Breaking news! The Downtown peregrines are considering a move back to the Gulf Tower.
On Friday morning Ann Hohn looked through the blinds at Make-A-Wish and … Oh my! There’s a peregrine out there!
It’s been two years since the Downtown peregrines have frequented the Gulf Tower. They left in the winter of 2011-2012, scared off by the rooftop lighting project. The rooftop lights were fully installed long before the 2013 nesting season so we thought they might come back to Gulf last year, but they didn’t even try. Instead they nested again at their hidden location on Fourth Avenue where they fledged four young, all of whom landed on the street (not good!). Unlike the 40-story Gulf Tower their Fourth Avenue nest is only 12 stories high.
Though the Gulf Tower falconcam isn’t streaming video, it’s still turned on with motion detection so I pulled the snapshots to see how often the peregrines have visited.
On Thursday, January 30 they bowed at the nest.
On Friday, Ann saw them in the morning and afternoon and heard a lot of courtship noise (e-chupping). You can see that the female ate a big meal. Notice her very full crop.
Ann tried to read this bird’s bands to confirm her identity but the bird kept her leg feathers low.
On Saturday the birds again stopped by in the morning and afternoon. If these peregrines are the same individuals who nested here before, the first photo is Dori, the second one is Louie. (No visit yesterday, the weather was too miserable.)
Their repeated visits are a very hopeful sign but they’re still tentative at this point. The peregrines are wary because they’ve been scared off before. If humans appear outdoors on the Gulf Tower roof or at the nest, it could scare the birds back to Fourth Avenue. Yes, we know the camera cover is dirty but we’re afraid that cleaning it will spook them.
Ann has alerted Gulf Tower maintenance and we’ll have a dialog about ways to retain the peregrines. We really want them to nest there this year.
Dear Downtown peregrines: Please make yourself at home.
(photos by Ann Hohn at Make-A-Wish and the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)
p.s. There is no link to the Gulf Tower camera yet. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.