Male chick finds his wings

Our male chick, still unnamed (we’re working on that), had another busy day, gaining strength and skill as he flies. By the time volunteer James Kennett arrived at 6 a.m., he had already flown from the previous night’s low perch (Column 2, Row 4 on the south face) to a higher one on the west face. Apparently this was exhausting, and he did a face plant on a narrow ledge, lying completely limp for long enough that we started to worry. That was about it for the morning.

Faceplant. This is what happens after making your first eight or more flights in less than 16 hours.

In the afternoon and evening, he flew several times and spent a lot of time on the roof. He’s now flown to every face of the building, and has made several impressive if heart-stopping longer flights looping out from the building.

His sister remained on the nest ledge (Col. 3, Row 1 on the south face) all day. She was quiet for much of the day, but did practice some wing flapping, especially in the evening. After spending the previous night near her, the parent retreated from her sight for most of the day. She clearly missed them and her brother. They spent a long time calling to each other when he was perched in the roof more or less above her. He finally flew back to the nest ledge, and they would have hugged each other if they could. They nuzzled and cooed for a while before falling asleep as it got darker out.

Perhaps the most interesting observation today was the arrival of two very brave Barn Swallows who harassed the falcons for a good 5-10 minutes. They circled and dive-bombed the perched chicks and adult male, and chased the adult when it flew. The local baby groundhogs also provided entertainment.

Today, James Kennett and his wife took the early shift with Dominique Marshall (who deserves major kudos for alerting us to the chicks in the first place). James deserves thanks as well for his idea to name the ledges as if the building face is a spreadsheet (e.g., the nest ledge is Col, 3, Row 1 on the south face). I arrived around 8 and held the fort alone from 11 to 12 until Chris Traynor and Marie Clausén came by. Nancy Scott and I spent the afternoon at my place, updating contact lists and instructions and dealing with various logistical issues. Then we did the evening shift together.

Considering the short notice and new location, we’re still playing catchup. But with one chick flying with growing confidence, the stress level has dropped a bit. That said, I’m still sleep-deprived .. Zzzzzzzz

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