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Richmond Falcon Cam

Falcon Chicks Receive Bands

  • June 13th, 2017
An image of a DWR staff member holding a peregrine falcon chick

Peregrine Falcon Chick after banding. Photo by Jessica Ruthenberg.

DWR staff paid a visit to the 21st floor of the Riverfront Plaza Building in downtown Richmond to band the Peregrine Falcon chicks. DWR biologists retrieved the chicks from the building ledge while fending off the circling and protective parents with brooms. Staff observed remains of prey items, including yellow-billed cuckoos and green herons, scattered all over the ledge as well as some whole prey that was cached for later use.

During the banding process, a DWR biologist weighed the chicks and took measurements of the birds’ wings and tails and used a leg gauge to determine the appropriate band sizes (females are larger than males and take larger bands sizes). It was determined that there is one female chick and one male chick. The female weighed 804 grams (~1 pound 12 ounces) and the male weighed in at 608.1 grams (~1 pound 5 ounces). The chicks appeared healthy and alert and were quite vocal.

A DWR Biologist applies a leg band to the male Peregrine Falcon chick.

A DWR Biologist applies a leg band to the male Peregrine Falcon chick.

Each chick was banded with a set of two aluminum leg bands: on the right leg, a green band with a unique numeric code, and on the left leg, a black and green band with letters and numbers that are “field-readable” with binoculars or scopes. The female’s field-readable band reads 87/AV and the male’s reads 46/AU. Colored tape was applied to one of each chick’s leg bands to assist in distinguishing the two birds on camera and after they fledge (red on the female and blue on the male).

During the banding, additional DWR staffs assembled the protective pen that can now be seen in front of the nest box. As soon as the banding and pen assembly were completed, the chicks were safely returned to the ledge and carefully placed inside the pen while the attentive parents continued to circle overhead.

We look forward to watching these young Peregrine Falcons continue to grow over the next few weeks!

DWR staff returning the chicks to their nest box

DWR Biologists keep an eye on the adult Peregrine Falcons circling overhead while heading out to retrieve the falcon chicks for banding. Photo by Brian Moyer.

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