North Broadway Banding
Mary and I drove up to Broadway to meet Matt, our friend Kris from the USFW and Kris’ son Miles, all ready for the Broadway banding. We weren’t quite sure how many chicks to expect. Auntie Em had laid five eggs, but she’s an older female, so it is not unusual for only one or two to hatch. We met with security downstairs and one of the guards said there was only one chick but that, “It’s huge!!”
We band in the small lobby area on the peregrine nest floor. As everyone set up the banding gear, I went to the small windows to look out and see if any adults were around. Unfortunately, the windows were pretty dirty. On top of that, we had an extraordinarily foggy day for Chicago. I mean, it really looked more like San Francisco, with a thick bank of fog rolling in off the lake. Pretty, but not the best for viewing the in-air antics of the fastest animal in the world.
Matt and Kris went into the small room adjacent to the nest and went out the window. I stayed in the lobby area and did the best I could to try to catch the adults in flight. Because the windows are about four panes of reinforced glass, polarized and dirty, I had to set the ISO really high to get enough shooting speed. I was hoping this wouldn’t make the photos so grainy that I wouldn’t be able to read anything on the bands. I did the best I could do as the adults came roaring out of the fog and passed by the windows as lightening speed.
Indeed, there was only one chick, but she was indeed a large and healthy one, so that’s great. Consequently, the banding didn’t take very long. Matt said that Auntie Em refused to move when he went to get the chicks, so he just grabbed her and held on to her inside while Kris went out to get the chick. That’s the third adult female this year that Matt has gotten to hold during chick retrieval!
When I sat down later to pull the shots off the camera, I was pretty dismayed at the dismal quality. That said, I did get bands and Oh Boy, what a surprise it was. Turns out, we found Stan of the Uptown. I think I’ve mentioned before that Zoom is still at the Uptown but she has no eggs. Monitors up there had been reporting that they’ve only seen one bird for most of nesting season. We’d sort of assumed that something had happened to her mate Stan early in the nesting season. Something did, apparently. Stan obviously had his head turned by another older female up the way. So! The Stan mystery is solved. I wonder who he will end up with next year?