Flying high

After a stormy night tucked into the nest ledge (it’s good to be home again), Pringle got an early start today with several flights that tested his new-found skills. Lorraine and Langis kept an eye on him as he followed his dad to Ivanhoe’s favourite ledge on the top left of the south face.


Ivanhoe, left, and Pringle have a father-son moment. Photo by Langis Sirois

He flew some more until taking a bit of a rest on the southeast corner of the roof. As the chick posed on the roof edge and Langis set up his scope, young Ian just happened to drop by with his dad to see the falcons. Perfect timing to hook a future Falcon Watch volunteer!

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Ian gets a good look at Peregrine Falcon Pringle, 25 June 2013.

Ian was even lucky enough to see Pringle wing it over to the southwest corner. He (Pringle, not Ian) was still there when Jorgen joined me for the next shift. The next few hours consisted mostly of Pringle’s occasional but impressive flights around the building, followed by periods of us waiting to see where he might reappear. At one point he popped up on the south edge of the roof looking very scruffy. A closer view through the binoculars revealed the reason: He was soaking wet, after apparently taking a bath in a rooftop puddle!

Turns out the bath wasn’t necessary. As dark clouds rolled in around 1 p.m., both Ivanhoe and Rowena circled slowly overhead and then descended, as if to coax Pringle to follow them to a sheltered ledge. By the time he got the idea, the downpour had begun. He looked like he really wanted to fly, but his newly soaked feathers told him otherwise. Luckily, the sky soon cleared and, as Pringle dried off, a Turkey Vulture cruised right overhead. Clearly surprised by the sight of this large  black bird hovering just 10 feet over his head, Pringle let out a very funny (to us) series of panicked shrieks. No worries, as Turkey Vultures are more interested in dead things than in live prey.

Once he’d dried off a bit, Pringle wisely flew to the nest ledge before the next storm. When the lighting started, Janet, Frank and I also decided to head for shelter, with occasional forays into the rain to check that the young falcon was still on his ledge.

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Storm break: Frank and Janet talk science while waiting out the thunderstorm in a sheltered area.

After the rain stopped, the day’s fun really began. First Ivanhoe flew slowly past Pringle’s ledge, which prompted Pringle fly after him. The two circled the building a couple of times, the adult calmly soaring and the chick flapping madly to keep up. After a couple of rounds, Pringle landed on the roof to take a break. It didn’t last long. Rowena joined in the fun and led Pringle on a few loops around the building as well as some figure-eights over the annex, just as people were leaving work. Some of them noticed the commotion and watched with us as the spectacle continued. Soon, all three falcons were flying around and around and around.

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Eventually, Pringle was too exhausted to continue and just barely reached the edge of the roof for a much-needed break. That’s where he was when James and Nancy arrived for the last shift of the day.

Ian gets a good look a Peregrine Falcon Pringle, 25 June 2013.

Left to right, volunteers Frank, Janet, Nancy and James.

As a left, I was feeling a bit bad that they had missed all the excitement. But according to Nancy, the flying continued all evening. Finally, as the sky grew darker, one of the adults once again herded Pringle back to the nest ledge, where they snuggled up for the night.

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