The Chicks have been Banded
The RVA falcon chicks received their bands earlier this morning (5/26), exactly one year to the day from the banding of last year’s brood. The chicks were alert and judged to be in good health based on their appearance, measurements, and overall behavior throughout the banding process. Similar to the past two years, this year’s brood is made up of two males and two females (this is determined during banding based on the chick’s weight and leg size). The females can be identified by the presence of green or red tape on their federal bands, while the males received white or blue tape on their bands.
The pen used in past years was deployed in order to prevent accidental fledging before the birds are capable of flight. We will monitor the camera and review recorded footage throughout the course of the next few days to ensure that both the chicks and the adults adjust to the pen as we have observed in previous seasons.
The colored tape is applied to the federal band on the right leg of each chick and is used to help biologists keep track of the birds after they fledge. This tape will fall off naturally within a few weeks. In addition to their federal bands, each chick received a “field-readable” black over green band which makes identification of the birds easier from a distance once the temporary tape falls off. See the table below for each chick’s sex, weight, band code, and tape color.
Following banding, the chicks will remain in the pen for the next three to four weeks while they continue to grow and develop their remaining feathers. Once they are old enough to fledge, an actuator will be placed on the pen door allowing biologists to remotely open the door. At this point the chicks will be free to disperse from the nest box and pen at their leisure. Be sure to check back in the next few weeks for an announcement from DWR as to when this will occur!
Finally, we would like to extend a special thanks to from the Office of the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources who took time out of their busy schedules to join us for this momentous occasion!