Keeping a Closer Eye

Our Logan nestsite presents us with some interesting operational challenges from time to time but the peregrines seem to like nesting there. Or perhaps it is that Joli likes nesting there.

The first time the site was used was in 2012 when Joli and Cowboy were making all the right moves but in the end didn’t nest. The following year, four eggs, three chicks – one of whom is Sundance who is back again this year with Bristol from West Winnipeg. The year after that, Cowboy failed to return (he was 12 years old by this point) and Hart became Joli’s new mate. I’ve mentioned before that peregrines have individual personalities and they also have a pair personality once they have a mate. Cowboy was an absolute barnstormer – fast, acrobatic, death-defying and dead quiet when on a bombing run. Joli is too large to have his barnstorming flight skills but she most certainly acquired his “take no prisoners” attitude on life. Which is pretty sexy in a female peregrine for those of us who are way too involved in the minutiae of peregrine life (we’ve learned to live with it, so all’s good). Over their time together, Hart has been acquiring some of Joli’s attitude but he is by no means the barnstormer his uncle/cousin Cowboy was.

That’s a good thing from an operational point of view – means we have very protective, competent parents but ones that aren’t going to drive us off the roof when we need to get some work done. This year, that’s been an advantage – first when we dug out the eggs, next when we replaced their nest-tray and then yesterday when we needed to replace a camera. Equipment inside the building causes the building to shake right near where our PTZ camera is mounted but this is really the only place we can mount this camera. Add to that that while the nestsite is protected from most weather, the camera can be affected by wind, which I swear have been getting worse even over the few years since we installed the PTZ camera.

When we installed the new nest-tray earlier this year, we installed a second camera close to the nest where it hopefully wouldn’t be impacted by the “building shake”. Problem was that even with extensive testing before hand, we had technical difficulties that just couldn’t be resolved. If something is working then all is good, if it isn’t working then we try to get/keep it out of the chicks’ way. After the first camera failed, we began plotting how to replace it with minimal disturbance to the birds.

And then it all fell into place and off we went. Out went Eye-Spy to do his magic as I was inside in charge of monitoring the screens and Dennis photographed the birds with a long lens. Joli wasn’t pleased to see us (sexy “take no prisoners” mama remember?) and Hart did an admirable job backing her up. Chicks barely woke up and didn’t so much as move from their comfy post-mid-morning-snack sprawls in the nest-tray. Smooth as silk, Eye-Spy had the new camera positioned and broadcasting and the old camera removed. The whole process took so little time that Dennis had barely managed photograph his favourite peregrine (Joli and Dennis have a movie star/paparazzi relationship – she poses, he photographs).

He did however manage to capture the four most important reasons we needed to replace the camera ….

photo courtesy of D Swayze