Evanston Banding

•May 30, 2013 • Comments Off on Evanston Banding

One female, three males.

The team (sans me) banded the Evanston chicks today in front of the usual big crowd at the library. I haven’t gone these past few years because there are plenty of people to help with the actual banding and the Evanston monitors are so good, they always have the adults ID’d early in the season. Nothing for me to do except stay out of the way!

Evanston’s Nona and Squawker had three boys and one girl. In a seriously classy move, the folks up there decided to name one of the male chicks GIES in honor of team member Matt Gies. That really made me smile. He deserves a namesake after over 20 years of working on the Illinois/Chicago Peregrine Program. The other males were named PLATON (the “little falcon” character in War and Peace) and HUMPHREY (for Humphrey Bogart who played Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon). The lone female was named SHAE, which the library’s website says is a feminine variant spelling of English unisex name Shea, which probably means “hawk-like”. I’ll have to take the library’s word on that one as I am NO linguist. They go on to mention that it is also the name of a character in the popular George R.R. Martin book series Song of Ice and Fire, which has been made into the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. To this, I can attest, as Sean and I are huge fans of both the book series and the HBO television series. With hope, peregrine Shae won’t follow in the footsteps of fictional Shea — I’ll leave it at that for those who have not up to date in the books. No spoilers here!

South Loop Banding

•May 29, 2013 • Comments Off on South Loop Banding

Chick NabbingTwo females.

The second banding of the day was at South Loop. Our friend, building engineer Safet, met us downstairs and after a bit of catching up, we went up to the roof. A few ladies from 1130’s marketing team decided to join us as well. Maria Callegari, the Assistant Marketing Director at 1130, got some great shots of Matt, Mary and I going out on the roof to get the chicks. She sent them to me and said that I could post them to Flickr, so thank you Maria! Since I mainly take care of photography for our little group, we generally don’t have shots of us all together, so the shots are great to have.

Both of the South Loop chicks were females, so I lost the bet I made with myself that one was male and the other was female. That said, one female was quite a lot larger, so at least I got the size difference right.

As usual, Mr. M. was on fire in the air! Even with two of us on broom, he nearly got a hit or two in on us due to his extraordinary aerial skills.

Oh, it is worthwhile to reiterate since the pictures of us with the brooms are on Flickr. We do NOT use the brooms to hit the peregrines. Quite simply, we hold them up to present the peregrines with a higher target than our heads. When they swoop down to hit, their feet hit the flexible and soft bristles on the broom instead of our helmets. It’s good for the birds and it is good for us. Even with the gear on, it doesn’t feel great to get hit by a peregrine. It can really ring your bell.

BELL! That reminds me. Last weekend, Sean and I went to the big REI sale and I got a new really nice all-weather windbreaker and a new helmet (Bell) that actually fits my head. For years, I’ve been using Sean’s old bike helmet. Sean’s head is considerably larger than mine, so the helmet was constantly falling forward over my eyes. I’ve also had it fall completely over to the side when I’ve been hit, which I suppose provides great protection for one of my cheeks, but leaves the top of my head exposed. So, GO new helmet!

Pilsen Banding

•May 29, 2013 • Comments Off on Pilsen Banding

The Two Pilsen Male ChicksOne female, two males.

The team did two bandings today. Pilsen was the first site for us. When we opened the door to the nest area, the female was in the box. She popped out and puffed up three times her size, trying to scare us off. It didn’t work, but I, for one, was impressed. We banded three chicks — two males and one female. They were all healthy and squawky. I was able to identify both adults. One of my favorite males, an unnamed male who I call “Lynn”, still rules the roost at Pilsen. He’s a hometown boy from our North Broadway nest. He is 13-years old this year! The female was Bob, who was here last year as well. She’s changed her nest defense protocols. Last year, she was up in the air and swooping a lot. This year, she came a lot closer in, even landing to take us on from the ground a few times. Good to see that pair is still going strong!

Getting ready for bands

•May 28, 2013 • Comments Off on Getting ready for bands

Meals is over Was watching the South Loop cam this afternoon and saw a feeding. We are banding these two tomorrow and they are just the right age. Both the chicks were sitting back on their tails while Helen fed them, so they seemed a little smaller than her, but if they were standing all the way up, I think the larger of the two chicks would be about the size of their mother.

We are also banding Pilsen tomorrow. We don’t have adult IDs there, so I’m excited to get that info. Evanston is Thursday, but I’ll miss that one because I have to stay at the museum and work. Friday is the river birds and Saturday is Millennium Park. Next week is packed too. Then, we will have a bit of a break before our late bloomers are ready at Wrigleyville, Wacker and UIC.

R.I.P. Rahn and chick

•May 24, 2013 • Comments Off on R.I.P. Rahn and chick

Rahn Mothering Her ChicksSad news to report. Rahn was found dead by CBCM about three miles west of the nest site today. We are not entirely sure what happened to her as her body was in very bad shape. Rahn nested at the South Wacker site starting in 2006 and over the years fledged 15 young from that nest.

I wrote about Rahn previously because the team was very happy that she’d finally found a mate, laid eggs and hatched them after a couple of difficult and chick-less years. This is such sad news for the team and for all of the people who watch the Wacker nest (the oldest nesting site in the state). That said, I do find some solace in the idea that Rahn did live to see her young hatch.

Rahn’s new mate, Curtis, is carrying on raising the chicks on his own. He did lose one of the five, but five was a huge number of mouths to feed even for a pair of adults, so it is probably for the best.

Update on a few nests…

•May 20, 2013 • Comments Off on Update on a few nests…

May 20th at the South Loop NestGetting a lot of catch up work done for insects and scholarship committee today, so I was at my desk all day, which means I got to watch some falcon cam!

The South Loop Duo is doing great. I got a call from someone worried because she hadn’t seen a chick on the feed for hours. I told her that I would bet money that the chicks were sleeping directly under the camera and, thankfully, while I was on the phone with her, one chick popped into view. Helen came in not long after to feed her two, so our caller was relieved. This will happen more and more as the chicks get older and more mobile, so don’t worry if you don’t see them!

The Evanston Four are getting big. I think we will be banding them sometime next week, though I probably won’t go up for that, since there will be plenty of hands on deck and thanks to the Evanston monitors, we always had adult ID’s in early season. I got to see Squawker come into the nest with food. He jumped down, looking ready to feed his chicks, when Nona came in and sent him on his way so that she could do the feeding. I have a two composites posted on Flickr.

Two of the five Savanna eggs appear to have hatched. The Savanna cam has been a bit difficult this year as it times out frequently and sometimes isn’t up for days. Today, though, I finally got a look at the two chicks and even witnessed a feeding. They look great too! The composite is up on Flickr.

Waukegan also appears to have two. One of the adults came in to feed them as I was watching and then laid down next to them to nap a bit. Being a parent is hard work! The composite is up on Flickr.

New Wrigleyville Pair

•May 16, 2013 • Comments Off on New Wrigleyville Pair

Wrigleyville Adult Male with EggsMatt and I went up to Wrigleyville to meet with a woman lucky enough to have peregrines nesting in the planter box on her balcony. Talk about front row seats!

Both of the adults are unbanded. The male is very, very tiny, but pretty. They currently have four eggs and all seems healthy and going as planned. They are about two weeks behind everyone else, so their eggs should be hatching sometime this week.

I have to say that the peregrines have great taste. The view over the wide expanse of Lake Michigan was breathtaking. I wonder what it would be like to watch a summer storm from that vantage point. Talk about spectacular.

Wacker Looks Good!

•May 15, 2013 • Comments Off on Wacker Looks Good!

Wacker Adult Female: RahnI spent an hour at the Wacker site this morning while Matt and Mary were off at another site. What an hour it was!

Rahn, the Wacker adult female since 2005, has had a bit of a tough time at Wacker. Her first mate was Etienne, a beautiful male from Etobicoke, Canada. I credit Etienne for being able to pronounce Etobicoke correctly. Etienne died in 2008, sadly, but Rahn soon found a new mate named Joe, who was a tall drink of water from Milwaukee. In 2011, Joe disappeared. We think he was killed in a fight with another male as the dead body of another male was found beneath the nest at the time Joe disappeared. Doesn’t take Jessica Fletcher for that one. That year, Rahn laid eleven eggs, but since she didn’t have a male, none of them hatched. In 2012, an unbanded male was seen hanging around the Wacker site, but Rahn again laid a bunch of infertile eggs and the nest was abandoned. This year, we all had our fingers crossed that Rahn would have a mate and finally raise some chicks again.

Wacker Adult Male: CurtisGood news on the first point! Rahn has a mate. His name is Curtis (b/r 57/D). Curtis was born in 2010 on the EMS building at UW-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rahn likes those Milwaukee boys. He’s quite a good looking bird and was present and protective as soon as I popped my head out to check out the nesting particulars. As to Rahn, she was sitting on five eggs! This is good news on the second point!

Now all that has to happen is for the eggs to hatch.

Catch-up, as usual

•May 13, 2013 • Comments Off on Catch-up, as usual

I know making a bunch of posts all on one day is NO way to run a fine blogging establishment, but unfortunately, that’s just the way it goes with me sometimes.

I wanted to mention that I’ve had some really nice emails from folks who found this blog. Keep the sightings coming! This is great information for us. Today, I will be meeting with a brand new contact named Glen to get a fresh view on the activity around the MCC nest. I am so excited! This kind of interaction is exactly why I started this blog and also the Flickr group. So, thank you to you all!

For my part, I will try a lot harder to be more timely with posts. I do ask for a bit of patience, though, because a lot of times I wait to post anything until I have a full, clear picture. I’d rather be as accurate as possible, even if that means I’m not the first to break the story. Maybe some of our 24-hour news channels could take a page from that book? 😉

UIC Update

•May 13, 2013 • Comments Off on UIC Update

UIC_13May13_1130aJust checked the nest cam and saw a nest exchange. UIC has FOUR eggs, not three.

Note the scraped Nitz and her mate have constructed. It is so perfect, it almost looks like someone went out and built a small campfire pit! It watched Nitz stretch her back legs out from under her to kick a big rock into the correct alignment. Pretty OCD, but the scrape is very photogenic.