I heard a sound that woke me out of my sleep a few weeks ago; the sound to me was of a bird in distress calling for its parents for help. The call was almost constant and so desperate that I felt compelled to get up and to 1st see if I could see what bird was so distressed and 2nd see if there was anything I could do to help it. It was about 5:30-6:00 in the morning and the sky was dark and it was raining lightly, but there on the roof across from my back yard was the object of my search and the maker of the eerie sound that woke me from my sleep; there on the roof was a very wet falcon, a Peregrine Falcon no less. I rubbed my eyes again just to make sure I was seeing clearly as I turned to get my camera. The falcon was hopping about and looked to be totally drenched. The rain was stopping and was little more than a drizzle, but through my lens I could see that if this falcon was not injured it would be sometime before it was dry enough to fly very far. The falcon would cease its calling to work on its feathers and flap its wings and then get right back into the calling.
In more prosperous times this would have been cause for me to stay home and observe this bird, but things being what they are I was forced to put down the camera and go ready myself for work. By time I had finished with the amenities and a small rushed breakfast I was back at my back door, camera in hand and to my wonder and delight there were now 2 Peregrine Falcons sitting on the wires. It is at times like these that you wish that you did not store your strongest lens camera in your car, but I did manage to get a good shot of what I hoped were new residents to the neighborhood. As I watched the new Peregrine Falcon seemed to be encouraging the other one to fly and as I watched with delight one would fly not to far to a roof top and begin calling to the other and not stop until the 1st falcon took to the air and joined it. As I watched this marvel of nature unfold I was glad that I owned my own business and knew that I would be rearranging my day so that I could get back home as soon as possible to continue my observations.
This rather dull picture reflects the dreariness of the morning and illustrates that when I left the falcons were accepting of each other and were getting to know each other and I wondered to myself is this the makings of a mating pair of falcons, or siblings who have not gone their separate ways yet? I realised that day that this camera was only good for taking family pictures and that I would never try to take wildlife photos with it again. I would have to bring my other camera back and forth if I was to avoid not being prepared for a future surprise visitor, of which their seem to be many of late. I have heard the skunks and even been told by neighbors that the raccoons have been raiding the garbage and gardens after dark. I forced myself to shut the door and put the camera away and headed off to work.
I would share with you one picture that is not of the falcon, because it shows something that I have read about and seen on a television show, but had not for myself before and that is how prey knows, or senses that it has little to fear from a predator at certain times. Some distance away on the same power line a drenched European Starling sits motionless, seemingly unafraid of the 2 falcons. I am guessing that it inherently knows that if it is too wet to fly so is the falcon and if this is the case it is in no danger. If there is a drawback or a downside to our new residents it is the noticeable absents of small birds I the area. Now we get a lot of seagulls by the flock who although are weary and careful at all times, still come to raid garbage pails.
When I returned home in the early afternoon it was sunny and I had a better camera and it appeared to be lunch time. The 2nd falcon to arrive in the morning had just brought what looked to be a small rodent, or plucked small bird and dropped in on the roof. The 1st falcon was not in a sharing mood and kept walking off with the food and turning its back whenever the 2nd falcon tried to get any. I will try to put the pictures leading up to this one and after it in the slideshow in sequence to illustrate just how determined one falcon was to get some of the food and the other falcon was to keep that from happening and what ended up happening in the end.
There were many mini flights throughout the afternoon and into the evening from roof to roof and from the power lines to the roof and a whole lot of wing flapping. I wondered where the falcons would sleep this night, whether In a tree or on a roof, or if they would even be there in the morning? The last question I would only know the answer to in the morning and the other 2 questions would require more observation time to discover where they nested during the night. The power in every wing beat is truly something to behold as is the beautiful patterns and colors of the Peregrine Falcon’s feather arrangement from wing to wing and from head to tail. I heard somewhere and I am not sure exactly where that the powers that be are reintroducing the Peregrine Falcon back into the city and that the falcons have no trouble with food abundance since there are plenty of pigeons, sparrows and other small birds for them to catch and eat as well as a variety of small rodents. this all happened on day 1 of my observations and I can not wait to write about day 2.
- Police appeal after protected peregrine falcon found shot and in distress near Leigh (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
- Young peregrine falcon released back into the wild (wfmz.com)
- Peregrine Falcon Hatchlings Reach Record Number In Indiana (indianapublicmedia.org)