Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Find the Falcon

Over the weekend, this year’s only surviving nestling was getting close to his first flight with a few jumps outside the nest box onto a perch and vigorous wing flapping. Monday, I arrived in the nearby park a little before 9 AM. Looking up, I saw a falcon on the perch and assumed young Shaheen was still up there.

A few minutes later, he came waddling toward me across the pedestrian bridge into the park. I immediately started wondering if I should stay with the bird or go make a call since I don't have a cell phone. Before I had time to decide, I was relieved to see another falcon watcher come into view following the bird a moment later. Three people were already on the job of keeping track of our feathered friend’s first exploration.

The four of us had a good time watching the bird wander around the park. My favorite moment came when he was moving along the walkway and caught a talon in one of the rain grates and went pitching forward. Very funny to see. All five of us were undoubtedly funny to see: one young falcon waddling like a vulture on the ground and walls or struggling to keep his balance on railings; four humans trying to stay between him and highways while we waited to see if he could get himself up to a roof (it’s much easier for him to fall downward then climb upward) or if we’d need to take him there.

Then came a long level flight out of sight in the park, and the four of us started looking through the shrubbery to see if we could find him. Eventually, he was spotted up on a roof, and today was seen on the highest roof in the immediate area—the building with his nest box. Now he’ll spend a few weeks working on flying and landing skills while his parents keep feeding him, and then will learn to do his own hunting.

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