Jun 11 2009
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)