Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Utica Peregrines are Set to Nest

The new pair of Peregrine Falcon in Downtown Utica are poised to breed in the nest box that we installed one year ago on the 15th floor of the Adirondack Bank building. The falcon pair, recently named Astrid and Ares, have been observed making frequent visits to the nest box and even making "nest scrapes" into the gravel which lines the bottom of the box. Lately "Ares" has been preforming dramatic flight displays and mating has been observed several times in recent days. 
Looking up at the nest box on The Adirondack Bank in Downtown Utica

A favorite perch site - Grace Church - located across the street from the bank
Ares perches on the church steeple 
Astrid - barely visible on above windows on the State Office Building a few blocks away
The first video images began streaming from the newly installed camera
Last week we managed to get the falcon box's new network camera working. The camera was installed right inside the box and so now we can get a good look at what happens in there. So far the camera's live stream is available only on the network inside the bank building, but before too long we hope to make it generally available on a dedicated website.
This is how to make a nest scrape - lean forward and kick backward
Bowing down to your returning mate is an essential  part of the greeting ritual
They will even touch beaks during their greeting
They just did kind of a "do-si-do" - this is falcon Square Dancing
The favored nest scrape seems to be near the far corner of the box
Then again the scrape nearer to the camera hasn't been ruled out
Back to the box with an unidentifiable bird - lately they catch at least 3 birds a day
This is the first time that Peregrine Falcons have attempted to nest in Utica since 2009, when the old pair, Maya & Tor held the territory. That original pair nested for 2 consecutive years on M&T Bank's Gold Dome building on a 4th story ledge. This was the lowest nest of Peregrine Falcon on a building in New York State. With both nesting attempts only one egg was laid and despite what seemed to be adequate incubation and care no hatchling ever emerged. Tor was killed after striking a window in 2010. Maya continued to hold the territory until the spring of 2012. She never accepted another mate even though several prospective suitors did come through the area.
Maya & Tor on their nest tray on the Gold Dome Bank circa 2009

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