South Loop’s Mr. M. is back!
Those bad South Loop peregrines decided not to use their brand-spanking new and beautiful nest box this year, for reasons that defy understanding. Instead, they’ve returned to the building they nested on in 2009 and have laid three eggs in a planter. It’s a safe enough spot, so that’s good. They are wild animals and control their own destiny, so what are you gonna do?
Mary, Matt and I went over to check things out this afternoon. As we walked up to the building, we saw a nest exchange take place. When we arrived at the actual nest site, a smaller peregrine sat snuggled into a planter. Our movements caused him to pop up off the nest and ‘lo and behold, it was Mr. M.!
I’m psyched about this because in 2009, Mr. M. injured his leg pretty badly and we were quite worried about him surviving the season. Not only did he survive that season, but he came back in 2010 and he and his mate, Helen, raised and successfully fledged three healthy chicks.
Due to our rather tough winter, I was again a bit worried about Mr. M. Seems as though I shouldn’t worry quite as much — seems to be a tough bird, that one! His leg looks gnarled, but completely healed and has very good color.
The female (probably Helen) made several passes at us as we examined the eggs, but didn’t land, so I couldn’t get a leg band on her. Considering how aggressive she is, I anticipate I’ll have plenty of chances to get her bands during the season.
Oh, btw, yesterday Mary and I went up to Waukegan to retrieve the one abandoned egg. The other four eggs looked great, but the one off to the side had a puncture in it, so that’s why she pushed it away. The adult female, Fran, refused to go more than about 4 paces away from the eggs, so we could read her bands easily with the naked eye. Good to see her back!
Tomorrow, we will go up to Wacker to check the eggs, which we fear have been abandoned after a fight occurred between the adult pair and another male usurper. I hope that both Rahn and Joe are ok, but neither has been seen at the site since the fight, so …
After Wacker, we will take pea gravel up to the River Bird’s nest. Dave T. has emailed some pictures of a peregrine sitting in a very “incubatey” position, so we’re pretty sure we’re going to find eggs. I wonder if it is Autumn Rose again? With any hope, I’ll be able to get her bands and the male’s too!
I’ve been watching the MCC and have witnessed one nest exchange between the adults, so that looks really promising. I know I’m not the only one hoping that we have MCC chicks after a few years of nothing (hi, EPA and Dan!) They are on the western side of the MCC in the northernmost niche. This means watching from the ‘el platform — difficult since the CTA personnel seem to find me suspicious for some reason, so I have to continuously pretend I’m waiting for someone and can’t take out any of my gear to get a closer look at bands. I need to make a friend in the CTA so they can see I’m not shady, but rather just one of the many looking after the non-human denizens of our fair city.
I have a new spotting scope on the way, as my old spotting scope has decided FOCUS was sooooo 2009. With any hope, it will have enough reach for me to read bands at the MCC from the street.