Amber alert!

The afternoon was relatively uneventful. Well, except for Data practicing some aeronautic tricks — doing partial barrel rolls, extending his talons during flight and perfecting the art of landing on the security camera post. And except for Amber literally climbing the wall to try to reach her brother on the ledge above (she made it three-quarters of the way). Yes, that counts as a slow shift at the 2012 Falcon Watch.

Early in the evening, Amber got some food (of insufficient quantity or quality, judging by her complaints) and promptly set to work making volunteers nervous. She flapped and beetled, hopped on and off the sides of the ledge and took a few flying leaps across the ledge. Then, suddenly, she was off! She flew to the east side of the building, tried to land in a ledge-less area, dropped down and swiftly barelled around to the back of the building.

I chased her on my bike while Chris, Dominique, Frank, Jen and Alex ran. (I can cycle slightly faster than Chris can run, but he’s noticeably more agile when manoeuvring over the many high curbs. Surprising, really, considering his age (Just kidding!)  We searched the north side of the building for a while before spotting her on an adjacent, lower roof. Settling for a safe yet modest perch for the rest of the evening was evidently not an option, as she immediately began flapping, beetling along the edge of the roof and scrutinizing the main building.

Frank and I headed to the west side in case she decided to launch herself again, while other covered the east and south sides. We waited while she worked her way back and forth, eventually settling for the NE corner of the lower roof. Settling, in her world, means sitting still for more than a few minutes. As we kept an eye on the spot where we last saw her, Frank and I saw a large bird hurtle from between the buildings, swoop gracefully if forcefully past us and over our heads, and land carefully on the roof.

Could that be her? It seemed obvious yet improbable, so I called Chris and asked if she was the bird we saw flying. No, she was still of the low roof, otherwise they would have seen her take off. The large body, the flappiness, the near-slip off the roof flashing accompanied by a tiny shriek … knowing Data as well as we do, it soon became obvious that our chunky chick had acquired a stealth takeoff technique — perhaps a cloaking device — to elude her Falcon Watch crew.

Yes, there was Amber, perched on the SW corner as night fell, staring out over her quickly expanding empire and already plotting her next early-morning escapades.

Good night, Amber. And stay away from Bronson tomorrow morning, okay?

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