Falcons fledge

Webcam viewers are finding a nesting perch noticeably quiet after three peregrine falcon chickens fled the coop on Tuesday.

The three peregrine falcon chicks in their nest box on the Telus tower.

The three peregrine falcon chicks in their nest box on the Telus tower.

Webcam viewers are finding a nesting perch noticeably quiet after three peregrine falcon chicks fled the coop on Tuesday.

The chicks, named Scout, Telli and Nadira in an Advocate-sponsored contest earlier this summer, left the nest on top of the Telus tower mid-afternoon in Red Deer’s Highland Green neighbourhood.

Judy Boyd, spokeswoman for the Red Deer River Naturalists, said the three young ones and their parents should be hanging in and around the nesting box until they fly off to South America this fall.

“The parents will still be feeding them and teaching them to hunt here,” Boyd said. “I’m not sure if they’ll travel together (down south).”

The naturalists group is looking for a secure webcam location where people can see the birds flying around in Red Deer. If there is anyone who has a good view of the nest box, they can call the naturalists at 403-347-8200.

Since April 24, thousands of people from around the world have been logging onto various websites, including the bprda.wpengine.com, to watch the peregrine falcons. The Advocate website has received 59,488 page views, making it one of its most popular online features.

“We had people from every continent, but the Antarctic, watching,” said Boyd. “The talk is (on chat rooms), ‘What are we going to do now?’ ”

Perry, the female, and Windsong, the male, began incubating five eggs, but two went missing, likely because the parents knew they weren’t viable. The three eggs hatched in mid-June.

“Nadira was born a day later and was always the runt but is doing quite well,” said Boyd. “I think he’s a male, just because he’s smaller.”

Once they get their adult plumage, it should be easier to tell whether they are male or female, Boyd said.

Viewers were aflutter when the parents brought in mice or birds they had just killed. As the chicks, officially known as eyas, got older, they no long had to be mouth fed and so the parents would leave the kill inside the nest.

“There would just be this mad mob and they would attack the food and the parents would let them eat for a while, until they became disinterested,” Boyd said. “Then the parents would come back in and feed them the rest.”

The Red Deer River Naturalists invested in the webcam while Telus provided the manpower for installation and will pay for the power source. Alberta Fish and Wildlife invested in a new and improved nest box — one keeps owls and ravens out.

Boyd said they will consult with Telus about future plans prior to the falcons’ return next year.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com