A busy day

Pringle, the now 40-day-old Peregrine Falcon chick at Heron and Bronson in Ottawa, is not resting on his laurels. After dramatic first flights on Sunday, he got up before the early shift to start flying again. According to Rémy and Brian, he had already flown by the time they got there at 6 a.m., but his first foray to the food-caching ledge we call the “pantry” or “larder” didn’t start well when he landed on the anti-pigeon spikes. (The Data Centre really doesn’t need those anymore, thanks to the falcons!) He flew a few more times and was on the southeast corner of the roof taking a break at 9 a.m., when Rick, Gene and I got there.

We didn’t have to wait too long before he flew again. And again. And again … He kept us on our toes and the passersby entertained as he made his way to various sides and corners of the building. His flights were strong and stable, but his landing gear still had some glitches to work out. Several times he missed reaching the roof or ledge he was aiming for and instead had to loop back to try again. He also slipped and fell while doing some hops along the sheet metal roof ledge and fell about halfway down to the ground before catching himself. He recovered quite nicely by soaring away from the building and gaining so much altitude in the process that he flew right over the roof to land on the opposite side. We also watched him fly straight out from the roof, then spread his wings wide, make a sharp turn and double back to reach the larder. Rick said it looked like he was using the wind deliberately as a brake.

He ended up on the north side of the roof, where he got a meal and rested for a while, giving Laura, Marian, John and Chris a less dramatic afternoon shift. It was very muggy by then, so no doubt everyone was content to take it easier. He was on the move again by the time the evening shift took over. Jorgen, Claire, Frank and Dominique were relieved to find him on a sheltered ledge on the south side before the big storm hit at about 5:30. They were also relieved to find their own shelter in the form of Jorgen’s van, a dry place from which to keep an eye on the chick while watching the lightning show. Chris and Marie showed up once the sky cleared, just after Rowena brought Pringle another meal.

Frank reports that Pringle and his parents spent much of the evening on the south side of the Data Centre, and the chick was fairly quiet as he spent about two hours digesting his food. At 8:30 p.m., as the evening breeze began to make for pleasant flying conditions, he decided it was time to fly again. Chris likens Pringle’s enthusiasm to a kid learning to ride a bike for the first time and not wanting to stop.

He flew around the building, briefly landed on the southwest corner camera, then returned to the east side. According to Jorgen, he rested for less than a minute before Rowena pushed him off the ledge and guided him back to the south side and the ledge whence he had come. That was it for the night, as Pringle tucked himself back into the ledge for the night.

Where will he be at 6 a.m.?

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