It’s embarrassing to give advice and not benefit from it myself.
Yesterday morning I met Laura Marshall and Gene Henderson for Fledge Watch at the I-79 Neville Island Bridge.
While we watched from the Fairfield Inn lot, Laura described the nest location in the middle of the span and I gave pointers on how to find the fledglings: “Watch the parents. They’ll show you where the fledglings are.”
In the beginning both peregrine parents were perched on a bridge abutment on the Glenfield side. Gene had been over there but they made warning sounds so he left.
The adults stayed at Glenfield a long time and then, in an unusual move, both flew to our side of the river and perched on a similar abutment. (Here’s Gene’s photo of an adult on that abutment.)
Sometimes the mother bird, Magnum, swooped down to the river and disappeared for a while. Sometimes we heard a juvie whining.
I walked to the Park-n-ride lot with two Fairfield Inn guests but we had to stay back because “Dad” peregrine made warning sounds at our approach.
Did we benefit from these parental clues? No.
Laura guided me and Tricia McIntyre to the Glenfield side where she has permission to watch the birds on private land. Magnum was still on the abutment on Neville Island and we saw two juvies walk the I-beam near the nest. None of us had seen the third juvie yet when Laura said, “There’s a peregrine on the piling across the river.” Ta dah! It was the third bird. He had fledged!
He was safe from predators on a concrete island eight feet above the water. His parents visited and demonstrated how to flap away. He dealt with three people in a fishing boat by shouting and walking away. (Read about the boat beginning with Mark B’s comment here.) He was fine.
In retrospect Magnum and her mate showed us exactly what was going on. I’ll bet their fledgling was on the Glenfield side when Gene was over there — hence their warning. They accompanied their son when he flew to the Neville Island side and “dad” warned us away. Magnum swooped down to the piling and we heard the juvie’s calls echo under the bridge.
I should learn from my own advice: “Watch the parents. They’ll show you where the fledglings are.”
(photo by Gene Henderson)
p.s. Fledge Watchers still needed at this bridge! Click here for directions.