Outdoors blog: Look who's flying now
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
First Duluth falcon fledges successfully
A peregrine falcon chick flaps its wings as it runs along a ledge on a building in downtown Duluth building Friday morning. The chick, a male, was the first to fledge among four chicks raised at the Greysolon Plaza building. (Sam Cook photo)
Falcon chick 75C has flown.
The male peregrine falcon chick being raised in a nesting box on the Greysolon Plaza building in downtown Duluth apparently fledged sometime early Friday morning.
“We got here at 9, and he was gone,” said Julie O’Connor a naturalist and educator with the Peregrine Watch program. “We didn’t find him until 11.”
The slightly damp and frumpy looking chick had found a ledge on a building overlooking the alley behind the Greysolon building. He spent part of Friday resting on the ledge, then periodically ran back and forth across the length of the building flapping his wings.
“When a bird fledges, it’s not uncommon for them to stay where they land for two hours to two days,” O’Connor said. “They’ll run back and forth and hop around. They’re developing muscle and coordination.”
The mama falcon sat on the corner of an adjoining building where she could keep an eye on 75C and also on her nest box. The adult male periodically left the nest and buzzed downtown.
Three chicks remained at the nest as of midday Friday. One of them, a male with band number 74C, perched on a bar extending from the nest box. At intervals, he would flap wildly as if ready to take flight, but he kept at least one foot clamped firmly on the bar. All of that activity is part of the chick strengthening its wings and testing its balance before flying.
Another male and female chick remained inside the box, not yet ready to flex their wings in pre-flight activity.
Meanwhile, across two lanes of steady traffic on Superior Street, O’Connor and fellow naturalist Katie Brown-Mesedahl used spotting scopes to watch the birds. The two naturalists told passersby what was happening and encouraged them to use the spotting scopes to view the falcons.
Peregrine Watch is a program of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Naturalists will be available at Lake Place Park on the Lakewalk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday through Saturday through July 11. Viewing is free.
An adult female peregrine falcon keeps an eye on its chick, which had just fledged Friday morning, from a nearby building. The adult is one of pair of falcons that is raising four chicks on the Greysolon Plaza building in downtown Duluth. (Sam Cook photo)
A peregrine falcon chick flaps its wings energetically Friday morning while keeping a firm grasp on a bar extending from its nest box on the Greysolon Plaza building in downtown Duluth. Falcon chicks flap while stationary in preparation for their first flight. (Sam Cook photo)