Update July 16, 2012 - Over the past week Apache was spotted from the roof of the Liberty Tower and was flying well. Torpedo has been observed on the 16th floor of the Liberty Tower. There have been no signs of any problems or injuries with the falcons. The young peregrines will still need close observation in downtown Dayton. They have passed their first hurdle but are still inexperienced flyers and over the next few weeks will need to hone their skills. Daniel and Dayton will pass pre-caught birds to the youngsters in the air so they can practice their hunting skills and agility. This time is a good time to view the falcons in flight in downtown Dayton. As long as none of the young peregrines need human assistance they will stay in the area until the end of summer. When Apache and Torpedo have enough skills they will leave Daniel and Dayton to find their own territories and hopefully one day raise young of their own.
Update July 9, 2012 - Apache and Torpedo have not been visible very often on the FalconCam, so it has been tough to track them. Fledging, the process of young birds learning to fly, usually takes place at about six weeks of age and the chicks should have started fledging around July 4, at the earliest. Observations at the Liberty Tower indicate that Torpedo is still on the roof and fine, but we do not know where Apache is. No reports of any problems or injuries have come in, so we believe he is OK. With the extreme heat, there will be very little action from the birds. In this photo you can catch a glimpse of one of the birds walking around outside the nest box on the Liberty Tower:
Update June 25, 2012 - Torpedo and Apache are growing up fast. Both chicks now have more adult feathers than downy white fluff. The chicks are venturing out to the ledge in front of the nest box. The camera was bumped slightly during the banding but the chicks have been visible most of the time on the camera. Adjusting the camera at this point could disturb the chicks because they are more easily stressed at this age than when they are younger. Soon the peregrine falcon chicks will be starting to fledge! Fledging is the process of young birds learning to fly. The chicks usually start fledging at six weeks old and the chicks are now four and a half weeks old. If you don’t see them on the camera image it is because they are practicing leaving the nest box by walking on the ledges around the box.
Check out this link to see how the chicks have grown in such a short period of time:
Update June 18, 2012 - The chicks received their identification bands today. At three weeks of age the chick’s legs have stopped growing in width and chicks with larger diameter legs are determined to be females and chicks with a smaller leg diameter are determined to be males. Measurements were taken and wildlife biologists from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife determined the chicks to be one male and one female. The identification bands should stay on the young falcons their whole life without causing them any harm and are designed to be extra sturdy so the falcons cannot remove them. On the bands are identification numbers for that chick and color coding indicating the region the birds are from and the year they hatched. The female chick is named “Torpedo” and the male chick is named “Apache”. The names of the chicks were selected by Diana Malas from the Division of Wildlife and Betty Ross from Glen Helen Raptor Center. Here is an image of the ODNR staff placing bands on one of chicks this morning – with the help of some young visitors:
During the banding the chicks were removed from the nest box on the 22nd floor of the Liberty Savings Tower and brought to a room located on the 6th floor. Daniel and Dayton circled over the building and called loudly until their chicks were safely returned to the nest box.
Update June 13, 2012 - A date for the banding has been set!
The chicks are doing well and are already two and a half weeks old. They will be banded Monday, June 18 at 10am. If you watch the Falcon Cam during this time you will be able to see the chicks removed from their nest by Division of Wildlife biologists. While the chicks are gone from the nest they will be fitted with a unique identification band on their leg so they can be monitored as part of the effort to increase the population of peregrine falcons. The adult peregrines may be upset during this time but the chicks will be returned to the nest as quickly as possible. At three weeks of age the chick’s legs have stopped growing in width and can be fitted with an identification band. Female peregrine falcons are larger than males so the width of the legs is a good indicator of their sex. This photo shows one of the chicks from a previous season being fitted with their leg band:
Update June 4, 2012 - As of Saturday only two chicks could be seen in the nest box. It is possible that the chick that was significantly smaller than the other two did not survive. Dayton is actively caring for the two remaining chicks and Daniel has been making regular visits to the nest box.
Update May 31, 2012 - Dayton and Daniel have three chicks! Review of past images confirms that there are indeed three chicks in the nest. As of today two of the chicks appear to be larger than the third chick. These two chicks also appear to be receiving more food from Dayton.
Update May 29, 2012 - Dayton and Daniel have two chicks! The first chick hatched on May 23 and the second chick hatched on May 24. Both chicks appear to be doing well. Dayton feeds the chicks by tearing small pieces of birds brought to her by Daniel and placing them in the chicks’ beak. In this image you can see how Dayton tears a piece of the meal for the chicks by standing on it and using her beak:
After she has a piece torn off she will place it in the beak of the chick as they eagerly stretch their necks forward:
At times the chicks are not visible in the nest box. When they are not able to be seen they are safely tucked under Dayton. She broods the chicks, keeping them warm with her body, until they are about a week old and they can maintain the correct body temperature on their own.
Update May 23, 2012 - One of Dayton and Daniel’s eggs has hatched! One fluffy white chick can be seen under Dayton and it is possible a second has also hatched. One empty egg shell can be seen next to Dayton from the hatchling. For the first 24 hours the chick will use energy from the remaining yolk sac that he had while still in the egg. Within a day Dayton will begin feeding the chick. The baby chicks eat the same food as their parents, mostly birds brought to her by Daniel. Dayton will tear tiny pieces using her beak and feed them to the chick.
Update May 21, 2012 - On May 20 it was discovered that Dayton actually has four instead of three eggs! She has been sitting tightly on the nest so it has been difficult to get a good view of the eggs. With a total of four eggs the hatch date could be pushed back a few days. Incubation does not start until the last egg is laid and our hatch date of May 21 was calculated from the date the third egg was laid. In this photo you can see four eggs in the nest box.
Update May 16, 2012 - Dayton is still incubating three eggs. In this image you can see all three eggs beneath her as she repositions herself on the nest.
May 21 is the predicted hatch date for the eggs so keep a close eye on the FalconCam over the weekend and early next week for signs of hatching. Inside the eggs the chicks will use their egg tooth, a bony projection on their beak, to chip open the end of the egg. Upon hatching the chicks will only weigh an ounce and a half but will grow quickly and, if all progresses normally, will be the same size as their parents by the time they are six weeks old.
Peregrine falcons are a threatened species in Ohio. The peregrine falcon’s status in Ohio was changed from an endangered to a threatened species in 2008. This change was approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council due to the success of statewide reintroduction and conservation efforts of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and its partners.
Update May 7, 2012 - All appears calm at the nest box. Both Dayton and Daniel share incubation duties, with Dayton on the eggs the majority of the time and Daniel assisting to maintain the ideal temperature of 99.5 F. Occasionally, the eggs may be left alone for short periods, but one of the birds will always be nearby keeping a close watch over them. Daniel spends time hunting and will bring food to Dayton. Peregrine falcons eat birds such as starlings, pigeons, doves, blackbirds, and waterfowl. Peregrines may use a variety of hunting techniques, but typically prey is captured in the air after fast pursuit or a rapid dive, or stoop, to catch the prey. In this video you can see a peregrine falcon in a stoop:
Where is Dayton and Daniel’s nest located? The peregrines nest high atop the Liberty Tower in downtown Dayton. The building is located on Second Street. The picture below shows the falcons’ nest box from the rear. The wooden arm on the side of the box is where one of the cameras for the Falcon Cam is mounted.
Update April 30, 2012 - If incubation proceeds as expected Dayton will now spend most of her time incubating the eggs with Daniel giving her a break every now and then. She will turn the eggs every hour or so during the incubation process. Here you can see how she sits tightly on the nest:
If hatching occurs as predicted, around May 21, this clutch of three eggs will hatch later in the year than typical for the Dayton pair. Although they did not survive, two chicks hatched on the ledge around April 25 in 2011, and in 2010 Dayton and Daniel’s chicks hatched on April 28. This year’s eggs have a later start than past clutches because they are a second clutch laid after the nest on the ledge failed to proceed. It is not unusual for eggs that are not viable to be abandoned by the adults. There are many potential causes for a failure to hatch and no way to tell what might have caused the eggs on the ledge to fail. The streaming video image has been switched from the ledge to the nest box so we can watch closely as incubation proceeds in the box.
Update April 23, 2012 - On April 9 a newly made scrape was discovered in the nest box on the Liberty Savings Tower. A scrape is a shallow depression in the gravel that serves as the nest for the falcons and the first sign that the box was being prepared for eggs. In addition to the formation of the scrape,, the falcons seemed to be spending a lot of time in the box. On April 14, in the early morning hours, an egg was laid in the nest box. In this image you can see the first egg in the scrape:
During the weekend that the first egg was laid in the nest box there was also evidence that the falcons were no longer tending to the nest on the ledge. Several times they landed on the wall of the ledge but did not venture down to the gravel where the eggs are. By April 18 we had a total of three eggs in the nest box and that date will serve as the start of incubation of the new eggs. It appears that Dayton has abandoned her nest on the ledge but is tending to the eggs in the nest box. If incubation proceeds normally the new clutch of eggs should hatch around May 21. Here Dayton can be seen with all three eggs:
Update April 9, 2012 - Dayton continues to spend almost all of her time incubating the eggs. The eggs were discovered on the ledge on March 19. If incubation proceeds normally the eggs should hatch around April 21. Peregrine incubation averages 32 to 34 days and the incubation process starts towards the end of egg laying. Dayton’s choice of a nest location on the ledge has made it difficult to get a close view of the nest and we do not want to risk disturbing her while she incubates her eggs. The current camera is a wide angle lens meant to allow us to see the entire view of the inside of the nest box but is not ideal for focusing on a nest far from the camera. The best view of the nest is during the morning hours when the shadow of the building does not block sunlight from the nest. It is possible that the camera can be adjusted closer to the hatch date when Dayton will be less likely to abandon the nest so far along in the incubation process. Today the streaming image was switched to the ledge so it is possible to identify Dayton by her movement when viewing the streaming video. This photo shows where Dayton is usually seen on the ledge.
Update March 26, 2012 - Over the past two weeks Dayton and Daniel were not visiting the nest box and no scrape was visible in the box. On Tuesday, March 22, Diana Malas, wildlife biologist with the Division of Wildlife, went to the Liberty Tower to investigate. Dayton’s nest was found located on the same ledge where she nested in 2011. Three eggs are present in the nest on the ledge but we are unsure of the exact date they were laid. The camera on the nest box was pointed down and now a view of the eggs on the nest can be seen on the Falcon Cam.
Peregrine falcons lay an average of four eggs in a clutch with each egg typically laid a few days apart. Incubation is now underway and the eggs will synchronize to hatch around the same time. Dayton spends the majority of her time sitting on the nest keeping the eggs warm and turning them. Daniel assists by giving her occasional breaks and bringing food to her while she tends the nest. We are not sure why Dayton chose not to use the nest box provided by the Division of Wildlife this season. Her ledge nest is located on the 20th floor of the Liberty Savings Tower this year. This image shows where the nest is now located:
Update March 5, 2012
Welcome to the 2012 peregrine falcon nesting season!
Images on the FalconCam confirm that two peregrine falcons have been visiting the nest box on the Liberty Savings Bank Tower in downtown Dayton. Although it has not been confirmed the pair is likely to be the same pair using the nest box since 2008, Dayton and Daniel. Daniel, the male, is fitted with a leg band marked D/83. The female is thought to be an unbanded peregrine nicknamed “Dayton”. Because she is not banded it is difficult, if not impossible, to confirm her identity and origin.
In this image you can see one of the first sightings of a peregrine falcon visiting the nest box. In 2008, 2009, 2010 Dayton and Daniel successfully laid eggs and raised young in this nest box . The 2011 season was unsuccessful for the pair. A scrape, or loosely constructed nest, was formed by the pair in the nest box. For unknown reasons Dayton and Daniel stopped visiting the nest box and seemed to have mysteriously disappeared. Soon Dayton was discovered on the Liberty Tower with a new nest on a ledge a level below where the nest box is located. The FalconCam was repositioned to view this nest. Dayton laid five eggs in the nest on the ledge and two of the eggs hatched but the chicks only survived 11 days.