Falcon chicks spotted in nest box
Local birders have missed out on their daily views inside Red Deer’s resident falcons’ home in 2013, but for the few dedicated accipitrine watchers, there has been some good viewing this year.
Because the live streaming webcams placed within a falcon nesting box on the Telus communications tower in Highland Green in 2010 have been down for most of the year, it is not clear if all of the four eggs laid in the nest this year have hatched and produced healthy fledglings.
But at the very least three baby peregrine falcons have been out and flying in the area since June.
Watcher Anne Hermary has regularly visited underneath the site during the summer, photographing the birds she sees above as they perch, feed and dive down at great speeds.
She believes she has seen four young birds, but acknowledges that she could have mistaken one for an adult.
Since monitoring began in 2010, all of the babes that have hatched have survived the early days and fledged. However, in 2011, excitement over egg sightings was followed by disappointment, as three eggs laid in the nest were eaten by the father, Windsong, and the mother, Perry, and the other two did not hatch.
Perry was found dead later that year with an abundance of chemicals in her body. Last year, another female, Nessa, took up residence on the tower.
One of the young birds born this year has not grown up in Red Deer, however. Judy Boyd with the Red Deer River Naturalists had to catch one of the young after it got in some trouble and ended up sitting on an air conditioning unit below the tower.
“She sat under the tower all day and didn’t move when people approached her,” said Boyd, adding that the bird was not seriously injured.
After keeping the falcon overnight, she was handed over to Gordon Court, a biologist with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, and taken to the Pembina River Gorge near Entwistle as part of efforts to encourage peregrines to repopulate the area.