Richmond Falcon Cam

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All three have flown

Following the first successful flight of the young male, the two juvenile females were somewhat more cautious. One of the females slowly scaled the roof line using a strand of holiday lights (the lights are unplugged) and finally reached the apex of the roof. The other perched on the box that houses the camera equipment. Both females practiced getting the wind under their wings for some time before finally taking flight. Both of the two females flew strongly and were able to gain altitude.

One of the females did quite a bit of flying - eventually attempting to "land" on a window at the Federal Reserve building. She was unable to gain any purchase and was able to fly back to the Riverfront Plaza West Tower. A short time later she attempted the same maneuver again. This time she was unable to regain lift and fluttered to the ground. DGIF personnel were able to enter the Federal Reserve property with an escort from Federal Reserve Police. The female was located - unhurt- perched on a small single story structure on the grounds. Although she was able to move to a slightly higher perch she made no concerted effort to regain the air. She was monitored at this location for some hours. As the site is extremely secure it was determined that the best course of action was to let her rest and try again tomorrow. Our past experience has shown that birds which have similar experiences often do well after an evening of rest. We will closely monitor the bird on Wednesday.

The other two fledglings were not seen for some time during the afternoon - although the adults made regular flights to favorite perches. Not until late in the afternoon was the juvenile male seen again - chasing the adult male and begging loudly. The adult male soon flew off to hunt. During his absence the second juvenile female was resighted and she joined her brother atop the Federal Reserve.

When the adult male returned the mother and juvenile male met him in the air - where he dropped his prey to them. It was caught (we're unsure by who) and the three flew to the roof of the Riverfront Plaza West Tower (nest building). They were joined by the juvenile female who had been on top of the Federal Reserve. In all, the day was largely successful. The difficulty encountered by the juvenile female demonstrates the potential hazards encountered by these birds fledging in highly urbanized areas. We are hopeful that she will be able to take flight on her own tomorrow morning. Should intervention be warranted DGIF staff will be on hand.