A hot, slow day, but not uneventful

Yesterday (Thursday) found our falcon friends on their usual perches around the building. When the temperature is very hot, they tend to prefer the ledges on the west face in the morning. As the sun moves across the sky, they chicks disappear to the roof and the adults make themselves scarce. Despite the intense heat, John and Tim reported seeing the chicks go for a bit of a flight together in the morning, and the chicks continue to improve their landing techniques.

In the afternoon, Data and Amber went on another brief outing together, circling over the roof a couple of times before disappearing from view. They remained out of sight for more than two hours, until Rowena returned. Data flew once around the building in pursuit of his mother before landing on the south face. Rowena continued slowly circling over the building as if looking for Amber. I searched as well, and some careful scrutiny from far, far back finally yielded a glimpse of her. She seemed to have woken up  briefly from a perch atop a structure near the southwest corner of the roof, where she had been hidden by some vents.

Shortly after Frank and Bethany arrived for the evening shift, Rowena returned again — without food, natch — spurring Data to fly off his ledge in pursuit. Amber also reappeared suddenly from the roof and took chase as well. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Data began chasing Amber — it seemed like he mistook her for Rowena. Amber was not amused and screeched loudly in protest as she tried to avoid his attacks. Frank caught a bit of this drama on video:

While it was disturbing to see Data harass Amber like that, it was very encouraging to see how she coped with the unexpected mid-air aggression. She evaded Data a couple of times, then fled to the safety of the building. Unfortunately, she headed for one of the vertical “slots” on the west face. These areas have no ledge or other landing surface. As we’ve seen before when the chicks end up in these slots, Amber tumbled quite close to the ground, then recovered and raced around to south side. She regained enough height to land fairly high up on the south side. This is typical of Amber: She doesn’t always land where she plans to, but she does land safely and on solid footing. Data is more precise in his aim but sometimes flails and struggles to maintain his balance upon landing.

Here’s Frank’s report on the balance of the evening:

Eventually, all of the falcons landed successfully onto respective perches of the southern face. There was much screeching for a time, and this encouraged Rowena to head out south for hunting. She returned an hour later with some food for Amber.  While Amber moved back on her ledge to feed on her meal, Data became agitated, but his calls dissipated. Eventually, Ivanhoe returned and landed on the south side, so the whole family was in one view. Data, still waiting for food, pursued his father in a circle around the building. Amber circled around as well but soon returned to her initial perch.

The rest of the evening was not too eventful. Data displayed his flying abilities when he flew around the building under the 20-30 km/h winds. He had to execute some elaborate maneuvers in order to move toward and away from the building. He eventually returned to one of the southern ledges and stayed there. The lightning later during the evening was too distant to produce thunder, and the falcons did not appear to react to it.


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