Weather Event and Scheduled Banding
Yesterday’s weather episode seems to have dampened the chicks’ spirit for exploration, as today has so far found them resting within the confines of the sheltering nest box. A tornado warning was issued for Richmond and neighboring localities on the afternoon of May 22. Although a tornado failed to materialize in metro Richmond, funnel clouds were reported downtown and there were high winds, heavy rain, and quarter-sized hail. The event caught the two chicks while they were out on the ledge, leaving them drenched. Both seem to be doing fine today.
As in past years, the two peregrine chicks will be banded this year. Banding allows us to keep better track of the recovering peregrine population. When a banded bird is re-sighted, its bands can give us information on its origin, age, sex and movements. While teaching us about individual birds, this collective information can also paint a picture of the status of broader peregrine populations and can be used to better inform management strategies to aid in their restoration. The banding date has been set for the morning of Fri, May 30th. The chicks will then be old enough to better determine their sex (the larger females take larger leg bands), and still young enough to avoid the risk of premature fledging that would be encountered with older, more mobile chicks.
Also as in past years, we will be placing the banded chicks in a pen fastened to the nest box. There have been past instances of Richmond peregrine chicks fledging prior to having fully developed their ability to fly; the chicks had to be rescued from busy city streets where they ran the risk of being struck by oncoming traffic. The pen allows us to prevent such accidental or premature fledging. When the chicks are old enough to fledge, they are released from the pen. The pen consists of a modified dog kennel with bars that allows the chicks to move about, that provides ventilation, and, most importantly, that allows the parents to continue feeding the chicks. The chicks will continue to be dependent on the parents for their food until they learn to hunt once they have taken wing.
chicks resting in nest box