May 05 2014
Peregrine nesting season is not going well at the Green Tree water tower. As far as we can tell, the pair has no nest.
In March we were hopeful when observers saw the peregrines actively courting. On April 1 they were still mating when Shannon Thompson confirmed that the female is unbanded and the male has bands. This is exactly opposite to the pair from last year when the female’s bands identified her as Dorothy and E2’s daughter from 2011. (I wonder where she went.)
Since then the situation has gone downhill I stopped by on April 26 and witnessed some strange interactions.
When I arrived I heard a peregrine wailing and saw one perched on an upper crossbar facing the central shelves (click here to see the shelves). Soon this peregrine flew up, circled out, and returned. It was carrying prey.
Upon its return I heard wailing and kakking. A second, unbanded peregrine flew out from a shelf under the water dome. This one had been in a fight and was missing some primaries and secondaries on its right wing. It flew to a mid-level crossbar, landed clumsily, and hunched over with its wings drooping on either side of the perch. It wailed and wailed.
The peregrine carrying prey landed far to the right. This one continued to wail but eventually scuttled over — still hunched — to receive her meal. The male flew away. She continued to hunch and wobble before she began to eat. She was so clumsy that I was fooled into thinking she could not stand, but I was wrong.
I stayed for 40 minutes, watching her eat and preen. When she was done, she kakked halfheartedly and flew poorly in the strong wind to a perch on the other side of the water tower. When I visited yesterday she was alone.
I haven’t seen a nest exchange at Green Tree but I have seen some very cranky behavior. What is it all about? I don’t know. It’s a mystery.
p.s. The first photo shows the male flying in with prey. For a better look, click on that photo to see its full size original.
(photos by Kate St. John)