Some peregrine chicks are missing!
Where did they go?
Don't worry—they’re safe. Peregrine biologists remove some of the chicks to a breeding facility and then the Pembina Hack Site. There are a couple of different reasons to do this. First, it’s much safer for the chicks when they are unlikely to crash into buildings or cars while learning to fly. Second, this is where they belong—historically, peregrines nest in cliffs, not buildings. And because they often return to where they learned to fly, the chicks will return next year to start their own families near the Pembina River.
Update: August 3, 2018
Chase and Radisson are doing well and spending a lot of time together both in the
box and on their favoured buildings in the area.
Update: July 24, 2018
Silver (because of her silver band) is a bit impatient and couldn't wait to try flying. She accidentally fledged on Friday (bumped by her sister while jostling for food). Apparently she liked the feeling because she tried flying two more times... and had to be rescued each time. She was awarded with an all-expenses paid trip out to the hack site for her safety.
Unfortunately, Green's story does not end so happily. She took her first flight last night, and was flying well, but in trying to reach the roof of the Mazankowski, she hit her head against the side of the building and broke her neck.
Sadly, for the second year in a row, Radisson and Chase are perched around the nest box area waiting for chicks that will not be returning.
Update: July 18, 2018
Last year around this time, we almost lost Chase and Radisson's four chicks to a Coccidia infection. Special medication was shipped in from Los Angeles and all the chicks made a full recovery. Before they arrived this year, the nest box was soaked in Ammonia and we are so happy to see that it worked. Chase and Radisson's two chicks there are healthy and growing and ready to see the world! Fledge is imminent and Fledge watchers are keeping track of their every move.
Update: July 9, 2018
When Radisson arrived with prey last night -- one of the girls lunged forward, grabbed a wing, and tried to steal the entire thing for herself! Radisson prevailed in getting the prey back, but she had to be quick in order to properly feed these two ravenous girls.
Additional update: June 29, 2018
The chicks were banded this morning. There were two females and one male at this site; the male has been removed to the Pembina hack site to continue growing there. Fledgewatch will be interesting this season as the females (always much larger than their brothers), tend to have a more difficult time managing the logistics of first flights.
Update: June 29, 2018
As usual, Chase is doing his best to sneak in and feed the chicks when Radisson pops out of the box. Invariably, Radisson is back before Chase can even get started and is taking the prey away from him, clearly conveying her conviction that this is NOT his job!
Fledgewatch will begin here on July 15 and we're looking for volunteers. If you're interested, there is a private group on Facebook: Edmonton Peregrine Falcon Fledgewatch. Send a message and administrators will get back to you soon.
Update: June 19, 2018
The chick that was removed the other day (#4) is doing well; it's in an incubator, fed regularly, and growing daily.
The other three, Chase, and Radisson are all doing well. If you have your volume on, there's no missing when food arrives; these chicks are ravenous!
Additional update: June 15, 2018
Often, if a chick is in distress, as #4 was at this nest box, they will be removed to a hack site where they are raised with special care.
Update: June 15, 2018
The fourth chick hatched this afternoon after having a bit of trouble getting out of its egg shell. This chick is four days younger than its siblings and that makes it a little harder for #4 to get in there at mealtime. Radisson is keeping a close eye on the little one.
Update: June 11, 2018
At least two chicks hatched over the weekend. Chase and Radisson, as usual, are taking turns spending time with them.
Update: June 6, 2018
We're getting very close to hatch time!
Unborn peregrine chicks have what’s called a “hatching muscle”—a large muscle that runs from the middle of the neck to the top of the head. After 30 days of incubation, the muscle contracts, causing the chicks head to snap outwards, starting the hatching process.
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Update: May 31, 2018
Though the weather this week has been a little cool, the birds don’t sit on those eggs just to warm them up. Eggs can take some degree of cooling, but more importantly, they need to be protected from direct sunlight and heat otherwise they will dry out and kill the embryos.
And you may have noticed that during the hot weather, the birds will pant, kind of like a dog. Birds don’t sweat because water is too heavy to carry in flight, so they pant to cool.
Update: May 22, 2018
There are four eggs at this site and Chase and Radisson are taking turns with incubating. If you've ever wondered how chicks breathe while stuck inside the eggs: eggshells are porous and allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through.
Update: May 11, 2018
Egg #4 was laid yesterday afternoon. Will this be the last one? Time will tell.
Weekend Update: May 8, 2018
A couple more eggs were laid over the weekend. Egg #2 on Friday evening and Egg #3 early Monday morning. Chase, like any helpful father-to-be brought Radisson a snack as she was laying the eggs. Unlike caring human fathers, the snack was decidedly not ice chips.
The intruders that had been around earlier seem to have left the area. And Radisson and Chase are happily switching off with incubation duties.
Update: May 3, 2018
It's an egg! It was laid sometime yesterday afternoon or evening.
Update: May 2, 2018
After having chased off a couple of intruder females, Radisson has been able to concentrate on bonding with Chase and preparing the nest box for the eventual eggs. Radisson and Chase came back a little late this year so it's likely that actual egg laying will take a little longer than the other sites.
Update: April 24, 2018
Chase and Radisson were seen together this afternoon doing a little bonding before the eggs are laid.
Update: April 18, 2018
Chase showed up today! So it looks like Radisson and Chase are settling in for another breeding season together... except an unbanded female has been hanging around this same area. Could be trouble...
Update: April 17, 2018
Radisson was spotted at this site last week. Will she stick around or is this the year her and Chase find a new summer home?
Early in the 2017 season, we confirmed the peregrines spotted here are Radisson and Chase—involved since 2012! Just like any Hollywood couple, they enjoyed canoodling in front of the cameras. And life was peachy keen…until the banding of the chicks, when it was discovered that two of the four fluff-balls were not doing well. But after just a couple weeks of treatment, Chase and Radisson's chicks made a full recovery! They quickly gained weight and were successfully released at the hack site. Chase and Radisson remained in the general U of A area for the remaining season, tucked into their usual spots at bedtime.
Species at Risk
Although the peregrine falcon and the ferruginous hawk get a lot of attention because they are obviously excessively cool, there are many other interesting species that are considered to be Species at Risk, and there is no good reason not to learn about them! For example, the greater sage grouse is a very unique looking upland bird and there are very few left in Alberta. Also check out some of the bat conservation initiatives in Alberta.