For the Birds Radio Program: Peregrine Watch, 2007
We may be in the hottest part of the year as far as weather goes, but days are getting shorter now and birds are preparing for another migration south. Shorebirds have been on the move for a month now, and hummingbirds and songbirds are starting their travels. Some of the birds most fun to observe right now are hawks and falcons, as the young birds hone their flying and hunting skills. The downtown Duluth Peregrine Falcons have been putting on amazing shows. If you can’t go there to see it, you can bring the action to you via the hawkridge.org webpage. Mike Furtman has provided some shockingly good action shots of the birds, and you can sign up for their email updates, written by Julie O’Connor and Debbie Waters. Julie contributed a fun entry this week. She writes:
At about 2:45, I couldn’t resist the urge to go up top by our Peregrine Watch site to scan the city. Neither the roof bird nor the chimney bird were visible, but as I reached the top of the stairs, I heard crows, several of them, causing a stir. To my right, at eye level, coming down the railroad tracks RIGHT AT ME was a baby Peregrine chasing 2 baby crows! The crows feinted and dodged, one landed on the bottom of the railing about 25 feet from me. The peregrine swooped up and over the railing, landing on the walkway, right beside the crow, and DIRECTLY (5 feet!!!) in front of 2 women sitting on one of the benches. I asked them if they could see the band number, but the bird was facing the wrong way for them to see it.
I circled up and behind them, and was able to read the band with my binoculars… it was [the male from the downtown nest,] Jimbo–C/92. He waddled back and forth, looking over the edge of the ledge and over the RR tracks. Several people came toward him along the walkway, and he never spooked! One of our daily visitors, Carol, was on her break-time walk, and was able to see him from a very close distance! He finally did hop off that ledge and flew over to the top of the rail right at the corner of the platform near the drinking fountain. There was a kid sitting there who took out his phone and took a couple photos of the bird–turns out that kid was one of Debbie’s high school ornithology students last summer!! He came over and talked to me, and will email me the photos. 2 other of our daily regular Peregrine Watchers were able to see him at that location.
After a few minutes, Jimbo hopped off that ledge and landed down on the ground right beside the paved part of the Lakewalk. A man and his little girl (5-7 yrs) were biking toward Jimbo, and the little girl didn’t even see him till he spooked when she got within 10 feet of him!
At that point, he flew back up to the railing within a few feet of me, where he sat again for several minutes. A family came through the walkway from Sup. St, and were less than 5 feet from him before he hopped off and flew down toward the lake on the rock beach. He landed in the little ‘stream’ or seepage and waddled around in there exploring and drinking for several minutes. He was in that stream when Jeff, ANOTHER one of our daily visitors to Peregrine Watch, came by for a once in a lifetime show. Jimbo made his way down to the edge of the lake, and stood there for 3 or 4 minutes before walking INTO the lake, presumably to bathe. The first wave that came in to shore, however, knocked him over, and he flew up, over the water, then circled back to where we were standing above the railing watching him. It appeared that he might land on either the railing or one of our heads, but he did veer up and away when he was less than 10 feet from us.
It was SO cool to be so close to him! I was delighted that some of our most regular visitors were able to experience him up so close. He’s a very beautiful bird, the lightest and smallest of the babies.
What a treat! I never did see 3 babies at once, and am looking for a report of all 3 sighted at the same time… keep your eyes open! :-)
That was Julie O’Connor’s Peregrine Watch report for this week, available at hawkridge.org. Check it out!