Gracen met me at the MCC this morning at 7:30am for her second time watching the prison birds. We started off on the ‘el platform, but all was quiet in the area around the nesting niche. After some time, I decided we should wander over to the garage top to get a better view of the area in hopes of seeing one or both adults out and about. I have to admit, after the fight we saw earlier in the week, I was really, really hoping we’d see two healthy birds.
As we reached the Clark street intersection, we spotted an adult high on the corner of the EPA building. The familiar cloud of feathers surrounding the bird signaled high-speed plucking after a successful hunt.
“With any luck, after it prepares the prey, it will take it down to the nest ledge. That should give us confirmation that they are nesting,” I told Gracen.
But, no. The adult plucked and plucked and then ate before settling in for a nice, long preen. The garage top does not afford a direct view of the west side nesting ledge, so I opted to watch from the ground, still hoping we’d see some nest activity. After about an hour, the adult on the EPA took off, did a few circuits around the prison, and then lazily soared off to the south. Damn.
Gracen and I went back up onto the ‘el platform and purposely missed a few of her trains so that we could keep watch. There was absolutely no activity, so when a third pink line train rounded the bend, I told her to go ahead and hop on. She seemed as disappointed as I felt. Ah well.
I decided to stay up on the platform for just a bit longer. I pulled a logic puzzle book out of my bag and sat down on the lone patch of platform without a tar covering. It’s amazing how many of my old pairs of jeans have big splotches of tar-stains on the butt all due to hours skulking around that platform watching for the jailbirds.
Wouldn’t you know, not more than 5 minutes after Gracen left, I heard eeeee-chup, eeeee-chup from inside the nest niche. Since no adult had gone in, it had to be the second adult! I put my puzzle book down and gave the nest my full attention. Not long after, an adult flew in from the south, landed on the nest niche ledge and dropped a bit of late breakfast down inside. Much back and forth vocalization ensued. After the breakfast deliverer took off, vocalizations from inside the nest continued long after.
So, what does this mean? Here’s the for sures:
1.) There are two peregrines at the MCC.
2.) Two peregrines are using the northernmost west-facing niche for “something”.
3.) Two peregrines have used the northernmost west-facing niche for nesting in the past.
4.) One peregrine is staying down inside the northernmost west-facing niche while the other one goes out and about.
So, that probably means nesting. Yay! Next item — leg bands.
UPDATE: Sean and I had a birthday party to attend in Uptown (Happy 40th birthday, John!!). I figured since we were taking the brown line anyway, we’d catch the train at the LaSalle station and do a quick early evening check on the MCC.
We heard a bird eeeee-chupping from inside the nest as soon as we got to the top of the platform. I looked up and saw another adult soaring around in the sky above our heads. After a few minutes, the adult in the sky flew out of sight, going north. The eeee-chupping from inside the nest abruptly stopped as the flying bird disappeared and the nest adult popped up on the ledge, craning its neck out to look north.
There is another explanation for this behavior and the behavior I saw this morning, besides nesting. It is possible that the MCC adults still haven’t produced eggs and the adult in the nest was the male, working on the scrape and trying to get the female to come in and check it out. Time will tell — keep you posted.