Aug 04 2009
During the Peregrine Recovery Program (1970 to 1999) when peregrine falcons were exceedingly rare, scientists and volunteers monitored their entire nesting cycle to insure the nestlings survived to adulthood.
A critical step was to watch the fledging stage when the young birds first flew from the ledge. If fledglings landed on the ground they’d be vulnerable to predators or, in urban settings, to being hit by cars.
Trained volunteers monitored the nest sites and carefully returned grounded peregrine fledglings to their nests. The practice became known as Fledge Watch.
Nowadays there are fewer fledgling accidents at the established urban sites, and peregrines aren’t so rare any more but many Fledge Watches continue, often as social occasions and an opportunity for peregrine enthusiasts to see the birds do exciting things.
Pictured here is a Fledge Watch at Schenley Plaza in June 2009, across the street from the Cathedral of Learning where the Pitt peregrines nest.
(photo by Mark Klingler)