Jun 06 2008
Though both of us walked past the Cathedral of Learning on our way to Schenley Plaza, neither of us noticed the young bird. It was only when Dorothy and E2 flew really low around the east and south face that Karen said, “I’ll bet one fledged. They never fly that low unless there’s a fledgling down there.”
Sure enough he was clinging to a narrow window arch above the 14th floor. His parents wouldn’t feed him in such a confined space so they flew back and forth, urging him to move to a safer spot.
That’s when E2 spotted the great-horned owl on the 4th floor roof. It’s a statue that rotates its head to scare the pigeons and it must have moved when E2 flew by. He totally freaked out.
Only 10 floors below their baby was their mortal enemy! E2 zoomed back and forth kakking and attacking. The owl wouldn’t budge (of course). Dorothy joined the fray and we watched two peregrines in attack mode only 40 feet above the sidewalk. The frightened youngster cowered on his perch, trying to look small and inanimate.
By 7:00pm, I was hungry and Karen had to go home. E2 and Dorothy were still kakking at the owl but slightly toned down. They weren’t flying at it.
My husband and I went to dinner a few blocks away and when we walked back at 8:30pm the fledgling was still on his perch and the adults no longer cared about the owl statue.
The fledgling will probably stay on his perch all night. Tomorrow at dawn he’ll be hungry enough to fly somewhere else. I hope I’m up and out there early enough to see it.
Thanks to Kim Steininger for permission to use her photo of a peregrine fledgling in Wilmington, Delaware. See more of her excellent bird photography at www.birdsbykim.com or click on the photo above.
p.s. Saturday June 7, 8:30pm: This evening two fledglings were perched on the 21st and 10th floors respectively. The third baby is still waiting near the nest. Maybe she’ll fledge tomorrow.
Monday June 9, 8:00am: Still only two fledglings. Yesterday afternoon the female nestling finally jumped up to the launching area. Maybe she’ll fly this evening.
Monday June 9, 2:30pm: She fledged this morning. At lunchtime Karen and I found the young female whining for food from the edge of the 32nd floor roof. All 5 peregrines are present and accounted for.