Thursday, May 21, 2009


Funny thing about birds, especially raptors. Old Trunks does not remember seeing Peregrines or eagles in her childhood. How about you? Wasn't the eagles just a picture or something to see in a zoo? What do you remember about raptors? Hawks, maybe?

This morning, on live stream video, I watched the banding of four chicks at the Columbus, Ohio site. The chicks are about three weeks old and extremely noisy as each of them was taken from the box/nest on the ledge of the Rhodes Tower and brought to the banding room.

The beauty of this phase of the project is, the children who submitted names which were voted on by the mass public who watch the site on a regular basis, were there to be part of the 'ceremony'. The names chosen this year are:





The little girl who tagged the last bird was so cute. What the DNR representative asked the birds name, she blurted out for all the world to hear ECLIPSE. Pictures were taken with each bird and each child as well as a group photo.

Wouldn't that have been a lifetime experience? Although I have seen many eagles in flight and the lake as well as one sitting by the side of the road feasting on road kill, I have never held one. As for falcons, as a child, I only saw them in those movies from Robin Hood times when someone was using one for hunting. Doesn't everyone have an image of Robert Taylor in Sherwood Forest?

Rivaled only by the Osprey, the Peregrine Falcon has one of the most global distributions of any bird of prey. This falcon is found on every continent except Antarctica, and lives in a wide variety of habitats from tropics, deserts, and maritime to the tundra, and from sea level to 12,000 feet.

Peregrines are highly migratory in the northern part of their range. The local newspaper recently printed an article about a Peregrine which winters in South America and migrates back to the tundra each year. It is said it flies 300 miles a day. Bird lovers spotted it in Fargo.

Why are they plentiful now, you ask. Peregrine populations were once endangered due to pesticides like DDT. DDT caused the female to lay thin-shelled eggs that were easily broken, killing the developing embryo inside. After the banning of DDT, in the United States, The Peregrine Fund released more than 4000 captive-reared birds in 28 states over a 25 year period.
We have a pair of falcons nesting in a man made box on one of the banks. The site does not have a working camera, although it did in years past. It isn't unusual for Tom to see falcons capturing food in mid air. Although the diet is midsized birds, including pigeons, they will eat bats, as well.
When the parents are finished feeding the young, they pick up the uneaten portion of their kill with their beak and drop in off, sometimes landing in the flower bed of the building where Tom works!
What birds do you remember besides robins and Sharon LaCoe's pet crow?
Barn Swallows?
Let's hope you are more well versed than I am. Perhaps someone reading this has actually gone on a bird hunt. That might be interesting, don't you think?

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