Young Duluth falcons have exciting weekend

It’s been a wild weekend for the young peregrine falcons in downtown Duluth as they’re fledging from their nest near the top of the Greysolon Plaza bulidng. Here’s a Sunday update from Katie Swanson of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

For background on the birds, look at my earlier post and photos from Friday.

Here’s Katie’s update from Sunday:

“Wow, it has been a busy couple of days.

Rescuing young peregrine, Roger, E/33:

When we left (Lake Place Park) Friday afternoon, we had a feeling that one of our birds may try to fly during the evening or the next day. It just so happens that our inclination was right. However, it did not happen exactly how we expected it would. It was around 8 p.m. that I received a call telling me that one of our peregrines was on the sidewalk on Superior Street. I was downtown so I rushed over to get our rescue kit and get to the bird. When I got there I found out that the bird was our young male, Roger, band # E/33. He had been seen and picked up off the ground of a parking ramp first and then eventually landed on the sidewalk near Superior Street. I quickly picked him up without a struggle and put him in a pet carrying cage. I was able to meet folks from the Greysolon Plaza building bring him inside to evaluate him and eventually put him back on the roof of the building near the nest box. Roger was alert and had no injuries.

“The next day he had made it back to the top of the nest box, where he still stands a couple days later. Because he is still there, we assume his first ‘flight’ may have been an accident.

“Rescuing young peregrine, Faith, A/33:

The next day we watched the birds and all of them stayed on top or inside the nest box. They were practicing flapping their wings a lot. Later that night, I went to check on the birds again and I noticed one was missing from the box. So I decided I should go look for it. Moments later, I was driving down Superior Street and I noticed a young peregrine perched on a chain fence. She was not far off the ground and a crowd of people were taking photos of her. At this point, I rushed over and talked to the people, I was able to get someone to stay there until I could get our rescue kit. I was told when I returned that she had hit a window of the restaurant she was perched near. I was not sure of her ability to fly back up so I grabbed her and put her in the cage. Again, I contacted people at the Greysolon and brought her up to be evaluated and released. Thankfully, she was also OK after the crash. Now, here is the funny part: Around 20 minutes after I put her back up on the roof, she found her way up a ladder, onto the ledge of the building and was trying to fly again. She took two short flights on the building and one longer one. She flew around to the front of the building and tried to land on it but was instead scraping her feet and flapping her wings wildly trying to land somewhere. I went to the front of the building and found her on the overhang above the Greysolon building entrance. This was the lowest but still safe enough perch for her to be on. So, my coworker Miranda and I decided to stay and watch her a while to make sure she did not end up in the street. Eventually we had to go, and she did not move for a few hours. We were nervous to leave her, but we informed late night businesses nearby of what was happening and told them to call if there was trouble.

“Finding Faith. And Dani, A/34, fledges:

“When we arrived downtown today, Faith was not on the overhang anymore and was not on the street. We were very happy to see this. However, there was only one bird on the nest box, so that meant another bird had flown sometime when we were gone. We spent two hours looking in the morning to find the fledglings and around 11:30 a.m. we found Faith, with the help of a parking patrol. He found her on the ledge of the same parking ramp Roger was in on Friday. We were hoping we would not have to move her, and we decided we would just walk to her and see if we could get her to fly away. It seemed like it was safe enough because there were buildings underneath to land on and she had obviously flown enough to get from the Greysolon (last night) to here.

“We were able to get pretty close to her and check her out but shortly after we got near, she took a nice flight away. However, she went in front of a taller building and we lost her. After looking for another hour or so we finally found where she landed and she was joined there shortly after by her sister. After reading band numbers during the day, we found out that Roger (our first one that needed to be rescued) was still on the box, and the two females were the ones flying. We watched them all for a few hours and were able to keep track of the female fledglings. We saw them take a few flights that made us feel more confident about them not ending up on the road. This was a huge relief after all the rescues. However, we will still need to keep a close eye on Roger, who is still at the box.

“Tomorrow (Monday), we are supposed to be off, but we will still go out and try to see all the birds and make sure they are OK. So, stay tuned in to see if Roger flies and to hear about the others’ adventures.”

Katie Swanson, Volunteer Coordinator/Naturalist, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

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