Thursday, October 10, 2013

Peregrine Falcon (Indy & Ives?)

When I arrived, Indy and her friend were chilling out and warming up in an orange October sunrise. 
Click on any picture to enlarge.
October in Wisconsin means cool nights, warm days and brightly colored leaves.
Enjoying these conditions, while relaxing 200’ high…if  a Peregrine Falcon…you got it made! 

I was fairly sure this was Indy Foorna and her mate, Ives.  She is the resident falcon at the Port Washington Generating Station, Port Washington, WI.  At this distance though, I’m wasn't sure which bird was which. I couldn’t see their leg bands.

 According to the We Energies Peregrine Falcon 2013 Nesting Season Report, the male in Indy’s life is named Ives and wears black and green bands on his right leg.
Ives has been Indy’s mate for a couple of years and is probably the father of the chicks hatched this April 29-30. The four youngsters have been named Gasco, Bucky, Griff and Lightning.  You can see pictures of them and read the We Energies report at the link below. 

Indy Froona was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2009 and has been making the Port Washington Generating Station her home for the last three years.  She seems to have quite a fan base still following her in Indiana.  According to Gigi Caito, who responded to a previous Feather Tailed Stories post on Indy Froona in September, they were glad to hear she was doing well.  You can read Gigi’s reply on Indy at the link below. 

When one of the pair suddenly departed from their sunny perch, it seemed to have a goal in mind.  There could have been a tasty target out there somewhere worth investigating, but it was only visible from the 200’ foot balcony.  The mate quickly followed on the same course.  My chances of getting the hunt on camera were near zero, considering I never saw what they saw in the first place and both were out of sight over Lake Michigan in seconds.

If these few pictures were all I was going to get this day…so be it…there is always tomorrow, but I wasn’t ready to quit quite yet.  I lingered and it wasn’t long before I saw one of the pair return with prey-on-board.  That made both of us happy.

NOTE: Depictions of predation follow.

I didn’t know which bird got lucky, Indy or Ives. Typically the female Peregrine Falcon is larger (2-3lb vs. 1.6lb for the biggest male). That’s common in raptors, but sexing them is difficult when you can’t see the birds in a side-by-side comparison.  They look alike.  Nor could I read their leg bands.
 The feather plucking began quickly after the streetlight landing…interrupted only to keep one eye on me.  Now I could see the prey was a Northern Flicker, a medium sized bird slightly larger than the American Robin (thrush).

Peregrine Falcons take a huge variety of birds as prey from hummingbirds to Sandhill Cranes and even small mammals.  But they prefer medium sized birds…pigeon, doves, and gulls…meaty birds like the Northern Flicker. 

What happened to the other Peregrine Falcon?   It hadn’t returned while I was there…little concern…there wasn’t going to be any flicker sharing anyway.  

I discovered this is Indy Froona when I downloaded the pictures later and enlarged her leg bands on the computer.

She looks fit and healthy.

Now I’m wondering about Gasco, Bucky, Griff and Lightning, her four offspring.  I couldn’t find a status report on them, just that they were banded before fledging.  

It would be good to know they survived and are doing well. Are they enjoying the warm October sunshine and blue skies of Wisconsin or did they fly to Indiana?


Credit: We Energies Peregrine Falcon 2013 Nesting Season Report by Greg Septon
Credit: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
Credit: Wikipedia