More peregrinations

A couple of days ago, after watching Data display some fantastic flying finesse on an empty stomach, Chris said: “Never has a falcon chick flown so much and so well and been rewarded so little.”

This morning, one could have remarked: “Never have so many Falcon Watch volunteers run so much and for so long after so many birds with so little to show for it.” Now I’m sure that’s not actually true, but someone could have said it.

Amber was still on the southwest corner of the roof when I arrived shortly after 6 a.m. The heavy rain had slowed down to a drizzle, and she seemed undaunted by what must have been a miserable night on the roof. Data must have flown up to the roof at first light, and they waited together for breakfast. There made a commotion when Rowena dropped off some morsels, then calmed down as they sat and digested for while. Dominique, Lorraine and I had a chance to chat and get lulled into a sense of complacency. We couldn’t really expect the falcons to be very active on such a grey, damp morning.

Not much happened for a while after Lorraine left and John arrived at 7:30 a.m. For the next hour and a bit, we looked but couldn’t spot the Great Crested Flycatcher that was calling in the trees west of the building. We watched the Chipping Sparrows, Chickadees, Red Squirrels and baby groundhogs frolicking. I finished my coffee, put on a sweater (the temperature seemed all over the map today) and got ready to settle in and jot down some observations in our notes binder.

Fat chance.

The chicks, done with digesting, moved closer to the south face of the building and perched on the edge. Amber started flapping a bit, then launched herself into the air. She dropped a bit, turned, then raced off around the west and north sides of the building with her mother — and me — in pursuit. Dominique ran in the opposite direction, where she would in theory be able to see them fly back into view. As Amber disappeared around the back of the building, I realized the deviousness of her flight plan. By flying in tandem with another falcon at high speed, staying well below the roof line and hewing tightly to the sides of a rather massive building, she would be impossible to track by just three admittedly post-adolescent volunteers.

Still, we tried. I raced not around but through the building — a surprise to many public servants who were perhaps not expecting to see a tall woman in yoga shorts, a raincoat and leather gloves, with an old towel draped around her neck, yelling into a walkie-talkie as she sprinted through two sets of doors, across the main lobby and out through the opposite entrance.

Back outside, I looked up to see four falcons headed in at least 12 directions. I tried to spot Amber, and thought I saw her speeding after Data as he flew to the far end of the vast parking lot and boomeranged back, never more than 30 feet above the ground. Both chicks then activated their cloaking devices and disappeared somewhere around either the front or the back of the building.

To be continued …

 

One thought on “More peregrinations

  1. “perhaps not used to the sight of a tall woman in yoga shorts, a raincoat and leather gloves, with an old towel draped around her neck, yelling into a walkie-talkie as she sprints through two sets of doors”. This is priceless!