I was in a hurry. I had to get to the scout shop to get a boy scout badge for my son. The shop closes at 6:00 PM and it was only 5:00 PM, but on a Friday afternoon you can't count on people sticking to the posted hours. I did a quick check of the Kodak falcons
online to see if they were active or not. I planned to stop by there after visiting the scout shop. I read these words from the Kodak falcon discussion board
"I have good news and not so good news....First of all, Rhea Mae has
fledged! She just happened to choose the middle smokestack to fledge
to. Don't worry, she did go down, ...."
I hurried over to East Avenue to the scout shop and luckily it was open. I bought the assistant patrol leader badge
for my son and then drove as quickly as the law allows over to the Kodak parking lot next to the Kodak tower. The watchers had switched corners and were all on the corner nearest the smokestacks.
The young fledgling named Rhea Mae had fallen down the middle smoke stack, on her maiden flight. I was so scared for her. The smoke stacks reside on vacant RG&E
property, so no one is around to open the gate to the property to attempt to rescue Rhea. Many Kodak falcons have found themselves in this same predicament. So many that RG&E cut holes at the base of each smoke stack to allow the falcons to escape from them. I so admire them for doing that. Rhea chose the middle stack and that stack goes below ground level for about 20 feet, surrounded by a crevice and pipes. The hole at the bottom still leaves the young bird to traverse the pipes and a steep incline to escape. This usually takes them several hours.
I called my son at his grandmother's house and told him what happened to Rhea Mae. He was also worried about her. I joined the other fledge watchers on the corner. I unfolded my chair and watched. Many people were driving by and they were all quite curious about this group of people with binoculars, spotting scopes and high powered cameras, all of them pointed toward a smoke stack. There must have been 20 - 25 of us there, and we waited. We weren't the only ones waiting though.
Rhea Mae's parents, Mariah and Kaver kept watch, each sitting on a smoke stack staring down at Rhea, who was hidden below ground level. The fledge watchers couldn't see her, but her parents, high up on smoke stacks could. Her sisters, Sabrina and Aura were also on the smoke stacks, calling to Rhea, watching for her, waiting for her. None of her falcon family wanted to leave her side. Her parents stood guard, her sisters lent moral support. Mariah and Kaver chased away a couple of kestrels who getting too close to Rhea Mae. They waited, we waited.
Rhea's siblings flew to the familiar Kodak tower when night began to fall. They didn't return to the nest box like they usually do though, preferring to perch on the side of the building facing the smoke stacks, waiting for their beloved sister. Mariah and Kaver stayed put on the smoke stacks where they could keep a watchful eye on Rhea, and on her siblings across the parking lot on the Kodak tower.
I called my son and gave him an update. He bemoaned that he had not seen a picture of the falcons in so long. I packed up my stuff and went home. I hope Rhea Mae makes it home tonight too.
Mariah on the roof, Sabrina, Aura and Rhea Mae on the rail.
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Labels: falcons, Nature