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Richmond Falcon Cam

Pen Opening and Fledgewatch Scheduled for Wednesday, June 23

  • June 21st, 2021

If you’ve been watching the Falcon Cam during the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed the ‘Falcon Fab Four’ have done a lot of growing up! There is little to no visible down on any of the chicks, which now display the characteristic brown/buff plumage and distinctive facial markings unique to juvenile peregrines. In addition to looks, we’ve also seen a lot of acrobatics including wing stretching and flapping, climbing the sides of the pen, and even short bursts of flight from the nest box to the pen door. All of these behaviors are great indicators that the chicks are ready to fledge!

An image of two male peregrine falcon fledglings extending their wings in their cage

The two males in the brood stretch their wings.

Now that the falcon chicks are all of the appropriate age, we are happy to report that we have scheduled our Fledgewatch event for Wednesday, 6/23 and Thursday, 6/24. For those unfamiliar with Fledgewatch, this is when we will remotely open the pen door allowing the young falcons to leave the pen and embark on their first flight at their leisure. As in previous years, DWR staff will be stationed at several vantage points in the surrounding downtown area to monitor the birds as they hone their flight and landing capabilities. At this stage, the chicks should have the strength needed to fly, however, it can take them several days to perfect their landing skills. By having staff on site during this critical period, we can intervene and get a chick medical attention more quickly in the event of a building collision or failed landing attempt.

The camera will be turned off for a small portion of the morning while staff attach the mechanical device used to remotely open the door, but it will be turned back on after the device has been installed. We hope to have all staff members in place at their strategic viewing points between 9 and 9:30 am, at which time we will open the door.

While we are not able to provide live or “on-the-ground” updates while monitoring the chicks, we hope to provide a brief summary of the days’ proceedings during the evening. So check back on Wednesday evening for a report detailing the events of the day!

An image of the falcon chicks sitting inside their nesting box with their colored leg bands visable

Falcon chicks displaying their colored leg bands which help DWR staff identify them during the Fledgewatch event.