Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘peregrine falcon’

Jersey City Falcon Cam Alumni Update: 79/AN “Ivy”

Monday, November 30th, 2015
Jersey Girl settles in Toronto, Canada

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

79/AN "Ivy" continues in Canada. Photo by Charmaine Anderson taken in Toronto, Ontario.

79/AN “Ivy” continues in Canada. Photo by Charmaine Anderson taken in Toronto, Ontario.

The above photo could be of any peregrine falcon from the continental United States. But, with the use of auxiliary “field readable” leg bands (NJ falcons where a black federal band on their right leg and a bi-color [green-black] band on their left leg) we know that this is 79/AN, a one year old falcon with roots in Jersey City, New Jersey. She originated at a nest atop 101 Hudson St., where an online camera has broadcast the live stream since the early 2000’s. If you watched her grow up then you know that she came from a special breed of falcons: absolute fearless and truly dedicated ones. I know I’ll never forget banding her…it was quite the memorable experience.

But she was the last of their kind. Ivy’s adopted parents at Jersey City were replaced with new adults in the winter of 2014-15 and their nest site was taken over by new adults. Today, the bands on her legs allow us and others the ability to properly identify her in the field. Without the bands that she wears, we would not know anything about the bird in this photo. Instead we know that 79/AN or “Ivy” as she’s been named has been hanging around several existing nest sites in Toronto. These nest sites are dominated by older (and now infertile) adult females. Could Ivy be setting the stage for a nest takeover of her own?

Only time will tell… She’s been seen there for several months now (after being re-captured in September), and it does seem like she has no reason to leave, with an aging population of breeding falcons, plentiful prey (like pigeons, doves and blackbirds), and plenty of rooftops, it sounds great for young falcons like 79/AN!

This also goes to show that banding young falcons in New Jersey is a critical tool for biologists to be able to learn a lot about them, including their age, mortality rate, breeding success, migration patterns, turnover rates, and more. We’re excited for future updates from the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, who monitor these majestic birds in Canada. The Jersey City Falcon Cam will be re-activated in mid-February.

Jersey City Falcon ruffles some Canadian feathers!

Friday, September 18th, 2015
79/AN or “Ivy” thriving in Toronto

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

 

Look at that plumage! A beautiful two year old female peregrine falcon. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

Look at that plumage! A beautiful two year old female peregrine falcon. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

I’ll never forget banding this particular eyas. Here’s a flashback entry of Nestbox News after the banding:

 

“The banding day when as smooth as it could. I found I would be all alone with banding there the evening before (Kathy was too engulfed in budgeting to join me). So, for the first time I would be banding at JC (Jersey City) all alone. I have banded young falcons before, so I wasn’t worried. If you know me, I like a good challenge! Six guests joined me to watch at 101 Hudson St. and our Executive Director, David Wheeler would be joining us to help. However, things changed rapidly.. Shortly after arriving I got a call from David that he had vehicles issues while only 1 mile away! He was stuck and could not abandon his car, which was a rental…bummer! I was all on my own now. For safety reasons, I was the only person allowed on the roof to grab the eyas. Easy, right? I thought so… I had all my gear: helmet, umbrella, gloves, box. Check. I headed out onto the roof to grab the eyas. As soon as I opened the door the adult female came diving down from the upper parapet to drive me off. We use an umbrella to ward her off. Since Kathy had the usual umbrella, I brought my wife’s. When I had to grab the eyas I needed two hands, so with no helper (to hold the umbrella) I sat it down on the edge of the nestbox and on my helmet. I quickly load the eyas in the box. I hear the female swoop down towards my head. The umbrella is gone! She took my wife’s umbrella and flew off with it! I bring the eyas inside, examined her (determined its a female) and band her legs for future tracking. All in all, everything went well considering the circumstances. I never found the umbrella…” —Fast forward to this past March… I got the umbrella back!! Building engineers at 101 Hudson St. found my wife’s umbrella on a ledge of the building.

 

Ivy to other sites

Map of nest sites and the banding station.

After an uneventful season for all of us Falcon Cam viewers this year we need some positive news… Well, last week 79/AN or “Ivy” was re-captured at a banding station outside of Toronto, Canada. She has also caused quite a news storm up there! After she was captured Tracy Simpson, Raptor Centre and Education Coordinator with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation started to piece together the puzzle…

 

“We were talking about her last night and thinking, “Oh yeah, remember that sub (adult) that showed up at that one nest a few times…  …and don’t forget that other incident downtown. Could that have been Ivy?”  So she is suspect number one in several incursion incidents around the southern province all along the lakeshore area.” said Tracy. Apparently Ivy is working her way into the local peregrine falcon scene, which looks to be pretty active up there.

 

Sporting her bands. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

Sporting her bands. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

Ivy was caught in a mist net at a hawk watch/banding station, called the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station. She was described as a “cracking female Peregrine falcon” who was already banded. They assumed she was a Toronto hatched falcon but after being caught they reported the bands to USGS and found out that she’s a Jersey City girl! Here’s a link to their post on Facebook with more photos.

 

Tracy informed me that they have some volunteers who are watching her interaction with the local resident pairs. She also said that Ivy “stands a real chance at finding a home here in Toronto.” We’re happy to know that 79/AN is alive and well in Canada. Hopefully we’ll get some more news on her in the future, all because she was banded!

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more:

 

Ben Wurst is the Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Photo from the Field: Lone peregrine falcon eyas

Thursday, June 18th, 2015
This week we visited the latest peregrine falcon nest in New Jersey. We were there to check for hatching. Here is what we found. A lone 17 day old male falcon. He is the youngest falcon in New Jersey. Click to view large. Photo by Ben Wurst.

This week we visited the latest peregrine falcon nest in New Jersey. We were there to check for hatching. Here is what we found. A lone 17 day old male falcon. He is the youngest falcon in New Jersey. Photo by Ben Wurst.

Photos from the Field: Successful Year for Bayside State Prison Falcons

Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Endangered Falcons are Doing Well this Year!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

So far this has been a good year for peregrine falcons. Almost all known nest sites have produced young, even the natural nests on the New Jersey Palisades, which are prone to failure from strong winds and driving rain associated with Nor’easters in early spring. One successful site is at Bayside State Prison. The nest there is on top of a 120′ water tower. The pair of falcons nests in a nestbox that was installed several years ago after a old hacking tower was decommissioned on the coastal saltmarshes along the Delaware Bay. For the past two years the site has been active and productive. This year two young eyases were produced (one was produced in 2014). Last week we joined Kathy Clark and John Heilferty with the NJ Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered Species Program to band the two young falcons.

We climbed the 120′ tower to access the nest and band the young. As we climbed the tower the adult female was calm but as we got to the half way point she became aggressive towards us to defend her nest and young. We were wary of her the whole time and spent as little time as possible on the tower while banding the young to minimize the stress to her from constantly flying and dive bombing us, which she did. We were lucky to have a steel railing to protect us (and helmets), as she came very close to us. At times she would perch behind me or John on the railing. Once we were done banding we climbed down and she returned to her nest to find that her young were not harmed.

Banding is a critical tool for avian biologists to learn a lot about birds. For New Jersey falcons we tag them with a black USGS federal band and a bi-color / alpha-numeric band, which allows us to be able to identify each individual bird. It also provides more valuable information including nest success, age, site fidelity, and the turnover rate in the population. At all nest sites in New Jersey, after we have successfully identified the breeding pair, we continually monitor each nest or eyrie until the young are old enough to band (approximately 3-4 weeks old). In 2014 there were 29 active nests in New Jersey (up from 26 in 2013). The core of the population continues to nest on towers and buildings throughout the state.

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Ben W. and John H. climbing the 120′ tower. Photo By Kathy Clark/ENSP

Banding

Ben prepares to band a nestling that John holds. Photo by Kathy Clark/ENSP

Dive bombed!

Dive bombed! Yes, the female came very close to us! Photo by Kathy Clark/ENSP

Two 3.5 week old young. One male; one female. Photo by Ben Wurst

Two 3.5 week old young. One male; one female. Photo by Ben Wurst

John Heilferty holds a 3.5 week old peregrine falcon as it was banded for future tracking.

John Heilferty, ENSP Biologist holds a 3.5 week old peregrine falcon as it was banded for future tracking.

Ben Wurst climbs down the 150' water tower. Photo by John Heilferty/ENSP.

Ben Wurst climbs down the 120′ water tower. Photo by John Heilferty/ENSP.

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Photo from the Field: First falcons of 2015

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Monitoring for hatching at Peregrine falcon nests

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Four 14 day old peregrine falcon nestlings. Photo by Ben Wurst

Four 14 day old peregrine falcon nestlings. Each spring we visit all known falcon nests to check for hatching. At the time we age the young and then inspect them for any parasites and treat them. Then our final visit is to band the young for future tracking. Photo by Ben Wurst