Proudly Birdlady 2
I had a busy and intense day of training today. So VERY much to learn before Mary Beth goes on Friday. But, boy, she’s a great teacher, so I think I’m going to be just fine. Carl seems so nice, too. I think he’ll make a very fine boss.
I couldn’t check email or voicemail while I was in training. I will admit, in the back of my mind, I constantly wondered what might be going on with the MCC chicks. As it turns out, what was happening decidedly equaled plenty.
Around noon, or was it one? I don’t know. In the afternoon, I sat at the microptics station, wondering why Mary Beth’s Bat Fly seemed to stay pristinely atop the mound of prep material (KY jelly in a sea of 95% alcohol – and yes, I laughed the first time, too). My Bat Fly kept listing to the port side in an ugly fashion, making it unphotographable. I decided to take a quick break, so I went to get my cell phone in my old office. It rang in my hand.
On the line: Dan C. We had a hurried and excited conversation, which I can’t possibly transcribe. He sent out an email later that basically gives the details, so here it is:
“Chick #1 has been found and appears to be in good shape. Folks from WPTD witnessed the chick (a female) spiral down to the ground after getting tangled around the el tracks at Clark and Van Buren. Diane D., Al, and Dan (all from WPTD) were able to successfully get it into a box and hold it until Mary (the birdlady) from the Field Museum arrived. Mary was able to put the chick into her cage carrier and quickly determined that by its behavior, it was in good shape. We proceeded to the roof of the building, banded her and released her. After her release, she squawked up a storm but mom and dad did not seem to hear her. We left but felt confident that she would be ok.”
“Chick #2 is still on the ledge and should fledge any day now, so keep your fingers crossed that it will fledge and not need any assistance.”
“FYI: Mary H’s (Birdlady) phone numbers: 312-xxx-xxxx, cell: 815-xxx-xxxx or call Steph: (Birdlady 2) at 312-xxx-xxxx — both are from the Field Museum.”
Let me fill in any blanks. First, Dan assisted Mary in the banding and did a most excellent job. I get the idea from his breathlessly excited recitation on the phone that it was a good experience, so — Go Dan, the Banding Man! Good job on all counts. Second, there was a follow-up email from Dan a couple of days later, which by the magic of journal time-shifting, I now include:
“(forwarded from Diane D.) The bird was originally seen by Todd G. while it was in traffic under the el tracks. We were watching for about a minute and saw traffic trying to get around it. The falcon was almost hit several times so while Todd, Allen (falcon #2 for him), Don H. and Peter R. took to the street with a box, Diane called authorities, then joined them. By that time Dan (who also contacted authorities) et., al, were waiting for the “birdlady” from the Field Museum to arrive and watching Allen bleed (It “got a piece of him”). Mary “The birdlady”, Diane, Dan and Reggie from FPS took to the roof of the Metcalf building where it was banded and released. Diane took the pictures that took off Dan’s head (sorry Dan, at least it wasn’t the bird) It’s bright up there. I just wanted to be sure Todd and Pete weren’t left out of this since they were the original spotters from our little corner. And a good time was had by all!”
Was I jealous I couldn’t be there for the MCC banding? Well, hell yes. But, honestly? After hearing how excited everyone was and how happy Dan seemed after helping with his first banding, I kind of am glad I wasn’t able to go. That’s just too cool for school. I think it’s rather excellent that Dan, someone who has watched the MCC falcons waaaay longer than I have, was able to experience that. It’s something you never forget.
After work, I went on my regular circuit around the jail and its environs. The nest ledge was completely empty. Was Chick #2 down in the nest? Did it fledge too? I guess we’ll find out.
As for Chick #1, when Sean and I got home, I spent the evening watching. She sat on the edge of the EPA building, alternately flapping her wings wildly and hopping from one end to the other. One adult was with her at all times. We saw at least two occasions where Max (I could tell from the cheek patches) came up to feed her.