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 Post subject: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:08 pm 
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Original post by Alison

It is certainly true that peregrines do not normally find a mate and lay eggs until they are two years old, but there are a few rare exceptions.

For instance, in London, Ontario, in 2000, George and his mate Calypso had three chicks. George was born in 1999, and was still in his juvie feathers. When the chicks were three weeks old, Calypso was killed by a lightning strike during a storm. George successfully raised the three chicks on his own. While he was teaching them to fly, it was very difficult to distinguish which one was the adult, since all four had juvie plumage.

Very sadly, these were George's only chicks. The following year, he was found badly injured after the territorial dispute, and he did not survive. I mention this because what George did was truly remarkable.

His mate, Calypso, was a daughter of the great Zenith of the Terminal Tower in Cleveland and her earlier mate Szell.

George:

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Calypso:

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And of course, Freedom's mate Millie in Port Colbourne, Ontario was only one year old when she laid three eggs last year. One chick hatched and was named Gunner, but sadly we lost him later in the summer to injuries.

Millie (photo by Doug Garbutt):

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Very, very occasionally a falcon will return to the nest site where he was born. For example, in two different years Mae of the King Plant chose one of her sons from a prevous year as her mate.

And Tiago at the Sheraton in Toronto is at one of the nests which belonged to his father, Windwhistler. Windwhistler was the resident male at both the King Street nest (with Mandy) and the Sheraton nest (with Wind) at the same time.

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:12 pm 
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obxbarb: 16 Jan 2009 08:27 pm Post subject:

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Alison, those stories are fantastic! What a great falcon historian you are. I had no idea there were any examples of yearlings who had chicks. And raised three on his own. WOW. I think that's the greatest falcon story I've ever heard

catwoman: Posted: 16 Jan 2009 08:30 pm Post subject:

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Thanks for the info, Alison. I found your examples of how nature doesn't always follow the rules interesting. I was surprised about Mae choosing her sons for mates. I thought it was bad that Dorothy in Pittsburgh has a grandson for a mate!

Also, those pics were gorgeous!


gigi: 16 Jan 2009 10:57 pm Post subject:

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Interesting Alison. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:15 pm 
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Original post by Froona~

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This is a pic by Chad and Chris Saladin of a subadult male. I think it is an excusite image of the transition from juv into adult.



Alison thanks for sharing this info. I always love to hear about juvs that turn up somewhere and start a family on their own. The more we tell eachother about what happenend the more we all can learn about this special creature.

I know about Millie and little Gunner. I even used this as an example of how rare it is when they actually lay vaible eggs in their very first summer!

Your example of George is extaordianary! What a very very special little tiercel to raise 4 motherless chicks being a subadult himself. I'm very happy you do mention such a special creature. Our thoughts will guide his path over the bridge.

Zenith, I heared those legendary stories about her. I paid tribute to her on my website. Scott Wright wrote me about her, he was with her when she died. And with Clearpath who was badly injured by Zenith in the year before. She died in Scott's car on his way to the sanctuary.

Sometimes they do mate with a sun or brother/sister, but eggs are often not viable. Just like with the Swedish couple. They are brother/sister and do mate, and she does lay eggs, but they are always not viable.

I love, adore the name Windwhistler, how beautiful!!

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:17 pm 
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bev.

Posted: 17 Jan 2009 07:44 pm Post subject:

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Wind and Wind Whistler from Toronto Sheraton were 2 of my favorites.
that both were gone in the same year gives me hope that maybe Wind survived and is still mating somewhere with Wind whistler. I am an optimist Mark never saw any results of a battle anywhere so hopefully.


ljames

Posted: 17 Jan 2009 07:56 pm Post subject:

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What an interesting story about George. Truly amazing that he was able to raise the chicks and teach them to fly. Such a shame to lose a falcon like that. He had a sweet, kind looking face.

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:20 pm 
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Original Post by Froona~

Territorial disputes: a Real Live story

Buckeye of Hilliard 1994-2007

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Buckeye

Buckeye was one of the original hacked falcons. He was hatched in 1993 and hacked from Akron (under the watch of ODNR's Tom Henry). Buckeye's full brother, Bullet (also 1993 and hacked from Akron) was the 2nd male (and mate) of Zenith at the Terminal Tower. Zenith later mated with Buckeye of TT and was replaced by SW in 2001.

Buckeye was a spectacular tiercel. He was the resident tiercel at the Hilliard nestsite in Ohio and paired with Athena. She was eventually replaced by Hillary, who is still the resident falcon at Hilliard.

Buckeye was a very good provider for his numerous juvs; he could hunt like no one ever could before. He was able to catch 3 pigeons within 20 minutes! Typical Buckeye was his bathing behaviour: he went to the river at least once a day to take a bath and he drank a lot too. Water that is.
Another typical Buckeye thing was that he loved to mate with his female. That is always. He did not stick to mating season, he did it in spring, summer, autumn and fall. A real stud he was!

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Buckeye

But the years started to count. Looking back on things the problems already started in 2006, when all of a sudden Buckeye collapsed when he brought in prey for his juvs on a warm summers day. Hillary helped him to regain himself, but he was obviously not well at all.
In the spring of 2007 for Buckeye things got worse. On April 1 it became more evident that something was wrong with his left eye-- he kept it closed much of the time, cocking his head in an awkward way to look with his right eye, spending most of his time in the bridge, sleeping with his head resting on his back during the day.

He was having trouble landing as well because of his depth perception being off with just one good eye. He was unsteady when he landed and when he walked. He often missed perches, had started to slide down after missing like a newly fledged young, and then circled to try to land again. He did not bring food for Hillary. Instead of that it looked like she was going to feed him as they touched beaks. Buckeye pulled the food away, flew out awkwardly with the food and ate it on the 90 bridge support.

He was often whining/food begging, and Hillary seemed to sense that he was not right-- she had stopped whining at him and knocking him off perches to hunt. It was both sad and touching to watch her, as she seemed to be nurturing him like she would a youngster. Early in the morning of April 5 she perched in a tree by the bank and called to him as he went to the river for a drink. When he flew from the water, he flew low and missed several perches, and then a goose got on his tail for a moment-- Hillary darted out and dove on the goose, then circled along side of Buckeye as he came up to land. Hillary has been going back in the nest fairly often and it was suspected that she might have been incubating infertile eggs. It was not likely that Buckeye was able to fertilize them with what was seen of the few times that he tried to mate.

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Zeus

It was really hard to watch Buckeye looking vulnerable like a fledgling after he has had all of these years of being such a great hunter and provider. He was pretty special to have controlled the same territory for the past 11 of his 14 years with the ever-increasing number of falcons that have come through the area! There was no noticeable eye injury, so it was hard to say if the eye problem was a product of his age.

On that very day : April 5 Chris and Chad went to see him. Found him at Winton Place Waited for awhile and watched, but he didn't fly-- just sat up on one of the ledges. They went back to Hilliard-- a subadult male came in, banded, black over green. Hillary spent much of the afternoon flying around with him in the wind, and came up to the nest site with him behind her, but he didn't land inside the bridge. He perched on the outside arch a few times, calling a few times, and also perched in one of the trees on the river for a bit. Chad & Chris went back to Winton/Carlyle and saw Buckeye in a different spot, but they didn't find him again when they went back later. He was very hard to see in certain places there, however, as he can go far back on the ledges and wouldn't be visible if he's laying down.

As soon as Buckeye was out of the daily picture other peregrine falcons entered the territory immediately. First the subadult male was there all day on April 6. Most of the time he and Hillary were perched on different arches, but in the late afternoon they were perched about 20 feet apart. He was indentified as being Zeus (B/03) from the 2006 nest in Columbus!!


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Hillary

Buckeye however was not seen anymore from April 5 on. When he left he was up flying high with Hillary and Zeus. All of a sudden he did a little circle and headed off toward the lake and disapeared in the sunset. Probably in that instant he realized that in his condition he just couldn't defend his territory anymore-- maybe that survival instinct won out over the territorial instinct. The next day was the last time that he was seen on a window ledge there.
Meanwhile, there was a lot of action at Hilliard. Zeus had been hanging at the bridge with Hillary from April 5 when Buckeye left, until April 11. He was seen mating with Hillary up on the light post! By the late afternoon Zeus was out of the picture! A banded adult male and an unbanded adult female came in, and all four were flying around and through the bridge, perching on inside arches, calling at each other, taking off again, chasing each other, etc. It got to the point that it was impossible to keep track of who was who! It was a spectacular aerial show that went on for about an hour!!

The adult male and Zeus flew out from the bridge south, and only the adult male returned. Just the two females and the adult male flew around for a while, and the other female flew off, leaving just Hillary and the adult male. They flew around for awhile until the male finally perched in the open on the outside arch, Chris and Chad were able to read the bands. He is Titan (97/P) from Canton ('04), who has been in Lorain for the last couple of years and had been mating with a banded female in the Lorain up until the last week. In the early evening Titan mated with Hillary twice inside the bridge! He was there all day with her the next day and they kept on mating!

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Titan

In the following days, Titan and Hillary did a lot of bonding. He was bringing her food and they mated up a storm! The intruding female however appeared again and that battle resumed as well. When a territory undergoes changes every position is challenged, so that of Hillary as well. Hillary was very quick in chasing the female out of her territory!

Finally on April 19 Buckeye was found dead on the ground at Winton Place. Chad saw Titan dive after what appeared to be Buckeye at Winton on that Thursday around 1:00-- Titan dove on him on a window ledge then chased him around the next building to the East-- Chad saw Titan some what later return to Hilliard. Buckeye was picked up around 4:00 that Thursday, and according to DOW he had battle wounds on his feet and it appeared that he wasn't well fed, as his keel (the bone in the middle of his chest) was protruding. So it appears that Titan may have relieved him from suffering. We were all heartbroken.

On April 20 things were getting calmer. Titan and Hillary were continuing with their courtship activities, and they went up to last year's nest site together to do nest displays. Hillary looked like she was showing signs of some eggs forming in her, and they were continuing to mate frequently and longer! A few days later it looked as though Hillary was actually incubating. And Titan took his turn as well. But the eggs turned out to be infertile. No eyases that year at Hilliard.

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Buckeye

But a new territorial couple resides at Hilliard again: Titan took Buckey´s place next to Hillary.
Buckeye will live on forever in our memory. He was a magnificent creature. A fearless warior, and excellent provider for his eyases. He kept his territory for 11 years, which means he was strong, not only by musclepower, but by personality as well.

Buckeye touched my heart, he was and is special.
He died with honor, in battle.
Fly free, soar high great warrior,
I will never forget you....."


"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
you have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
high in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager body through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my wing and touched eternity...."


With special thanks to Chad & Chris Saladin

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:23 pm 
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Original post by Froona

DEATH OF A FALCON

Clearpath and Zenith


This is the story of Zenith and Clearpath of the TT, Cleveland, Ohio, and the transition to SW who is still the resident female in 2009.

Zenith fledged from Omaha, Nebraska in 1992 and was in Cleveland every spring since then. She claimed the Terminal Tower in her first summer in 1993 and mated with Szell 67Z. From the very first beginning she left every autumn for the sunny South to spent the winter.

From 1998 when Szell did not return in spring, Buckeye courted her and became her mate. He hatched from the Rhodes Tower in Columbus Ohio in 1996. As usual Zenith left in the autumn, but Buckeye did not, he stayed behind. And in spring he just could not resist all the attractive falcons that came in his territory before Zenith was back. Time after time she had to chase those females out who were occupying her nest.

Zenith was one of the most productive female falcons in the entire Midwestern population having produced 27 young through 2000.
It was bound to escalate one time, and it did. Clearpath, a young falcon that fledged from a nest in Detroit, Michigan in 1997 attempted to claim the Terminal Tower nesting territory in March 1999. However, Zenith returned and evicted her after a fight. Clearpath then showed up at Case Western Reserve University on Cleveland's eastside later that spring but failed to nest successfully.

In 2000, Clearpath nested on the Bohn Building at the edge of the Cleveland downtown area and successfully produced and fledged 4 young falcons. In 2001 Clearpath again tried to claim the Terminal Tower as her preferred nest site. Buckeye and Clearpath appeared to be getting along very well.. They were watched flying slow lazycircles in front of the building. They would dive at each other and then start flying in circles
again. A few times they were flying side-by-side.


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Clearpath


In the first weeks of March 2001 Buckeye and Clearpath were mating up a storm. Buckeye was a wonderful provider and left offerings of food along the ledge of the nest site for his new mate. On a few places left beheaded prey. He was keeping her very well fed. Clearpath was having a very large and extended crop. She even produced at least 1 egg and began incubating her partial clutch by Friday, March 23, 2001.


Scott Wright reports:

I was alerted via email of 3 peregrine falcons at the nest ledge and 2 females fighting this afternoon. This started happening around 5 or 6 pm Friday night (March 23). Several falconcam watchers had captured remarkable images during the attack. I rushed to the nest site and received an escort to the nest. Upon arrival and opening the first window I found two females fighting (well, one being attacked) with what looked like Zenith on top of Clearpath.

I scared the attacking falcon off when I opened up the window and yelled at this bird.Clearpath was alive and breathing very rapidly and very shallow. She was out of reach, so out the window I went and a short distance away I carefully picked up Clearpath, the entire time being buzzed by Zenith and a few half-hearted passes by Buckeye. I looked over Clearpath's injuries (and she had some serious damage). I will not go into any detail on her injuries, nor will I answer any questions on her injuries (let us just leave it at that).

I had called the Cuyahoga County wildlife enforcement officer from the Ohio Division Of Wildlife and told him prior to going to the nest that if I found an injured bird I would take the bird to Lake County Metro Parks.
During the drive, just after the Willoughby exit, Clearpath extended her wings for the final time and shook her legs as if to take flight one last time.
I like to think that her falcon sprit was taking wing and soaring off to the happy hunting ground in the sky.......


After the fight and the removal of the injured Clearpath, Buckeye bowed to Zenith, and was very submissive. Zenith removed Clearpaths egg, and returned to business. A few weeks later she laid 4 eggs, from which she and Buckeye fledged 4 healthy and strong juvemiles, These 4 turned out to be the last ones of the total of 31 she has fledged. In autumn Zenith left as usual for warmer surroundings, and Buckeye stayed behind.

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Zenith


In spring 2002 a beautiful and strong young female presented herself to Buckeye. She is SW. She hatched from the Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh in 1999. Buckeye and SW engaged in courtship. He brought her loads of food and kept her very well fed. They were seen mating often and SW laid 4 beautiful eggs in the nest that belonged to Zenith.

Everybody was very concerned what would happen when Zenith would return. This strong young female could very well be a though one to defeat. Nobody had forgotten the tragedy of the year before when Zenith killed Clearpath. This was bound to escalate again.

Late in the afternoon of March 28, 2002 Zeniths silhouet appeared in the skies over Cleveland Ohio. She was cacking at SW who was breeding her 4 eggs. When Zenith arrived in the area SW left the nest box immediately and Buckeye took over the egg-sitting duty. He spent a considerable amount of time looking up at what was probably the two females.


Tony Rinicella was there at that time. Here is his account of the battle between SW and Zenith on that Thursday, March 28, 2002:

The final Zenith thread: Rest now sweet falcon
I thought I'd be done tearing up by now, but just writing that thread subject brought out more tears again.

I take the Regional Transit (like a subway, only above ground) to work most days. It drops me at Tower City (the mega-mall that is part of the Terminal Tower complex), and I walk across Public Square to get to work. Of course, I'm always looking up in the sky or at the nest, on my way across the 2 city blocks that make up Public Square.

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Battle Clearpath/Zenith

Today, I was a little distracted checking my e-mail on my wireless Blackberry handheld e-mail pager. As soon as I walked out of the front doors of Terminal Tower I heard something. It was a falcon making that ki-ki-ki noise, VERY loudly. So, I bolted across the street to get a better view of the nest. My jaw dropped. It wasn't one Falcon making that noise. There were two! My heart sank, I knew it was Zenith.

All I could see from my vantage point was part of the backside of one falcon and wings. There were wings everywhere, almost like they were beating each other up with their wings. I e-mailed Cecilia from my handheld immediately. "What is happening right now on the cam?". Impatient, 'freaking-out' me, I e-mailed her a second time, "Ceil what's going on!!!!". I replied to one of her earlier e-mails "Zenith's Home!". She replied to my first e-mail "Nothing out of the ordinary, why?". "Zenith's home!", I replied again. "Are you sure?" she asks. (This e-mail pager thing is awesome). "They are fighting right in front of me!", I typed.

The two falcons fell off of the ledge and smack dab into the middle of the street (why do they ALWAYS land in the middle of the street!). I freaked. I ran around a dump truck and saw one falcon on her back, the other on top of her. They stopped fighting for a second, almost as if to say "O my! We're on the ground!". City falcons rarely, if ever, land on the ground. Even if they kill a meal, once it hits they ground they won't go after it.

They broke apart and I lost site of one of them. The other started flying real low to the ground, probably 20 feet up (lower than the nest, another rarity). I saw her fly around one last time, pick up a little speed, then she slammed into the other falcon, who was right above the pedestrian area of Public Square (right above people's heads. Anyone notice? No!).

Again, I could only keep my eyes on one bird at a time and I saw the one I was watching pull up and land on a 2 foot wide ledge on the old (now empty) Dillards building. She stayed there for a second so I tried to find the other one. I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye, and turned just in time to see (at this point, because of what happened later, I now know who was who) SW come in and land on the ledge, where Zenith was.

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Battle Clearpath/Zenith

I saw the flurry of wings again. The ki-ki-ki going the whole time. This went on for an agonizingly long time. Then it got eerily quiet. I knew that couldn't be good. I saw SW's head pop-up for a few seconds. She just stood there. E-mailed Ceil (there was a flurry of e-mail going on between us) "I think one may be dead". Hoping that wasn't true, and not wanting to freak anyone out I e-mailed her again, "Maybe not".

I could not see much, so I ran (I mean RAN) to my building (the tallest in town), up the elevator to someone's office where I thought I could find a telescope. No scope. ARGH! Ran up 2 more flights of stairs to another office, where I KNEW someone had a tele-scope. She was on the phone, and I just bolted right in and grabbed her t-scope. (She's cool and let's me use it whenever I want). I trained it on the spot where I thought they were and I saw them. I only found them for a second because then they dropped ("they" I thought at the time) out of sight.

Thinking they fell to the street again, I bolted back down to Public Square. I couldn't find either one of them. Emailed Ceil "Can't find them!". Then I saw a Peregrine land on the very corner of Stouffers Hotel (looking back, a perfect place for her to see the nest and the dead falcon). E-mailed "Found one, fightings stopped for now". I looked to the Dillards ledge where they were fighting. I thought I saw just the very tips of two wings. I even went and walked up one of the fountains on Public Square (they are shut off now) to see if I could get a better look. No, same two little tips.

A few minutes later, Scott showed up. I was looking for him because Ceil told me he was almost there. I swear he came out of my back pocket! (Comic Relief). I told him what happened and showed him where the wing tips were. Falcon guru that he is, he immediately said "Those are falcon wings!". We went up to to the law firm that the nest is outside of, and opened a window to get a better look.

It was a falcon. We went to the owners of the building and they hooked us up with someone that could take us into the now defunct, locked Dillards building. I hoped it wasn't my girl. Eggs, or no eggs, it's no secret that Zenith is my favorite, and I hoped it wasn't her. I couldn't remember her band numbers and asked Scott. "Black band, and the letters" (which I still can't think of at the moment), he told me.

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Clearpath

We got the window open and Scott looked outside (here come tears again)....

"It's Z....".
I won't tell you the next few words that came out of his mouth, suffice it to say that he was quite upset. Her tail feathers were under some wiring that runs along that ledge, and me and Scott wonder if those wires played a part in her demise.

He went out on the ledge (mr. acrobat) and brought her in.
Scott doesn't go into details about falcon injuries or deaths and out of respect for him and Z, I won't either. She was in bad shape, already dead, and bleeding badly, is all I will say in a public forum.

I touched her talons and looked at the bands, if only to confirm with my own eyes that it was Z. I touched her belly, and it was just like I always figured it would be (as I've never touched a P-bird). Very soft, fluffy, and (still) warm. I whispered, with tears in my eyes "bye baby girl".
Scott said "She's no baby girl". Well she is and always will be, to me.....

It bothers me to think of how far she might have travelled (Central, maybe South America) just to die here in Cleveland.

RIP sweetheart. You will be missed.

I saw SW flying around at about 2:30, very briefly.


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Zenith

On the way home (back across Public Square) I stopped to see if I could find SW. Finally, I did see her, 50 stories above the city buzzing the Key Tower building. She circled it a few times, wings stretched wide, hardly flapping. I saw her flap a few times and she came to a landing, nearly on the peak of the tallest building between New York and Chicago (Key Tower). It was almost as if she were saying...

"This is my town now.............".

And from Scott Wright:

A final Goodbye
I now can post my report.

This morning she was picked up by the Ohio Division of Wildlife after a weeks stay in my freezer (much to the disaproaval of my wife) I could not post to the community with her still a chillin in my fridge.

I had spent 9 years getting to know her, I spent more time with her than with my wife during nesting time.

How can I describe her?

She was a devoted mother and a verocious defender of her nest and nest mate.

Can anything be done to prevent something like this from happening again? NO! Nature must take her path and humans can only assist when a bird is injured or worse.

She had over 30 young in 9 years, one year she laid 7 (seven) eggs, I could not find the exact number of offspring she had but I am also counting the two young that died before fledging.

Her passing touches me deeply, and words can not describe the true sadness I feel touching me.

Yes she was a wild creature, and I say I do not form emotional attachments with them, but I spent several thousands of hours with her and her chicks/fledged young.

I have rescued many young from certain death after they have landed in the street and she has greeted me at the window upon the return of her wayward offspring.

I bare the scars of her tallons on my left arm from the time I helped remove a week old chick that had died in the nest.

I had a bond with her that is hard to define, a love hate relationship that crossed the bounds of Human, Falcon limits.

So yes I was attached to her, I knew her very well.

In a way I was secretly wishing she would not return as I knew what the out come would be when she did return.

Why did I risk my life to retrive her lifeless body?

I can not realy asnwer that question, but I can offer a few thoughts that were going on inside my thick skull.

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Zenith

I can say that I could not let her sit on that ledge waiting for ODW to come and get her, when they would have done so is anyones guess.

I called them as soon as I had her and they said they would send some one to pick her up, yet 5 hours later I ended up taking her home to my freezer (this in now way is ment to be a critical observation on the ODW or the ODNR, just an observation to help you all understand why I did what I did)

She holds a special place in the State of Ohio Peregrine Restoration, and I knew that she would at some point be mounted and placed in a place of honor and used to inform and enlighten people on the majesty and beauty of the Peregrine falcon.

I had to get her back inside, the longer she sat out on the ledge the longer the new female would be away from her eggs, she would continue to watch and vocalize above her.

So I went out, not a very smart idea. I had to drop four feet down to a ledge I could not see, find the ledge with my feet and not trip over the electric cables (3 of them) housed at the very edge of the ledge.

With Tony and Dan holding my right hand I leaned out as far as I could to grab her with my left arm, I was able to get her even though the ledge had a melting layer of ice and snow.

I am saddened by the turn of events, and know that Falcon life will always go on, but some how a part of the history of the Terminal Tower nest site will always carry the name Zenith.

Remember her well, and may her many offspring carry her name for many decades yet to come.

Scott

Following her death, Zenith spent several years in the care of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. In 2005 she was taken to The Cleveland Museum of Natural History where she was taxidermed.

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Zenith

This is one of the most impressive livereports of a falconbattle I have ever red. I wonder if there ever will be a time I can read it without crying.

Territorial battles are a part of the peregrine falcons life. They are warriors, these beautiful creatures. Raptors, birds of prey, they hunt and kill every day to survive. They live their life with so much passion; they completely surrender themselves to the intense life they live. When it comes to reproduction they defend their nest, their partner, their eyases with their life.

Sometimes, especialy when someone dies we all love so dearly, this circle of life seems so cruel. But it is not, it is a promise, no a guarantee that life always goes on, no matter what. Only the form in which it presents itself changes. Not the essence, which is love.

Clearpath, Zenith went into a battle with courage, as all falcons do. A battle which only one would survive. They knew that. This day was a good day to die. Any day is a good day to die when you live your life without fear, because only then you are truely free. Any day is a good day to die when you live your life to the fullest. As Zenith did, as Clearpath did, as all peregrine falcons do. They live their life with passion, and die their death with passion. She gave her life for live itself, Zenith died with honor, as Clearpath did.

Their wings touched eternity on that last flight..Now they both will live on in our memory, in their offspring to which they passed their genes. They both are beautiful, majestic, honorable falconspirits.
We will never forget you, Zenith and Clearpath we will always love you both for who you still are.
Fly free, soar high Clearpath and Zenith

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:25 pm 
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Original post by BIGFRANK

I know I will not get every fact of this story correct,but everything in it is true. I say this because it is unbelievable.

Nate was one of four young peregrines introduced to Richmond Hill in the summer of 1999 through the Canadian Peregrine Foundation's Project Release.In early October, Nate began his southward journey. Within just over one month, he flew nearly 5000 km to reach the coast of Colombia, where he spent the winter. During the first week of April, Nate finally began to move again - and within a month was back home in Ontario.
In October 2000, Nate was fitted with a transmitter,as part of the Canadian Peregrine Foundations Project Track'em. Nate was tracked to Cartagena, Colombia,where he started to make a dent in the local pigeon population. Columbians love their pigeons apparently and they did not take kindly to Nate. They saw the antenea of his tracking unit and labelled him a spy bird. This and his killing of pigeons resulted in the local government issuing "an order to dispatch". This meant someone was liscensed to kill Nate.
Fortunately for Nate,The Canadian Peregrine Foundation and science in general a local newspaper picked up the story. The newspaper reporter was a bird guy,and he didnt want this endangered bird killed. Word somehow made it back to Mark Nash. He was frantic,making phone calls all over the world from his small head office phone in Toronto Canada. He implored everyone in authority here and all over to stop the murder of Nate. The story got wings if U will,and it hit news in many places. Mark was set to go to Columbia himself and save the bird..fight the authorities,when some cooler head pointed out that Columbia wasnt somewhere one did such things(it was a dangerous place). Hours passed..days passed,Mark was in touch with local leaders and higher. The local reporter ran a whole series of stories telling of the Peregrines plight and how international efforts were being made to save the bird and how it was involved in being tracked and was not being used to spy on them. Mark got a call,from someone to this day unknown to him. The fellow explained there would be no further problem and that the order to dispatch was cancelled,that there was now armed guards protecting Nate now,not so much becuz he was thought to be a spy any longer but because his tracking unit was worth a very large sum of money. His caller was a bird guy from the US who worked for ...U wont believe me but I swear its true...The US CIA. One phone call to Columbia from him and all was well. Nate eventually returned to Ontario and went on for another year being tracked and had a nest in the Toronto area.Not only was Nate adventurous and a great father ,as well as a friend to those who followed his adventures from around the world,but made huge contributions to what is known about Peregrine Falcons by being invovled in the CPF project(The only bird to complete three full years of radio tracking.) He is still fondly remembered,his story told many times...Nates final story was in 2005 about his passing called The Late Great Nate. One of his offspring still nests in Toronto,Lawrie. The grandson of the newspaper writer in Columbia joined us in 2008 for a banding ceremony in Toronto.

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Original Post by skygirlblue

I know I shan't do this justice, but the story of Mercury (Dayton, OH) really stuck in my mind and heart from last year. Mercury, by the way, is Orville's dad.......Mercury arrived in Dayton OH in 1992....He was hacked in Cincinnatti in 1990 and his soon to be mate, Rachel, was hacked in Columbus in 1991. they had no eggs their first year. In 1993 they raised two young on the Lazarus building. In 1994, Rachel did not return..but her remains were found several years later in a building where she had become trapped.

Soon, Mercury took a new mate, Baltimore. They raised no young their first year...but between 1995 and 1999, together they raised 16. Tragedy struck in 2000 when the newly hatched young disappeard. In 2001, 3 young were raised successfully...but later that summer Baltimore was badly injured and later died...

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(Mercury~picture by Rita on the Cleveland Forum)

In 2002 enter Snowball, mother of Orville. 3 young were raised. (a little aside...Snowball's mother was Clearpath, mentioned by Froona and her father was Wizard, son of Roosevelt and Freedom of AEP) In 2003...a very special year...Orville and his brother Wilbur were born...
2004=4 young, 2005=3 young, 2006=4 young...

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(Mercury~picture by Rita on the Cleveland Forum)

....but 2007 proved to be Mercury's greatest test as a falcon and a father...He was 17 years old that season...Snowball laid 4 eggs, with 3 hatching...they were doting parents with a huge cam following..

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(Picture by Rita, Cleveland forum...Mercury on the left, Snowball on the right)

On May 21, 2007 Rita posted on the Cleveland forum that Snowball had not been seen since May 19th. Needless to say everyone was notified who could be notified, even the Newspapers and TV stations...Volunteers in the area were alerted to keep an eye out in hopes of locating her, to no avail....Mercury was now a lone parent with huge reponsibilites. Many options were entertained from fostering the chicks out to supplementing food...but Mercury continued to faithfully feed and take care of his 3 young. ALONE! Enduring extreme weather changes, exhaustion, hungry and motherless babes....From all accounts, Mercury was a hero...facing the daunting challenge of raising 3 babes, with courage and determination. He never faltered or abandoned his reponsibilites or his children....and as a reward...All 3 fledged succesfully...

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(Pictures by Rita, Cleveland Forum)

Enter 2008...with much anticipation...waiting for Mercury, now 18, to return, locate a new mate, continue his incredible legacy, and add to his already existing 40 children. But he did not...and thus, a new couple took up residence in the Boonshoft Museum nest.

As far as I know, Mercury has not been found or spotted....Let's hope this nest carries the courage, vivacity, soul, and enduring love which was epitomized by Mercury.

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Mercury, you are a champion amongst all of God's creatures....soar joyously through eternity.....


Many thanks to the wonderful accounts, dialogue, and pics on the Cleveland Forum...I'm sure I did not do his story justice, but I was very touched by the words of all who knew and loved him...

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:27 pm 
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Original Post by Froona

Beautiful SGB!! Absolutely wonderful.

A true hero he was and still is: Mercury!

Indeed may he soar and fly mighty through eternity, I'm sure he will

I did not know a daughter of Clearpath is the mother of Orville of the Rhodes Tower. That gives me very much comfort to know Clearpath lives on in Orville and all his juvs. Wonderful!

Love to see those DNA lines in the population.



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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:28 pm 
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Original Post by Froona

Pa of De Mortel : SuperPa

In the winter of 2004-2005 members of the Vogel Werkgroep Gemert observed a peregrine falcon couple around the communication tower in De Mortel, The Netherlands. A very special observation since this bird of prey is an endangered and almost extinct species in the Netherlands.

It was soon discovered that the male had been banded in Germany, the female, unbanded. The couple clearly was attracted to the 130 meter’s high tower. However, there was no suitable and safe place to nest and bring up eyases. The Vogel Werkgroep Gemert decided to build a nestbox and obtained permission from the owner of the tower, KPN, to place the box on the roof of the tower.

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The peregrine falcon couple almost immediately moved in. In March 2005 the female laid two eggs. There was much excitement when both eggs hatched. This was so unique that a webcam was placed in the nestbox. The live streaming was hosted by KPN Planet. The two eyases, May and June, grew up healthy and fledged safely.

In the following year, 2006, the female, Ma, laid 4 eggs which all hatched. The male, Pa, proved to be an excellent provider who brought a lot of prey to his hungry eyases. KPN placed a second cam outside the nestbox so everybody could watch the juveniles play on the ledge and eventually fledge. They were named Pili, Tua, Dos and Dua. It was very clear that Pa and Ma were here to stay. The tower and the area around it was their territory.

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Ma with her eyases

In 2007 the livestream started very early. Because of that we could all witness that something was going on early in the season. An intruder presented herself to the resident couple. Both Ma and Pa tried to evict her from their territory, but they failed. She kept on coming back. Nevertheless Pa and Ma went on with courtship and mating. Ma laid 3 eggs and the brooding phase started. On Saturday April 14, the first eyas hatched, followed the next day by 2 siblings.

During the next 4 days the intruder did not appear, but on thursday she was back. Ma left her eyases and chased after her. She did not come back for hours later, when it was already dark. She seemed to be exhausted and injured. But did not manage to chase of the intruder. She was still around and walked on the ledge towards the ledgecam and showed everybody her legband: S2. She is S2 and hatched in Seraing, Belgium in 2005.

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3 peregrine falcons om April 22

Things were bound to escalate. Neither Pa nor Ma had been able to chase this huge feisty female out of their territory. She was there to stay. Ma would have to engage in battle to decide who was the resident female, she or S2. Things did not look good for Ma. Everybody feared for the outcome. Sunday April 22 was the day the battle was fought.

It was a beautiful warm and sunny April day. Many watchers went to the tower that day to watch the food deliveries to the nest when the battle started.
S2 lured Ma out of the nestbox with her provocative behaviour. When Ma was out, S2 started to attack. Watchers saw how both falcons chased and attacked eachother. One moment both falcons with talons clutched dropped down 130 mtrs screaming to eachother and picking to eachothers breast. They dropped to the ground and chased eachother into the woods around the tower. Later that afternoon both were back up the ledge and on the antenna, but Ma seemed to be badly injured: her chestfeathers were red with blood. S2 kept on attacking untill in the early evening only S2 was to be seen on the ledge. No sign of Ma. It was of course impossible to see what went on on top of the tower out of reach of the cams.

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S2

Ma was never seen again, nor her orange legband. It is impossible she would have left the tower, and more important her eyases. We have looked on the roof if we could find her there, but she was not. She will have been badly injured and could have tried to fly and dropped to the ground where she will have been attacked by other predators. The Tower is in wildlife area, it is impossible to find an injured animal there. She was killed by S2 in battle. She died and honorable dead.

During the fight Pa was with his 3 eyases. They were only 7 days old. That evening when Ma did not come back, he kept his eyases warm. Pa seemed to be a little bit afraid of this huge feisty female stuffed with matinghormones who chased him around the tower, even in the nestbox. She even chased Pa off his eyases.

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S2 waiting for Pa to fly in prey for the eyases to grab it.

Fortunately April was very hot that year. The eyases were warm and comfortable during the day and night. And Pa kept on feeding his eyases. S2 wanted to mate with Pa, that much was very obvious. She displayed in courtship behaviour, but Pa did not react. What a hero to withstand the seduction efforts of this beautiful young falcon. But Pa decided that his eyases were much more important. Thanks to his hormones which told him to keep feeding, instead of mating.

S2 however, with Ma gone, did everything to seduce Pa to mate with her. Every prey item Pa delivered to the nest for his hungry eyases was immediately taken by S2. Of course! She interpreted this as courtship prey. Very natural behaviour. But for the watchers it was nerve wrecking. What could be seen, were 2 kinds of behaviour: Pa in post-courtship feeding behaviour and S2 in courtship behaviour. The result was that the eyases did not get enough to eat. The youngest one, who was not strong to begin with, was pushed aside by the eldest 2 eyases when food was offered by Pa. And it got weaker and weaker. The heat of this warm april, hunger and not enough fluid caused his demise. He died on April 29.

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Pa feeding, S2 waiting and ee-chupping on the grid

Pa kept on catching prey and delivering it to his now 2 eyases. S2 tried to take it away, but clever Pa thought of inovative solutions. We saw how he was hiding prey items. Then he caught a new prey, gave it to S2, and then got the hidden prey and could feed his eyases without interuptions by S2. The eyases, in spite of not getting quite enough did grow and did look fairly good.

Days went by and the struggle kept on unwinding in front of the webcams. But when one watched closely one could see a kind of change in S2. She was watching when Pa was feeding his eyases. She came in the nestbox and tried to feed too, but left. But something was going on in her body: hormone change. It got later in the season. Pa did not respond to her courtship behaviour: her testosteron levels were dropping.

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S2 on Mothersday

Mothersday May 13 2007. Miracles still do happen!!!

The youngsters were 4 weeks old now. In the afternoon S2 came in the nestbox, looked around and was not planning to leave. Both eyases were screaming to her: feed me, feed me. She played with little stones, and then sat down with the eayses. They started billing with S2 and she allowed it. She started nibbling back on their bills. They were actuallly at that very moment activating her feeding behaviour. And she did respond. She tried to find some prey left overs and started feeding them, or at least she tried to.

After that, both eyases went back to their favorite corner and S2 tried to brood them. It was quite touching to see, very sweet. And although everybody was totally extatic, me too, this was normal behaviour. Peregrine falcons are very good foster parents. After those mating hormones dropped in her, there was every possibility she would start feeding.

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S2 with the fresh caught pigeon on Mothersday evening

S2 stayed with the eyases for hours. Pa did not intrude. What a very wise guy he is to leave them alone in such an important transitionstage. At 21:15, S2 left the nestbox and flew off. She was back within 15 minutes. She landed on the grid very loudly, and was totally out of breath. She pulled a big fat just caught pigeon over the treshhold. The eyases were screaming! They had not had fresh prey in a very long time.

S2 started plucking the bird and the youngest eyas, Faith, was brave enough to come nearer, screaming. And then S2 pulled of a piece of meat and really started feeding the little one. And she liked it!! She made little feeding sounds, and that made Hope decide to come nearer as well. They were fed untill their crops were as big as balloons. But S2 wanted to feed more and more, but they were totally stuffed.

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S2 feeding Hope

That night the young mother stayed with her eyases, and protected them with her wings. They were tsjirping and billing and it was so beautiful to watch. I did cry, even when I write this with tears in my eyes. The next morning when Pa brought food, she took it away and chased him out and started feeding. It was a miracle. From that moment on S2 took very, very good care of her 2 eyases who turned into 2 beautiful, strong an healthy juvs . Pa, SuperPa disappeared to the background. Delivered prey but left domestic things to his young mate. We all could see how the 2 adults were bonding in teh meantime, they went hunting together and took care of the 2 juvs.

Both Juveniles Hope and Faith fledged savely. S2 and Pa tought them how to be a peregrine falcon. They left the Tower in September to built a life for themselves. S2 and Pa stayed at the tower. S2 turned out to be a great Mum. In 2008 she laid her first 4 eggs from which 4 strong and healthy juveniles fledged.

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Pa of De Mortel: a legend

Pa, is called SuperPa now and turned into a living legend. What he did was very special. Not only did he raise 2 motherless eyases, but he did withstand the seduction of a very attractive young female, to leave and kill his own eyases and start a new clutch with her. That is truelly exceptional! He is a true hero and a very good father!
And of course, beautiful S2, she is a hero as well. To turn around like this, she is exceptional as well. I love her, for me she is an icon. She is my inspiration.

Froona

On my website is a day to day video report of the whole 2007 season. You can watch every day on video.

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Original post by Froona

Everything that happened that season 2007 was perfectly natural. The behaviour of S2 was natural and of Pa as well.

The nestsite is his and his alone: he is Lord of the Tower. That's why he tried to evict S2 in the beginning, together with Ma. But when it comes to a fight, that battle will always be between 2 of the same gender. The other one does not interfere. It is a matter of the strongest genes. The one that survives had those strong genes and is therefore the best mate to produce the equally strong offspring.

So Ma had to fight with S2. We do not know how old she was, she was not banded. So I suspect her to have been much older than we thought. A female who cannot evict another female from het territory is old or sick. S2 is a huge and feisty falcon. I have seen her several times in flesh and feathers and she is most impressive. ( And very sweet and georgious)

S2 was loaded with hormones when she arrived. But Pa did not react to her. The hormone levels of a female are pushed up by mating behaviour of the male. But here, Pa already mated, and what's much more important, there had been eggs. As soon as the male actually sees the eggs the prolactine levels in his blood start to increase. This has the development of the broodpatch as a result. Other hormones that are important here are estradiole and progesterone.

So Pa had high prolactine levels which told him to brood the eggs and after hatching to brood his chicks and feed them

In S2 the hormone levels were totally different. Her body was telling her: mating. And that increased after she killed Ma and had this handsome male all for herself. Mistake dear. Pa was not interested.

Mating, brooding, eyases and molt are always in balance. Testosteron and molt do not match. So in order to start molting, those testosterone levels have to drop. And that was what made the switch in S2. testosteron dropped, T4 raised, and the natural behaviour emerged: fostering motherless sweet chicks. She is one born mother. that much we have seen last season. She just adores little ones, and the worship her.

So besides nerve wrecking it was from a scientific point of view very very interesting and amazing.

And make no mistake about it, animals do not hate, do not harm on purpose, are not cruel willingly. Only humans are....
S2 did not steal those prey items to hurt the little ones. She followed her instinct: males offer prey as a mating gift, so she accepted.


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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:33 pm 
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Original Post by SGB

~Kaver~

Well, we haven't added any one to this special group in a very long time...Birdmusic has just posted a wonderful video about the Mariah and Kaver legacy in Rochester....it is beautiful...I do not know that much about Kaver, but he certainly deserves a spot in The Falcon Hall of Fame..

If there are any of you who have special memories of Kaver, I would love for you to share them here...

Video posted Earlier by Birdmusic:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2553N1t4ys

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 Post subject: Re: HALL OF FAME
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Original post by Caitie

My fondest memories of Kaver are throughout the 8 years I watched him raise his eyasses with such dedication. He was a superb male falcon, devoted mate to Mariah, skilled hunter, and excellent provider each and every nesting season... But in 2006 Kaver proved to us all what a truly amazing falcon he was...
It was the saddest spring for all who participated on the Kodak discussion and Yahoo falconcam group Boards.
It started out as the happiest of times with Mariah having laid 6 eggs. Then after the 4th had hatched we all came to realize something wasn't right with the littlest eyas we came to call little Rose. Watchers had already noted amongst themselves about the same time that Mariah was flying with her left talon dangling lower then the right and she seemed to be not favoring it or using it to clutch her prey as she flew into the nest. We on the board in hindsight were starting to realize Kaver seemed to be doing double duty on brooding the eggs. Mariah we were told had sustained some type of injury to her left foot/leg. We noticed she was brooding a bit differently balancing on her wings more then we had ever experienced before. The littlest one "Rose" pulled away and laid alone, exposed to the elements. It seemed Mariah and Kaver would try to keep the little one closer but "she" would just end up away again. Kaver hunted day and night more so this year because he needed to feed his family and his mate Mariah who was struggling through her injury trying desperately to keep all 4 together and covered. Within a few days of being born our littlest eyas "Rose" passed away which left 3 seemingly healthy and happy little mouths to feed. One day after Rose died the 5th egg hatched. Sadly this little one ended up being an eyas that didn't make it as well and within a day or two it passed on in the same manner as Rose. Once it was reported in a post that Kaver picked up the little one and placed him within the soft feathers of his siblings to try to save him. It was heart breaking to watch especially since we on the Kodak Board had never seen an eyas die in the 4 years we all watched this amazing nest. We were spoiled by the successes. We all grieved for days..

After all the sadness...There was Kaver still working his tail off hunting and feeding all in the nest. Then Mariah slowly started to recover and I believe it was because of Kaver that she did. He saved her and his remaining 3 eyasses who most certainly would have perished due to Mariahs injury.
3 healthy female falcons fledged that year: Sabrina, Aura, and one little one, Rhea Mae, was identified by her band a few years later raising Mariah and Kaver's grandchildren. All Thanks to Kaver.
As you can see by the tribute video posted we went on to have 2 more successful nesting seasons. We never lost another eyas thanks to these two awesome Peregrine Falcons Mariah and Kaver.
In 2009 we no longer had a nestbox on the Kodak building due to renovations. This is the same year we also lost Kaver. He simply never came home. I loved him .. we all loved him. Our hearts still ache for our amazing Kaver.

I hope my memory of 2006 does Kaver justice. I'm not a watcher just a board participant there as I am here but I wanted to share this story for the Falcon Hall of Fame.

Caitie

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