Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Utica Peregrine Falcon Update

This dark immature Peregrine was perched on the Hotel Utica - photo by D Cesari

The new nest box is located 15 stories high on the Adirondack Bank Building  - photo by D Cesari
I spent time in the Downtown Utica area on Saturday trying to determine if any falcon activity was taking place. Wildlife photographer, David Cesari was with me. We spent about an hour and a half checking the traditional falcon roosting sites and saw nothing until we were nearly ready to leave, and then we located an immature Peregrine perched on a ledge on the Hotel Utica building. This was a very dark and distinctive individual with a brown back and heavily streaked underparts. The bird was apparently a male and we were certain that we hadn't seen this bird before. While we were watching it, a 2nd Peregrine flew over us heading north, but we didn't get a good enough look to determine if it was a known individual. It could very well have been the same juvenile male falcon the was seen and photographed the previous Saturday.
Another immature male Peregrine was seen the Saturday before - photo by D Cesari
I regret to say that it looks very much like we no longer have a pair of adult Peregrines in the downtown area. It's fairly certain that a territorial pair would not allow these interlopers to hang out on "their" buildings. Even though some sort of vocal commotion was reported at the new nest box this week (which may or may not have been attributable to falcons), I think the chances of a breeding attempt in Utica in 2013 is becoming less likely. It's already getting late in the season for a pair to get started - which may seem strange to some of us that recall our original pair (Maya and Tor) beginning their nest as late as the first week of June.
Tor and Maya at the nest tray on the Gold Dome Bank in 2009
So things are looking much as they did last year at this time, after Maya vacated the territory and thus allowed Downtown to host a procession transient Peregrines - mostly immature birds. Maybe also like last year, before the end of the season, a new pair will take possession of the territory. Of course all of this means that we will have to wait until the spring of 2014 before there will be any possibility of a nesting attempt. Still these things are worth waiting - and waiting for. 

Tor in 2009
Maya in 2009

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