Out of the Nest Box and Ready for Banding
Over the weekend, the falcon chicks began exploring their surroundings. They’ve left the nest box and have been exploring the building ledge, often disappearing off camera, either walking behind the nest box or walking past the camera. Please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see one or more of the chicks; they’ve typically both been reappearing when a parent arrives with food.
The chicks are now 26-27 days old (about 4 weeks). DWR staff will be banding the two chicks on Tuesday, June 13th. Biologists will place leg bands onto the chicks that look like little metal bracelets and have unique number codes on them. These bands act as identifiers, which will aid in keeping track of the chicks’ whereabouts after they’ve fledged and into the future. As you may have noted, both of the parent birds have leg bands, which allows us to positively identify them when they return to the nest box each season. It is also how we identified the new female as having hatched on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and could age her as three years old.
While the chicks are being banded, a pen will be deployed in front of the nest box as a protective measure to prevent premature fledging before the chicks are strong enough to fly. The pen is large enough that it allows the chicks’ access to the nest box, room to explore some of the ledge, and room to fully stretch and test out their wings as they continue to grow. The parents are able to feed the chicks and pass food to them through the pen bars. A cover will be placed on top of the pen to provide shade and shelter for the chicks. Additionally, a mechanical device will be placed on the pen door that will allow DWR the ability to open the pen remotely in a few weeks when it comes time for the chicks to fledge.
PLEASE NOTE: The cam will temporarily be turned off while DWR staffs are on the building ledge. It will be turned back on once the chick banding and pen deployment has been completed.