Monday, September 17, 2012

Peregrine Falcons in Wildwood New Jersey

I went to Cape May NJ this weekend and stayed in Wildwood, which
is just up the coast from Cape May.

Yesterday morning when heading out to shoot for sunrise in Cape May, I heard what I thought could be a Peregrine Falcon atop the building next to where I was staying. Without any light, I couldn't really judge it but had just a hunch. All I could see was something, hawk-like, perched along the edge of a roofline. The call sounds like a PF to me, but I am not so good at judging calls, especially at 6am in the dark.

On a side note, that's one of the things I learned with experience - know that you don't know things. It is too easy to take a tiny thread of evidence and jump to a conclusion... While it is somewhat comforting to feel like you know everything and can ID this or that bird, it is actually counter productive because it can stifle the urge to actually learn more (because you think you know it all already, and can then make a judgement which you then want to defend.)

Anyway, back to my in the dark spotting of a possible Peregrine Falcon. So, that was yesterday, today I slept in and left my hotel a bit late, around an hour after sunrise. I decided to sleep in and relax - since I had already shot: sunset, sunrise, sunset, sunrise, and sunset in a row.

As I left I heard the same screeching/calling coming from the same spot atop the neighboring building to where I was staying.

So, with some light and this being the second time I thought I heard a PF, I got to a better vantage point and spotted this guy.

Within a few minutes of checking this guy out, I realized there was actually a second Peregrine up there to the right. Before I could try to get both in a photo, the second one took flight and sort of circled over me and then went back to the roof area.

As luck would have it, this was a banded bird and my quick shots seem to show a black and green band, with 22 on black (top) and b? on green (bottom).

The banded bird then flew in to what looked to be a hidden gutter - so my guess is that this pair is calling this building home. It is a somewhat new building in Wildwood, and would make sense that they would pick it. It is around 13 stories tall and the neighboring building I was in was just 5 stories.

I've reported the sighting and location to NJ Audubon folks so hopefully they can get more info on the spot and determine whether or not they are actually living/nesting at that location. I will be sure to check it again as well as the beach nearby - I have heard stories of PF's catching and eating prey along the beach and would certainly like to see that for myself.

--50-- / Jon


kittenface said...

I think that your band number is 22/AE sure hope you can find out who this beauty is.

Anonymous said...

They do indeed live on top of the grand at diamond beach. There has been one living here for a while but the second one just recently arrived within the past month. I have band number 22 AD will post photo shortly.

Anonymous said...

They do indeed live on top of the grand at diamond beach. There has been one living here for a while but in the past month a second one arrived. I have band number 22AD. Photo to come soon.

adriennem37 said...

Hi there,
My friend has a place at The Grand in Wildwood (Diamond Beach) and since she's had it (about 5 years?) a Peregrine Falcon sits on the balcony. We call him/her Fred. I can't get close enough to see the tags but I'd love to know more about him. I don't think the bird mentioned above is the same bird, Fred has a tag on his right leg that is silver/white in color. Thanks for sharing, this is so neat!