Falcon Cam Final Update – July 27, 2018

DSC_1879

By ELIZABETH TOTH

Unfortunately, all three fledglings have experienced trouble.  Each of the young falcons has struck a building in downtown Dayton while learning to fly.  The first chick was injured on July 9 and the second fledgling struck a building on July 13.

The first two injured fledglings were doing fine and able to be released in downtown Dayton on July 17.  The third fledgling is now at Glen Helen Raptor Rehabilitation center in Yellow Springs with an injured wing and will require additional rehabilitation before its flight capabilities can be evaluated.

Editor’s Note: The Falcon Cam has been discontinued due to a lack of activity at the nesting site.

Elizabeth Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Advertisements

Falcon Cam – July 9, 2018: Fledglings Aloft!

By LIZ TOTH

July 9, 2018

The chicks have taken their first flights!  It is likely the two chicks that hatched first were the first to fly.  One chick remains on the ledge on the south side of the building which could indicate his flying skills are not as strong as the others yet.

The fledglings are now as large as their parents even though they are only about 6 weeks old.  Fledgling falcons have longer flight feathers than the adults to make it easier to learn the flying skills needed to become an excellent hunter in their first year.  The parents will continue to provide food for the fledglings.  Dayton was seen dropping off food for the youngster on the south ledge this morning.

This image shows the ledges on the east side of the Liberty Savings Tower with the nest box circled in red:

Liberty Bank Nest

Liberty Savings Tower

These ledges and the other buildings around provide good landing spots for short flights for the young peregrine falcons.  Since they have taken their first flights they are referred to as fledglings but will be dependent on their parents for food until they can hunt for themselves (about 4 weeks later).

Once the fledglings are adults and experienced flyers they can fly at about 60 mph when flying level and they are known to reach speeds of up to 200 mph when hunting in a stoop, or dive. Occasionally they will make it all the way down to the ground and land safely but are not skilled enough to make it up to a higher location from the ground.  If this happens the young peregrines may need help to make it to a higher location.

The young peregrines need close observation in downtown Dayton during fledging and will be monitored over the next several weeks.  The nest box, as viewed on the Falcon Cam, will often be empty until they can increase their flying skills and may return to the nest box as a safe location while they practice hunting with their parents.

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

 

Falcon Cam Update – June 14, 2018

By LIZ TOTH

June 14, 2018

The chicks are growing very fast.  They are now about three weeks old.  At this age, the diameter of their legs is full size so in the past they were banded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife at this age.

In 2015 they were removed, or “downlisted”, from the list of threatened species in Ohio.  The Division of Wildlife will continue to monitor select peregrine falcons nests in Ohio.  The Dayton nest is one nest of a sample monitoring program to assess the health of the peregrine population.

Data collected includes the presence of the falcon pair at the site, whether or not eggs are laid, how many of the eggs hatch, and how many chicks are successfully fledged at the nest.  Fledging is when the chicks take their first flights around six weeks old.

The two chicks that hatched earlier than their siblings already have dark flight feathers showing through their downy fluff.  By six weeks old the chicks will be as large as their parents.

The three chicks seem to be doing well.  It is hard to say why the fourth egg did not hatch, but we have only had four chicks three seasons in the 16 years of the Dayton Falcon Cam.

Now the chicks are much larger and are able to move around inside the nest box.Growing13June2018

One week ago they were unable to move very far and stayed grouped together:

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Falcon Cam – June 1, 2018

by Liz TOTH

The falcons now have three chicks!  Both parents have been spending a lot of time keeping the newly hatched chicks warm this past week as they were also incubating the remaining egg.

ParentPlusThree1June2018CThe third chick is a bit smaller than the two others that hatched 5 and 7 days ago.  The parents take care of the chicks keeping them warm and providing food for them. The chicks are unable to thermoregulate well for the first 10 days of their lives.

Daniel continues to do most of the hunting, especially for the first few days after a chick hatches.  When Daniel brings food to the nest box, Dayton tears it up by standing on it and holding it in place with her talons and ripping it with her sharp beak.  The chicks eat the same food as their parents and Dayton will place tiny pieces of food into their beaks.

Once the chicks are fed Dayton will eat some herself and then go back to feeding the chicks.  Almost all of their recent meals have been songbirds but it is possible they may bring a larger bird to the nest.  This image is just after the newly hatched chick had one of his first meals.

Liz Toth is Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Falcon Cam – May 26, 2018

by LIZ TOTH

The chicks are hatching!  The female falcon was very active yesterday and the first chick was visible mid-day today.  Chicks have a sharp egg tooth on the top of their beak which will disappear shortly after hatching.  Pipping is when the chick starts to break through the egg’s shell.  One or two days after pipping the chick begins moving around in the shell.  The egg tooth on the beak begins scraping the shell as the chick moves.  This scraping removes part of the shell and the chick emerges.

FirstChick

Early in the season we had suspected Daniel may have a new mate named Belle.  The female at the nest displayed different behaviors than Dayton had in the past so we suspected she may be new.  Belle was spotted in January in Deeds Park and is a banded female from Kentucky.  After watching the Falcon Cam it seems that the current female is unbanded so we will continue to call her “Dayton”.  It could be the same female as in past seasons but without bands it is impossible to know her true identity.

Liz Toth is Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

Falcon Cam – May 25, 2018

by LIZ TOTH

The falcons have been spending a lot of time wiggling on the eggs to press the bare skin on the chest, called the brood patch, down on the eggs to keep them warm.  In species where only the female incubates the eggs the male doesn’t develop a brood patch.  Male and female peregrines both have brood patches because they share incubation of the eggs.  If you watch the Falcon Cam you’ll see the adult peregrines rock side-to-side as they settle on thHatchdayisbusye nest.  This rocking opens the feathers that have curled over the brood patch and puts their skin in contact with the eggs.

The chicks should hatch very soon.  As the date for possible hatching draws closer we can expect to see the female arranging the stones around the scrape as she prepares for hatching.  Just prior to hatching she may hear the chicks inside the eggs and seem more alert.  The female has been very alert today indicating hatching should be soon.

Liz Toth is Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

So You Want to See the Total Solar Eclipse This August

By JOE CHILDERS

Chances are you’ve heard that a rare astronomical event is happening on August 21; a total eclipse of the Sun.  Not only is it rare (there hasn’t been one visible from the Miami Valley since 831 CE), it is also spectacular!  Indeed, eclipse expert Fred Espenak,  who has been under the moon’s shadow more than twenty times, says “In rating natural wonders, on a scale of 1 to 10 a total solar eclipse is a million.”

 

Solar_eclipse_1999_4_NR

Total Solar Eclipse In France 1999   (Luc Viatour/wwwLucnix.be)

 

From Dayton this August we’ll see a deep partial eclipse—close, but no cigar.  We will get to see a total (or totality) solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, but if you’re impatient or don’t want to risk bad weather, you’ll want to travel down to Kentucky or Tennessee to see this year’s eclipse.

Here are three things you need to know:

  1. Do not expect to find a hotel, campground, or any other kind of accommodations whatsoever within driving distance of the eclipse path.

When it’s been forty years since the last American total solar eclipse, people who have been looking forward their entire lives to this got their reservations in early—up to three years ago!  So plan to sleep in your car, if at all.

  1. Do expect that traffic will be horrible that morning.

Everyone else who realized at this late date that there are no accommodations available will be driving in the morning of.  The eclipse happens around 2:30 p.m. or so in the afternoon, varying a little by location. You want to get into the path of totality many hours before that, lest you risk being stuck in traffic outside of totality.

  1. Do know that the eclipse is definitely worth taking a day off work, pulling the kids out of school, and putting up with nasty logistics to go see in person!

One cannot overemphasize how impressive a total solar eclipse is.  Photographs like this one do not do it justice.  Everyone has a limited number of opportunities to see a total solar eclipse in their lifetime, and everyone who sees one remembers it for the rest of their life!

Kentucky_West

                        Solar Eclipse Map Across Kentucky                       (GreatEclipse.Com © Michael Zeiler 2014)

So my suggestion is this: plan to drive down in the pre-dawn hours of August 21, map out state highways that are less likely than interstates to be congested, and plan to see the eclipse from a box-store parking lot or a similar easily-accessed location.  But if you decide to stay in the Miami Valley, come on down to the Boonshoft Museum that day for all sorts of fun, eclipse activities for our partial eclipse!

Visit https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com for more on this topic.