Jun 11 2009

We Can Fly!

Published by at 6:56 am under Peregrines

Peregrine falcon fledgling (photo by Kim Steininger)

By Tuesday all four peregrine falcon chicks had fledged at the University of Pittsburgh.  This is not to say they’re particularly good at flying, but they’re getting better every day. 

First flight was an exciting time for those of us watching from the ground.  Dorothy and E2 encouraged their chicks by feeding them less, zipping past them in the air, and bringing food to tempt them - but not delivering it.  The idea was to make the chicks flap so much that they’d finally take off and fly.

Last weekend Stephen Tirone knew the chicks were about to fledge so he took his video camera to the Cathedral of Learning on Sunday morning.  He sent me a YouTube link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn9A6-MMKc0) and I’ve got to say he was very lucky.  It looks like he captured the first flight of one of the female chicks. 

On Stephen’s video you can hear the chicks whining for food and see them flapping on the nestrail.  Then an adult swoops down from the antenna, the chicks flap even more and one flies off the railing – probably first flight. 

The action increases and it’s confusing!  An adult lands on the nestrail, then leaves.  A fledgling makes a botched attempt to land on the left wall.  An adult – probably E2 – appears to deliver food to the nestrail but instead dives straight down off the building.  Finally a fledgling lands on the nestrail next to her sister. 

It’s a good illustration of first flight and early attempts at landing.  The fledglings aren’t hurt – just clumsy.

I do miss seeing them on the webcam - but I’m very glad they’re flying.

(photo by Kim Steininger)

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “We Can Fly!”

  1. Janet Hon 11 Jun 2009 at 8:32 am

    I have so enjoyed watching your webcams in Pittsburgh. I got hooked on the Rochester Falconcam last year. Seeing this video of a first fledge is so exciting! Right place and right time and I loved it! Thanks to all of you!

  2. Jan Chrisensenon 11 Jun 2009 at 8:39 am

    What a wonderful video. Thank you, Stephen for sharing it. It was almost like being there!

  3. mary rauktison 11 Jun 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I work on the 23rd floor of the CL. I’ve been hearing for two days what sounds like the falcons. Then yesterday I sat outside trying to see if I could locate them. I think that I did see them flying around the CL upper floors.
    On a side note, my co-worker had one of the falcons eat a pigeon outside her window on 2320–on her airconditioner–last October. She said that it was thrilling to see one up so close.

  4. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2009 at 4:47 pm

    You lucky person! Yes you are hearing them. They are still begging for food from their parents.

  5. Pandionnaon 11 Jun 2009 at 5:16 pm

    First flights always move me to tears. Always. Awww!

  6. Kittyon 12 Jun 2009 at 2:17 pm

    WOW!! Great video! This Blog gets better every year. And, the folks that follow Kate’s Blog are adding to this wonderful experience. Kudos Kate, you are inspiring others to action and provoking interest in those who otherwise would have none (me).

  7. Tracion 12 Jun 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Whoo Hoo!! My 10/50 binoculars finally arrived!! I now have seen all of my neighbors house’s bricks in enourmously clear detail!! I am now a serious amateur bird watcher!!! :)

    I am going to Pitt this weekend – I hope it’s not too late to see anything!! now that I actually will be able to!!

  8. Kate St. Johnon 12 Jun 2009 at 4:35 pm

    The juvenile peregrines are certainly at Pitt. I saw 3 this afternooon: 15th floor North, 25th floor West and one on the corner of the roof nearest Dippy the Dino. With your new binos you’ll probably be able to find the fourth from your house. ;)

  9. Tracion 12 Jun 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Wow! What a concept!! I can actually see the Gulf Tower from one end of my house’s roof….during the winter, if I climb up onto my neighbors roof – I can see the COL. I might actually be able to see specs that are Falcons from up there now!!

    I am thinking that the COL team would view this end as part of their distant territory? I doubt they’d come out this far though -

    Still, when my child isn’t around to see me climb out of the house onto the roof (God forbid he figures that out!!) I’m going up there to see what I can see. I’ll probably have more luck with Tasha and Louie!!

    In the meantime, I can’t WAIT to get out to Oakland!! Maybe I’ll see a food exchange up close??? :) :)

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