Today was the first day of the Falcon Watch, and we certainly did not start too soon. Pringle practised lots of wing-flapping and stretches today while Ivanhoe and Rowena played hide-and-seek with him.

Yes, I said “him”, because the chick looks much closer in size to his father than his mother. Obviously I can’t absolutely confirm Pringle’s gender, but that’s my best guess at this point.

Anyway, back to today’s events …

Pringle was somewhat active in the morning while Jorgen and I watched, until he was overcome by a long midday nap (Pringle, not Jorgen). During this time, the adults stayed nearby but out of his view, which is normal at this stage. Withholding attention as well as food is necessary to encourage the chick to start flying.

Things got lively later in the afternoon, during Laura and Brian’s shift. Apparently they got ready to run a few times, not because Pringle seemed quite ready to fly, but because he almost got knocked off his perch by strong gusts of wind while stretching his wings. He also took some short, hoppy flights on the nest ledge. Meanhile, Ivanhoe and Roewena did some teasing, flying past the nest ledge or landing there just briefly before taking off again — another ploy to get Pringle to fledge.

This pattern continued well into the evening, during my shift with Claire. At some point, Pringle just started screeching and kept it up even when the adults brought him a couple of scraps and a tad more attention. This, along with more wing flapping and hops, continued until just before nightfall, after Ivanhoe brought him a more substantial (though still not very generous) meal. Eventually, as the sky grew dark, Rowena joined her chick on the nest ledge and they both settled in for the night.

The melanistic baby groundhog made a few appearances again today, as did the local pair of Mallards (let’s call them Fred and Martha), who decided to hang out with Claire and me for a while. Among the other birds spotted or heard were lots of Chipping Sparrows and Cedar Waxwings, young families of White-breasted Nuthatches and European Starlings, a female Downy Woodpecker, Common Grackles, Yellow Warblers, American Robins, Song Sparrows, American Crows, Black-capped Chickadees, a Great Blue Heron and a few Double-crested Cormorants. There were large flocks of Ring-billed Gulls, some very brave Rock Pigeons, and a few Mallards other than Fred and Martha. For the third time this week, I saw a pair of Black-crowned Night Herons headed back to Sawmill Creek during the evening (a visiting birder told me they hang out on the river near Carleton University during the day).



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