Finally, news from the garage top
The jailbirds have been so elusive and quiet this year, I was convinced that their nesting attempt had failed again. This morning, I spent two hours on the ‘el platform, watching the activity at the site. One of the birds was sitting on the NW niche edge when I arrived, but since I can’t use any equipment when I’m on the ‘el platform, I couldn’t try for leg bands. This is sad, because I could have had the bands easily from that vantage point.
After about 5 minutes, the adult took off and flew southeast. I decided to just sit until I either was asked to leave or until I saw the adult return. I reasoned that if there was another adult down in the niche, I’d see a nest exchange at that time.
After about a half hour, the adult returned from the SE and perched on the AT&T building – a favorite spot for the jailbirds since I’ve known them. Sean met me on the platform and stayed for a bit to watch, but the bird on the AT&T building stayed put the whole time. At some point, I was fairly sure I heard a call from inside the niche, but Sean didn’t hear it.
Sean left for home and I hunkered down to watch. An hour or so later, an adult hopped up out of the niche. So, I had two adults within eyesight! I took my binocs out quickly and checked the adult on the AT&T. It was watching the 2nd adult with one eye as it napped.
The second adult took off from the nest ledge and flew north. Since I had my information (two adults at the jail for SURE), I decided to get home. However, as I reached the corner of Clark and LaSalle, I felt compelled to look behind me. I spotted the 2nd adult perched up on top of the annex building on the corner and hoofed it over to the garage top to get a better look.
My new scope again performed admirabely! I got a few chances to look at both bands. The USFW band was pretty crusted with dirt, but it was very obviously purple. I could read one number only — “9”. The other band was black over green with a “5” very clear on top. The green band, as always, was much harder to read, but after a bit, I could make out a sideways E very clearly.
This is “Emily” (2000, WEPCO Oak Creek Power Plant, Oak Creek, Milwaukee county, WI), longtime adult at the jail who I have taken to calling “Max”. I wish I had a picture! Hopefully, I’ll get one soon. Since by all appearances, they seem to be nesting, I’m sure I’ll have a chance! Can’t wait to tell Dan Cozza.