Three Have Flown
While DGIF staff and Fledgewatch volunteers anxiously waited…the ice bottle trigger seemed to defy the growing heat in Richmond today. It wasn’t until 12:40 pm that the cage door swung open. One bird immediately left the cage and took flight. An impressive first flight that circled the downtown area and ended atop the Federal Reserve Building. At 12:56pm the second chick launched itself as well – with another strong first effort. Finally the third chick left the nest at 1:02 pm, only to return after venturing only a few feet off the ledge – it sure is a long way down!
The third chick finally launched a few minutes later and after circling a few times finally gained enough altitude to perch close to the first chick on the Federal Reserve. These two birds sitting close together allowed observers to determine that the first bird to fly had been the female (band 12/AD) as female falcons are noticeably larger then males.
Throughout the afternoon we watched as the birds practiced their flying. Despite some remarkably strong flights the female had some issues evaluating glass-sided towers as obstacles and possible landing sites, bumping into a number of windows. She even ended up on the edge of the road next to the Federal Reserve. With DGIF biologists and Fledgewatch volunteers standing by – she finally flew after being harassed by an irate mockingbird. She took refuge in a nearby tree until continued mobbing by mockingbirds, common grackles and robins convinced her to look for a more peaceful perch. As of 6:30pm she had been located and was under observation by the Fledgewatch.
The two males were sighted on of off throughout the afternoon, often perching in areas out of view. The Fledgewatch will resume tomorrow morning and we’ll post updates as the three fledglings progress.