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2001 Nestbox News

July 2, 2001
46 days old

The Raptor Trust reported that our peregrine fledgling is doing much better today. They will "flight test" the bird and let us know whether the bird can be released soon. We hope to get it back to its 101 Hudson roost by the end of the week!

June 29, 2001
43 days old

Early this morning, a pedestrian in Jersey City found one of our young peregrines on the ground, unable to fly. Jersey City animal control officers brought the bird to The Raptor Trust, a wild bird rehabilitator located in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The peregrine has been diagnosed with ruptured air sacs (subcutaneous emphysema).

This injury could be the result of an impact when the bird flew and attempted to land on a building. Injuries to young raptors while they are learning to fly and hunt are common.

Hopefully, the bird will have a full recovery under the excellent care of The Raptor Trust, and be able to be released on the 101 Hudson rooftop where it hatched.

We are grateful to the person who found the peregrine on the ground for their quick thinking and response to finding an injured bird, and to the animal control officers who rescued and transported the peregrine to The Raptor Trust. It is partnerships like this that help ensure the survival of the peregrine falcon and other endangered and threatened species in New Jersey.

June 28, 2001
42 days old

Today one of the juvenile birds rested on the ledge above the nest box for over two hours. The bird's feathers are fully grown in, including the tail, and it bore the brown chest plumage typical of juvenile peregrines.

The young peregrine we saw on the ledge today alternated between standing and laying down. This is also behavior typical of a juvenile bird -- as an adult it will rarely, if ever, be found laying down in this position.

The chicks are six weeks old today, and the males, at least, should be fully capable of flight.

June 25, 2001
39 days old

Only two peregrine chicks have been seen this week. One has been seen on the 101 Hudson rooftop, and the other has been spotted on the roof of another building by LCOR employees.

The third peregrine is likely to be roosting on another building, or perhaps on a lower rooftop on 101 Hudson - this building has a tiered roof with many ledges for the fledgling peregrines to explore.

While we can't be sure of how the young birds weathered the severe thunderstorms this weekend, it is helpful to remember that peregrines historically nested on cliffs, and have readily adapted to this kind of environment. In high winds, the chicks lay low in a safe place on the roof.

June 19, 2001
33 days old

Well, the chicks have all left the nestbox, and they're getting difficult to watch for more than one reason. First of all, they run quickly back and forth on the rooftop exercising their wings. And secondly, they run around ON THE LEDGE OF THE BUILDING! While their behavior is worrisome for us, it is natural for the chicks to do this. Peregrines historically nested on cliffs, where the chicks would engage in the same behavior.

One of the chicks occasionally goes back into the nestbox to rest. When the adults fly to the rooftop with food the chicks run over to them at top speed. We think they look like little dinosaurs!

June 16, 2001
30 days old

One of the male chicks ventured from the nestbox today! It sat right at the edge and peered over the edge. Then he perched on the lip of the box, and before we knew it, he'd jumped down to the rooftop. The other chicks look very close to doing the same. Peregrine chicks usually begin exploring outside of their nest by 5 weeks of age. Males fly for the first time at around 6-6 weeks, and females at 6-7 weeks. The chicks' tail feathers are growing in, and they are exercising their wings every chance they get.

June 11th
25 days old
Today we saw the peregrine chicks up close for the very first time - ENSP biologists made a visit to the nest to band them. Each bird receives a band with a unique number that helps people identify them when they show up to breed and nest in other locales. And this information enables our biologists to determine the peregrine's range.

At almost 4 weeks old, the chicks are beginning to lose their downy appearance - their brown plumage is really showing through. When we put the peregrines in a box to bring them inside for banding, the female circled overhead outside and called, while the male perched, called, and watched us closely. The chicks sat quietly and hunkered down, just as they would if a predator approached. And to them, we were predators! Or at least an unknown threat. When we picked up the chicks to examine and band them, they gave high-pitched calls to the adults who could still be heard calling outside the door.

The biologists conducted their business thoroughly and quickly. The brood is made up of 1 female and 2 males. The biologists can tell the sex of each bird by measuring the length of the culmen (upper beak) and by weighing the birds. As we mentioned in another nestbox news entry, in peregrines and other raptors the female is larger than the male. This size difference is most pronounced in peregrines, even at this early age. The female of this clutch is already almost 50% larger than her sibling males!

The employees of 101 Hudson held a contest to name the chicks last week, and the winning names were Liberty, America, and Ellis.

The biologists walked the chicks back to their nesting box on the roof under the shelter of an umbrella. It wasn't raining, though - the umbrellas were actually used to protect us from the dive-bombing female peregrine. They are very protective of their chicks and the swooping at us was more than a show - they are capable of diving at more than 150 miles an hour and threaten painful contact! The adults were put-off by the umbrella and stayed a safe distance away.

Once the chicks were back in the nest, the adults came back. In a few minutes, everything was back to normal and the adults returned to their daily routine of catching as many pigeons as possible to satiate their ever-growing brood.

June 6, 2001
20 days old
For the first time, both parents have been seen in the next box simultaneously. The female brought a pigeon into the box, which the chicks finished in only a matter of minutes. When she was ready to leave, the male flew in with more food, and two of the chicks continued to feed.
Energy demands are high as the chicks grow - pin feathers can now be clearly seen on the birds' wings and tails. The adult birds are hunting almost continuously to keep up with the chicks' voracious appetites!

June 5, 2001
19 days old
Nest observers noticed an important developmental step today with one of the peregrine chicks. When one of the parents brought a pigeon to the box to feed them, the largest of the chicks grabbed a large piece and ran off into a corner to feed by itself, while the other two chicks continued to beg for food. We should see more and more of these signs of independence over the next few weeks.

June 4, 2001
18 days old
Today nest observers watched the chicks exercizing their wings! Even though they are still downy, this muscle strengthening is important for their future first flight, which is unbelievably only weeks away. When the adults come to the nest box with food, the chicks now scurry quickly over. And today, when one of the adults left the box after feeding, the largest chick chased after it, flapping its wings.

June 1, 2001
15 days old
The peregrine chicks are doing very well. They are constantly moving around the nest box and peering over the edge. When they sleep they flatten their bodies and droop their wings. Sometimes they can even be seen sleeping by themselves rather than huddled together in a group.

May 25, 2001
8 days old
Now that the chicks are a little over a week old, the adults are leaving the nest for longer and longer periods, and the chicks are beginning to move around the nest box. We believe we can already see a size difference among the chicks - females are larger than males, even at this early age. We'll know for sure the sex of each chick when we band them on June 11.

May 22, 2001
5 days old
After hatching, peregrine chicks' eyes are closed, and they have downy feathers. They are immobile and entirely dependent on the adults. Since these chicks have hatched, the adults have been brooding them (keeping them underneath their bodies) to keep them warm between feedings. Both the female and the male share this role, although the female broods (and incubates eggs) for the majority of the time. The chicks are left alone in the nest box for only a few minutes at a time, if at all, during this period. Both parents hunt and return to the nest to feed their young.

The fourth and smallest chick hasn't been seen at all since the first day and has probably died, which is not uncommon. The three remaining chicks appear healthy and are getting stronger by the minute.

May 21, 2001
4 days old
Observers of the nest site haven't seen the fourth chick feeding in awhile. The growth rate of the chicks is incredible. Since it appears that the first 3 chicks may have a head start on the fourth one, we are concerned for the welfare of the fourth chick.

May 18, 2001
1 day old
We have the first sighting of the fourth chick. Today the nest observers watched the peregrines feed all four chicks throughout the day. The first meal of the day appeared to be a starling!

May 17, 2001
LCOR Propertey Management employees see 3 peregrine chicks for the first time! It turns out our secretive mother peregrine was hiding an additonal egg, which has not yet hatched.

April 12, 2001
We believe there are three eggs in the nest - and the female is now incubating the entire clutch. After about 33 days, we should see signs that the chicks are beginning to hatch.

April 9, 2001
The female began laying eggs today! We expect they she will lay 3-4 eggs, and after laying the last she will begin incubating. She does this so that the chicks will all hatch at around the same time, ensuring that each young bird will have almost the same chance for survival.

March 1, 2001
It appears that the peregrines residing at 101 Hudson peregrines have once again taken up residence near the nest box atop 101 Hudson, New Jersey's tallest building. They are beginning territorial displays, a sure sign that they will choose this location to rear their young.

We're hoping that these endangered birds will once again choose to nest at this location, where, with the help of our webcam funded by the Verizon Foundation, we will witness them raise their young and watch the chicks grow and fledge!

If the peregrines nest here, it will be the second brood they've raised on this building. Last year, after being contacted by LCOR employees Thomas Reed, Property Manager, and Bob Barth, Property Manager, our biologists put up a nest box to entice the falcons to nest on this building.

It worked like a charm, and these beautiful raptors immediately began "keeping house" in the structure. They courted, laid eggs, and successfully reared two chicks to adulthood!

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