Friday, 16 July 2010

Guardians of Niigata - Peregrine Falcons

(above) -In picture to the right: The tiny figure of a Peregrine Falcon on top of the Niigata Prefectural Office.
(Photographed 2009)

There seems to be a good population of Peregrine Falcons in Niigata. They can be encountered anytime throughout the year in most parts of the prefecture. The most noteable however, is a pair that have lived on the Niigata Prefectural Office for the past eighteen years. Well, at least the male has. He had started with an earlier mate that was killed but he was able to find a replacement many years ago. Sadly, three weeks into their nesting season (on April 24th this year), his long term mate was recovered with a broken wing and was taken in to a rehabilitation center for raptors in the north of the city. Such is her condition that she can't be released back to the wild.

(above) One of the prefectural office peregrines photographed last year. (A 'White-collared Falcon')

I felt sad for the male who was then seen alone around the office until about the third week of May. From this time however birding tongues were set wagging when he was seen in the company of a new mate. I think everyone was surprised because nobody thought such a species is so common in such an urban area. Generally, he is a fast worker in any environment.

(Photograph below) This chick was too keen to fledge last year (June 2009) and found itself at the foot of the office surrounded by a busy carpark. It was rescued and returned to the top of the building. It stayed with its parents well in to late winter.

(More below) Some photographs of new nest-leavers playing tag. It is often a good opportunity to watch siblings chasing each other at play. (also June 2009)