Nearly there

Pringle-June-21Pringle started the day quietly, staying more or less out of sight for much of the morning and early afternoon while Claire, Marian and Dominique were monitoring him. The adults, Ivanhoe and Rowena, also made themselves scarce.

Around 2 p.m., though, Pringle decided it was time for some flying practice (not practice flying, just to be clear). So he perched far out on the ledge, spread his wings and started madly flapping. He didn’t appear to want to actually fly — in fact, he seemed to be adjusting his direction and the angle of his wings precisely to avoid accidentally taking flight. It was more like he wanted to test these wing things and figure out how they work.

It was quite a display, and went on for a long time. I made sure the towel and gloves were handy and got ready to run. But he stayed on his ledge. Phew. One of the reasons we prefer to have at least two people per shift is that it’s hard for one person to simultaneously run and track a falcon’s flight. Better to have someone hang back to see where the bird eventually ends up, and use the two-way radio to guide the runner. Yes, that was a shameless plug for more volunteers.

Anyway, done with flapping practice, Pringle contemplated the world around him, as if he’d never noticed the details before: ledge, walls, overhang, ground below, passing insects and fluff … He also spent a lot of time examining his feet by holding them up to his face (one at a time, of course!), and trying to figure out how to put them to use scratching his head without scratching out his eyes.

Ivanhoe brought him food — twice — and that was all I saw of either parent between 1 and 5 p.m. The food drop brought its own excitement. On the first visit, Ivanhoe landed on the opposite side of the ledge with what appeared to be a sizable meal. Pringle eagerly flew/hopped over to his father. He’s usually more wary of of his parents’ bait-and-switch routine, and tries at first to act nonchalant when they visit. Then, clutching the food in his talons, he hopped all over the ledge and even caught some air. I advised him to first learn to fly, then worry about flying with food, but he didn’t listen.

He seemed awfully hungry, which may be why Ivanhoe soon came back with a bonus pigeon wing for him. Pringle worked away at his dinner for quite a while — such a generous meal meant he most likely wouldn’t be flying today.

Brian, Frank (welcome back!) and Chris took the evening shift and watched more flapping. In Chris’s words:

Pringle looks strong. At one point he did what I think was the longest sustained wing-flapping (in a stationary spot) that I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a few. I was impressed. Mom and Dad brought him a snack but took it away from him right away. That’s a good sign. Maybe he won’t get to be a chunky only child.

Here’s hoping that Pringle takes his inaugural flight this weekend, when there are more volunteers around to chase after him.

Snapping Turtle update: I saw one digging a hole along the bike path this morning. It may well have been the same one as yesterday (same size, same location 12 hours later), but this time her choice for a nest site, between the river and the path, seemed a much safer option than trying to cross Riverside Drive.

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