were lined up on the roof and almost all of them were waving their arms at us. I waved my arms back and they all started pointing to the nest ledge and then holding up two fingers (this I saw through my scope). I noticed a number of them had binoculars, so I gave a thumbs up and held up two fingers as well, hoping they’d understand that yes, I knew there were two chicks and wasn’t that cool!
What an audience the MCC family had for the next hours. I bet the contruction guys got a really neat view of the family goings-on from their vantage point, while Preston and I put ourselves back to the task of getting Max’s legbands. Although neither of us ever felt like we got that perfect look, Preston took many photos, so I’m hoping that one of them might give us some proof of that bottom letter!
Welcome, TWO 2007 MCC chicks!