May 23 2014

Two At Tarentum

Published by at 7:20 am under Peregrines

Peregrine chick, Tarentum Bridge, 22 May 2014 (photo by Sean Dicer)

Peregrine chick, Tarentum Bridge, 22 May 2014 (photo by Sean Dicer)

A small, enthusiastic crowd was on hand yesterday morning for the peregrine banding at the Tarentum Bridge, rewarded by close looks — and photos — of the two peregrine chicks: one male and one female.

The event began at the boat launch parking lot where viewers watched as the PA Game Commission’s Dan Brauning and Tom Keller and the PennDOT crew swung the bucket under the bridge to the nest hole on the main-channel arch.  We knew the nest location because Rob Protz, myself, and others had seen juvenile peregrines peeking from the hole.

PennDOT bucket approaches the nest hole, 22 May 2014 (photo by Mike Fialkovich)

PennDOT bucket approaches the nest hole, 22 May 2014 (photo by Mike Fialkovich)

The adult peregrines attacked but could not deter the banders.  However, when the bucket got to the nest hole the two chicks were huddled far inside out of reach.  Tom Keller crawled into the hole!  Look at him stand on the bucket edge before he disappeared inside!  Yow!

PGC Wildlife Biologist Tom Keller disappears into the peregrines' nest hole, Banding Day Tarentum, 22 May 2014 (photo by John English)

PGC Wildlife Biologist Tom Keller disappears into the peregrines’ nest hole, Banding Day Tarentum, 22 May 2014 (photo by John English)

Tom retrieved the chicks and the bucket swung up to the sidewalk to weigh and band them.  The crowd joined to watch.

Tom Keller, left, and Dan Brauning, right, band peregrine chicks at Tarentum Bridge, 22 May 2014 (photo by Mike Fialkovich)

Tom Keller and Dan Brauning band a peregrine chick at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Mike Fialkovich)

Each chick received two bands: US Fish & Wildlife on the right leg, color band on the left leg.  Here, Dan Brauning crimps the silver USFW band.

USFW band on Tarentum peregrine chick (photo by Sean Dicer)

USFW band on Tarentum peregrine chick (photo by Sean Dicer)

 

Dan estimated the chicks were 35 days old yesterday — only four to nine days away from first flight.  Rather then put them back in the nest hole, exposed over open water, Dan wet them down (to keep them from trying to fly right away) and placed them on the mid-river bridge pier where there’s a good “runway” for take off.

Stop by the Tarentum Bridge soon to watch these young peregrines.  They’ll be making their first flight some time between Memorial Day and the end of the month.

Peregrine chick banded at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Sean Dicer)

Peregrine chick banded at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Sean Dicer)

Let the fun begin!

(Thanks to photographers Sean Dicer, Mike Fialkovich and John English for generously lending their photos)

p.s. Click here for Mary Ann Thomas’ report at Alle-Kiski TRIBlive

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Two At Tarentum”

  1. John Englishon 23 May 2014 at 9:32 am

    It was also interesting to watch the Allegheny rise about a foot while we were there! The fishing pier we stood on to take photos at 9:00 was submerged by 11:00.

  2. Kate St. Johnon 23 May 2014 at 9:36 am

    Allegheny River: whoa!

  3. Robon 23 May 2014 at 10:11 am

    “Let the fun begin!”

    Yes, in the immortal words of Art McMorris: “Who needs TV when you have Peregrine Falcons!” :)

  4. Donnaon 23 May 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Yay! Thanks to Dan, Tom & PennDOT!

  5. Seanon 23 May 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Great article!!

  6. John Thomsonon 24 May 2014 at 2:30 am

    Unbelievable. You guys really know your stuff. What did the Peregrine Mom lay her eggs on inside that bridge’s main channel arch? In that situation would they ever bring in nest material for some cushion and insulation? I will read your page Kate “Sitting on eggs- or not” to see if that page discusses my question. Thanks for exciting coverage. I would have loved to be there.

  7. Kate St. Johnon 24 May 2014 at 7:00 am

    John, peregrines do not bring in nest material. The site has to have substrate (dust, gravel, debris) which they then shape into a nest scrape.

  8. John Thomsonon 24 May 2014 at 8:29 am

    Thanks Kate they have a rough start in life. Gravel mattress.

  9. Rob Protzon 24 May 2014 at 9:46 am

    Actually John, this was is dirt if it’s the same as last year. Art McMorris took a picture last year when we only had one unhatched egg. The floor of the scrape chamber was all dirt.

  10. John Thomsonon 27 May 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks Rob I feel better about there scrape they are a tough bunch. Thinking of first 6 weeks in mostly darkness seems to be a disadvantage.

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