This year, I am happy to report we have a few new monitor volunteers, including my co-worker in Insects, Gracen B. and her roommate (and volunteer in Birds) Kasey. Today, after work, I took Gracen to the MCC with me for her inaugural monitoring session.
Unfortunately, Gracen was in New York the weekend of the monitor’s seminar, so she missed Mary’s detailed course. So, on our walk from the museum to the MCC, I gave her the abbreviated version. We took a few minutes to look at the South Loop pair’s territory and spotted one of them sitting on a pole adjacent to their new nesting area.
When we got to the garage top by the MCC, I spotted one of the adults and asked Gracen to look around and see if she could spot it. She did, quite quickly, which was a good sign. It was sitting on the corner of a building to the west of the nest niches, apparently munching the last bits of a bird.
About 10 minutes in, Sean ambled up. During introductions and chit-chat, we heard the adult vocalize and turned to watch it streak off to the south after another peregrine, which was about a third of a mile in the distance, by the Wells Street Tower.
“Hmm, there we go, that must be the mate. Both out of the nest, then. We’ll have to see how long they are way to make a guess as to whether there are any eggs,” I said.
“Wow, who is that other bird then?” Sean asked, pointing up towards a third bird that was streaking in behind our MCC bird, probably off the top of the LaSalle annex.
Ugh. A rather nasty, rather long fight ensued. It centered almost entirely above the Wells Street Tower and lasted maybe a half hour to 40 minutes. In the end, one peregrine got knocked down and out of sight by another, who flew back up to land on Wells Street Tower while the other came back our way and swooped into the nest niche.
We waited a few minutes more, but the skies were still. Sean went home and I walked Gracen to the ‘el platform, but there was no further activity by the time her pink line train came around. On my way home, I walked down by the Wells Street Tower to see if I could see a bird on the ground. I didn’t see anything, so I’ll have to assume that the loser was just forced to a lower ledge and then ducked out of the territory. With all of the people walking dogs in that area, if an adult was wounded and grounded, I’m pretty sure it would end up rescued anyway — there are a shocking number of very conscientious people in this city. So, best we can do is wait and see whether we get a call about an injured peregrine.
Still no idea who the MCC adults are at this point, but that’s normal. I generally haven’t been able to get bands until the adults were off the eggs and feeding hatchlings. Anyway, I have to hope that the fight we saw didn’t end tragically and Herc, Max or both will be our jailbirds. Keep you posted!