Banding Scheduled for Tuesday, May 26th
Virginia Department of Wildlife resources (VDWR) biologists plan to visit the Riverfront Plaza building and band the peregrine falcon chick on Tuesday, May 26th. On this day the chick will be 27 days old. During the banding process the biologists will access the building ledge and gather the chick, who will then be weighed, measured, and fitted with two aluminum bands. The purpose of the banding is to provide future data about where this peregrine falcon travels and hopefully establishes its own breeding territory.
During this same visit, the VDWR biologists plan to assemble and attach a pen to the nest box. This pen is set up in order to prevent premature fledging by the falcon chick before its wings are strong enough to take its first flight; early flights have occurred at this nest in the past, resulting in chicks being grounded on busy city streets where, unable to fly, they are highly vulnerable to vehicular traffic. The pen door will be opened on a future date when the chick has had plenty of time to fully develop. On this date, VDWR staff will open the door remotely, allowing the young falcon to exit and fledge when it is ready. Additional staff and volunteers will be positioned on the ground to track the falcon’s movements and to ensure that assistance is available, in the event the bird should run into any trouble. This method has been used successfully at this site in past years.
Please note that this pen will provide the chick with plenty of room to exercise its wings and will not interfere with the parents’ ability to feed it. In past years, the parents have simply fed their chicks through the pen. They have also passed any larger prey portions through the bars, giving the young falcons practice at tearing their own food.
Below are photos of the peregrine falcon chick at 22 days old on this rainy day in Richmond. At this age, brooding has usually ceased, which appears to be the case for this chick, and the female is spending more time away from the nest. The chick’s wing and tail feathers are coming in well, as can be observed in the photos.