6/17, Flying Across 120th St.

Checking in again on Riverside Church for falcon fledging activity, I initially found things pretty quiet. Two baby falcons were perched on the scaffolding around the NW corner of the tower, and soon after a third showed in the same area. Those three would remain generally in the same area for the next 45 minutes, although it was variable whether one, two or three were visible at any time.

Mama showed up soon after I did. She first alit on a gargoyle below where her kids were hanging out, but after fussing about there and then on a near-by plank for a couple minutes, she flew up to a corner scaffolding pipe that seems to be a favorite vantage for keeping an eye on the kids as they wander around.

And so things stayed for some time. Two of the baby falcons engaged in some wing flapping, often right on the edge of the walkway, but did not fledge. The third spent most of the time perched quietly in one spot, making me wonder if it had already fledged and no longer to engage in this silly flapping business. Recall that one of the young falcons had fledged yesterday and ended up on the scaffold level 30 feet lower. This quiet youngster would seem to have been that fledgling, although another falcon watcher had said that he thinks there are four baby falcons and that two have fledged.

As light was getting dimmer in the cloudy skies I finally decided to make my exit, but as I neared 120th St. I looked back to see two falcons flying out of the area where the four had been hanging about. One seemed to be a poor flier, stroking its wings quickly for all it was worth, while the other followed along. Ah, a youngster is in the air and mama was flying guard!

The fledgling seemed as if it was going to try to return to the scaffolding on the SW corner of the tower.

Falcon Fledgling and Mama

But it overshot its mark and had to keep flapping. With encouragement from mama, it headed south and made it across 120th St. to the roof of the Inter Church Center, almost 400 feet from where it started.

Meanwhile a third falcon had appeared in the air, but that it turned out was papa. Apparently he'd been lurking around the tower the entire time.

Both mama and papa did a bit of flying about over the next few minutes, perching here, perching there and disappearing around the back of the tower, making it difficult to figure out which was which.

Then there was another moment with three birds in the air, as it seemed baby wanted to return from the ICC roof to the church tower. But one of the parents appeared to herd it back, and presumably that was where it spent the night.

Posted 6/17/2009 10:51:00 PM by Robert

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