2017 Nestbox News
This was the first year that 41/AX and her mate successfully fledged young! Of three eggs that were laid in April, one hatched in May. BD/62 fledged in mid-July.
JC Alumni update! ~ We received news from our NJDFW colleagues that a falcon produced from this eyrie was recently re-sighted while nesting in NYC. 40/S or "Alpine", a male, was one of three young that were produced from this nest site in 2007. When we look back at the Nestbox News from that year, we also see that some human compassion helped saved his life:
"June 15, 2007
This week has been an active one for the Jersey City nest site. The male eyas, "Alpine," took his first flight on or about Tuesday, and sightings suggest he was grounded for a little while before flying off. But Wednesday, he was delivered to the Raptor Trust, having been picked up by Jersey City Animal Control staff.
The Raptor Trust staff checked him out (he was uninjured), and gave him a couple good meals, and ENSP staff placed him back on the roof of 101 Hudson on Thursday morning. We believe he was on camera late Thursday, flying in with the remains of some prey, which "Roxanne" promptly took from him! Roxanne is approximately a week behind the others developmentally, so has been limited to walking around the roof and, with growing frequency, doing flapping exercises to gain strength. "Linn," the larger female, has been exercising (running and flapping) this week and is probably nearing her first attempt at flight."
He had reportedly been nesting at Chelsea Pier in 2009 and 2010 and for a least the past year, he was confirmed to be nesting at 2 Penn Plaza in NYC, which is only 3.23 miles from 101 Hudson St. We're glad to hear that a falcon from this eyrie is alive and well and nesting in the NYC/NJ metro area!
We lost connection with the camera and audio. We aren't sure what happened, but it is time for us to de-activate the camera during the non-breeding season for falcons anyway. We are extremely excited for the success of the pair at 101 Hudson St. this year and can't wait for the beginning of their next nesting season in April 2018! Stay tuned for future updates if BD/62 is resighted. Thank you all for your continued support! BW
Look who finally fledged! Great video by Lauren Zhang of BD/62 outside her window.
BD/62 gave viewers quite a scare on Thursday as she jumped to another roof ledge and was out of sight on the camera. She did come back and is doing just fine. At 5 weeks old she is not quite ready to fledge, but our time watching her will be coming to an end as she will eventually fledge and be out of view by our cameras. We do have great volunteers who watch the nest from the ground and some Mack-Cali tenants are always watching. For now, when she is on camera, we can watch her strengthen her wing muscles by flapping rapidly.
On June 22, CWF and NJDFW Biologists and special guests, including Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop joined us to help band the young falcon atop 101 Hudson St. We streamed the entire banding process on our Facebook page. The new pair that nests here are quite different than the previous pair, who were very aggressive. With this being their first nesting attempt, this was expected. From the moment we went out to the nest to grab the eyas (young falcon) and until we brought her back, we did not see or hear the adults.
During the banding you can watch as Kathy Clark, ENSP Supervisory Zoologist explains the banding process and measures the upper bill of the eyas to determine its sex, which is female. The bands we use on falcons are both a federal USGS and a state aux. band. The aux. band is "field readable" and allow biologists and others the ability to be able to read the band while the bird is still alive (which most USGS bands are unreadable). With these bands we are then able to learn more about their life span, dispersal, recruitment, and turnover rates within the population. For any bird biologist, banding is an essential tool in managing bird populations. This eyas' aux. band is BD/62 and that is how we will refer to her while many viewers may be giving her a name. Generally speaking, we do not name and in turn, anthropomorphize, wild animals since we do not want to think of them as our pet. If and when wild animals are named and the end outcome is not positive, as emotional beings, it can invoke a negative response, which in our line of work is something that we try to minimize since life is cruel and the fate of many species we work with is mostly out of our control.
We'd like to thank our camera sponsors Mack-Cali Realty Corporation for their generous support this year and all viewers of the Jersey City Falcon Cam who have donated to support this project.
The young falcon, or eyas is now 3 weeks old. It's dark colored flight feathers are now visible. It is also more mobile in the nestbox. Today we hosted our first live streamed Q&A session on YouTube. Ben Wurst talked about our work, in partnership with NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, to monitor and manage peregrine falcons in New Jersey. We are excited for the opportunity to band the first young produced by this nest in the past 3+ years. We hope you tune in with us as we band this young falcon live on Facebook at 10:15am on Thursday, June 22!
At around 3:30pm on Saturday the nest was visited by Cathy M. from The Raptor Trust and Mike G., longtime peregrine watcher & project volunteer. During the short visit Cathy examined the nestling and administered a medication to prevent Trichomoniasis, a pigeon-borne disease. The chick will get a second dose at banding on/around June 22. They also removed the remaining eggs that are well past due and are non-viable.
We appreciate the expert exam and the resulting thumbs up! -KC
41/AX and her mate have been doing a fine job of raising their lone eyas. Falcon eggs typically hatch around the same time, so it's clear that the other two will not hatch. We're also watching carefully for signs of trichomoniasis, which is a disease carried by pigeons, a main prey item of urban nesting peregrines. If signs of the disease are present, then we will make the trip to 101 Hudson St. to medicate the eyas. While there we would also collect the two unhatched eggs for future contaminant analysis.
Here we go! Fianlly 41/AX has hatched her first offspring! Viewers have noticed that she has been a bit anxious, by moving her clutch of eggs around the nestbox, which shows that her eggs were starting to hatch. Some even reported hearing the young peep while still in the egg, all thanks to the amazing sound that we have here! So, turn that volume up and listen to the sounds of falcons living in urban habitat!
Wer're in the home stretch here in Jersey City! Hatching will begin next week. With abormally warm weather, you will see how 41/AX thermoregulates her body temperature by panting. Birds do not have sweat glands, so they must pant to release excess heat from their bodies. They can drink fresh water, but most of their water comes directly from eating fresh prey. So, during hot days they typically tend to lay low during the hottest part of the day and forage in the early morning and dusk hours of the day.
Photographer Shayna Marchese sent in this photo showing where 41/AX visits to possibly feed and preen while her mate takes a turn at incubating. This is a nearby chuch where Shayna has seen her perched in the past.
Thank you to everyone who emailed, called, messaged to bug me about the fact that the cam(s) have been offline. We have been working with our streaming partner to improve the quality of our streams and deliver them to the masses, to help bring awareness to protecting rare wildlife. We're now testing out streaming the video directly on YouTube, which would allow us to stream here and go "Live" on Facebook and Twitter. While we would really love to do this, we have to justify doing it at a greater expense (I'm making the case to support this feature). I hope that if you watch this camera and enjoy what you see, then you can help support it by making a donation online today. :)
In other news, 41/AX has been incubating her three eggs. The last egg was laid on April 24, which puts the hatch date around May 25.
Three eggs!! 41/AX laid her third egg on April 24th. See the lump in the foreground? That's a pellet. Many birds, including peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and ospreys all regurgitate pellets of indigestible parts of their prey, which includes feathers, bones, bills, claws, etc... In some species you can even identify the prey from disecting their pellets, which make for a fun science project for kids in school.
Will 41/AX lay another egg??
Love was in the air when Kathy and I visited 101 Hudson St. on April 7. As we replaced the old network wire with a new one, we watched as the nesting pair courted and flew aerial courtship displays in front of us. With NO opposition to our presence, we were a bit taken back by their passive behavior. Typically peregrine falcons always defend their eyrie (nest), especially when they are in the breeding season.
Maybe that spurred recent developments. Specifically the development of two eggs! The first was laid on April 19, the day after we get the camera back online after being offline for several days. Just in the nick of time! Then, egg #2 was laid April 21. They have been incubating the two eggs since the second was laid, so we will be surprised if another is laid.
We are working with our online streaming partner to get both feeds and sound online this week.
On Friday, April 7, I accompanied Ben Wurst to the rooftop to fix the outside camera. As Ben was working on replacing the old Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera and rewiring connections, I walked about the roof. Both falcons were close by but neither in the nest box (as webcam watchers know already). Above the nest box was a dead, uneaten American woodcock, which is an amazing and unlikely prey item in the city! Woodcock are migrating and using marshy areas now, and also do twilight aerial maneuvers that might make them vulnerable to fast-flying falcons.
The female, 41/AX, was perched on the parapets of the roof and always within sight of the nest. It’s curious that she was not especially upset at our presence, and she was quite non-vocal, which is unusual for the start of the nesting season. As I walked past her to check other areas of the roof, she stayed perched for the most part. It was only when the tiercel came over that she flew – with him and vocalizing. He ended up flying fast display patterns for her, and she seemed to invite him toward the nest box with her calls. Ben completed his work on the roof and was inside, and as I kept a watch on the pair, they came together on a parapet perch to copulate.
So there is still hope for these birds and this nesting season! We hope to see the first egg any day now.
-Kathy Clark, ENSP
We've been seeing more of the male and female in the nestbox lately, which is a good sign! Usually in spring when the pair is seen in the nestbox more frequently, it means that the female is preparing to lay eggs. Just yesterday, I caught the male working on the scrape, which is a shallow depression where the eggs are laid. Eggs were usually laid in early April at this site in the past, so they are right on schedule... We are tenatively planning to replace the network cable for the PTZ camera. -BW
We visited 101 Hudson on Tuesday to try and determine the problem with the PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cam that faces the nestbox. We assumed that the camera just needed to be reset. Well, we were wrong. We went through all the steps of trying to access the camera but it was not getting any power. From there it could have been three things: a bad PoE (power over ethernet), network wire, or camera. We really hoped that it wasn't the camera (the most expensive piece of the system) and luckily it wasn't. We removed the camera to test with another wire inside and it worked! So, that meant that the wire was bad. The only problem was that we didn't have a replacement wire that was long enough to make the span... So, we'll be returning to 101 Hudson to make the necessary repairs so that we can have the same view that our falcons have of the Hudson River and the New York skyline.
In other news, we were surprised to see both birds, who showed up right when we were leaving. We snuck outside to try and capture a few photos of them. The female skirted away quite quickly but the new male (we believe he replaced the other new male last year). We didn't see much of his last year, but on Tuesday he was quite content with our brief presence. We're hoping for the best and that they mate this year... We know all our Jersey City falcon fans are eager for some activity this year! --Ben
February 28, 2017
We are working to get the Falcon Cam online. Right now the inside cam is working and no birds have been seen inside the nestbox lately. A visit to 101 Hudson St. is needed since the pan-tilt-zoom camera and audio encoder are not working. In addition, we are having problems getting the live feed from the pinhole (inside) camera online through our streaming partner. Please bare with us as we get the camera online (hopefully this week). We have heard that 41/AX has been seen around 101 Hudson, so we are hopeful for a more positive (and productive!) nesting season this year! Stay tuned! -Ben
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