We Are Not Doomed: A Happy Outcome At Sedge

The start of the season at Sedge. Photo by Ben Wurst.

It has been a strange season for our Peregrine Falcons, with an unusual number of adult mortalities having occurred this year. In addition, it has been a changing-of-the-guard of sorts, with some of our most experienced adults being replaced by young birds making their first nesting attempts; just as we lost our beloved Bridgeboy at the Bonnet Island Tower this spring to newcomer Grassboy.

So when Ben Wurst texted the above photo to Kathy Clark & me to share his gruesome discovery on his first nest check at The Tower of Doom at Sedge, it was shocking but not necessarily surprising.

Ben was able to confirm we’d lost our female 02/AN, who had been lying dead for some time in the back of the igloo. She has ruled the Tower since 2014. Hatched in New Gretna in 2011, she was still in the prime of her life at ten years old. It was a huge loss.

But the photo wasn’t all bad. In the foreground were four beautiful eggs, which Ben touched and felt the warmth of recent incubation. It appeared life was going on at the Tower of Doom despite the enormous loss.

Somewhere along the way, one of those eggs disappeared, and another never hatched, but our new female managed to hatch two: one boy and one girl.

At around four weeks, Ben Wurst, Bill Clarke, and I visited the Tower to band the young. Ben was thrilled to find both babies looking strong and healthy.
He lowered them down in a bucket.
Ben forgot his calipers, so he had to improvise. Luckily his field notebook had a little ruler on it, which he could use to measure the young to sex them accurately.
This is an unbelievable advertisement for Rite In The Rain Waterproof Notebooks.
After banding them BM/82 and BH/27, we put the noisy babies back where we found them, said our goodbyes, and just hoped that one day someone, somewhere, would see these bands and let us know how they were doing.
Well, just last week, Ben & I were out at sunset, taking advantage of the massive flood tides to do the final Osprey survey of the season on Barnegat Bay out in the shallowest parts of the Sedge Islands. Just as we crossed Barnegat Inlet, a pair of Peregrine Falcon came screaming over the boat. We watched them fly away, chasing each other through the air, nipping and grabbing at each other, and generally being chaotic.
Even though the tide was precious and the sun fading fast, we had to see what was going on here, so we doubled back and luckily found them perched in a tree. Click to enlarge this one. They are really adorable.
It was dark, the boat was rocky, and the birds were chaotic, but a single lucky shot confirmed what we were hoping.

We are not doomed. There was a happy outcome at Sedge this season.

6 Comments

  1. All’s well that ends well.

    On Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 8:49 PM Readings From The Northside wrote:

    > exit63 posted: ” The start of the season at Sedge. Photo by Ben Wurst. It > has been a strange season for our Peregrine Falcons, with an unusual number > of adult mortalities having occurred this year. In addition, it has been a > changing-of-the-guard of sorts, with some o” >

    Like

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