May 19 2011
If you’re watching the Cathedral of Learning falconcam between 9:00am and 10:00am this morning, you’ll see some unusual activity.
Today the peregrine chicks will be banded. (Here’s what “banding” means.) The parent birds, Dorothy and E2, are very familiar with Banding Day activities, though they don’t like them.
It happens the same way every year.
As soon as the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Beth Fife comes out on the ledge, E2 flies around “kak”ing and Dorothy stands guard with her hackles up (shown above from last year’s Banding Day).
If given the chance Dorothy will attack Beth and both of them could get hurt, so Beth captures Dorothy with a net (shown below) and sends her indoors with her chicks.
As soon as the area is clear, Beth cleans the nest.
Indoors, all the birds are given health checks and the young are weighed and banded. The process takes less than an hour, then Beth delivers the chicks to the nest and Dorothy is released.
The first thing Dorothy does when she’s free is to circle back and try to attack Beth. Beth is the one Dorothy guns for and she comes mighty close. I think she blames Beth for everything — even the clean nest.
I’ll be at the banding today taking pictures with my cell phone. Look for an update this afternoon.
(photos from the National Aviary snapshot camera in May 2010)