Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Falcon Chicks

In the previous post, I wrote about a falcon's nest in a neighboring apartment verandah. Today, I nervously went to the apartment and knocked on the door. The resident, a cheerful ajummah, welcomed me as soon as the word, "Seh" (bird) left my mouth. She guided me to the verandah and told me about the birds as I watched them and took pictures.

Don't worry the pictures below are much clearer and less obscured - I just put this one in as a teaser.
She said the birds were "hwang JoRongHe" and I am uncertain how to write that in Korean and find the english name. I may have the name wrong - I am sure of the first three syllables but I may be off with the 'he'. Babelfish tells me I just typed "hwang bird cage" and I hope that is not what the lady told me. There were six chicks and three flew off. I thought there were only two on the verandah...

...but then I looked around the planters and found a third (the left hand bird in both pictures is the same bird). The one on the verandah deck looks to be the youngest.

I was surprised to hear about six (or possible five- the smallest chick may not be in a good way) healthy offspring. Falcons, and most birds, typically have clutches perhaps as large as six but with the expectation that many will die, leaving one or two to reach adulthood.

From CBC's Quirks and Quarks (click the link to hear an interview on the subject):
Parents often produce too many young to raise and, as a result, the natural world is rife with infanticide. Mothers will ignore some offspring and prefer others.

On the other hand, if the stress of close human activity is not too much, a verandah is a great place to be. The birds are safe from predators and from falling off the 'cliff'. Also, the ajummah supplies some food to the chicks.

Human activity nearby is a serious problem for many birds so I probably will not return to the apartment to take more photos. I may upload a short video but my computer is reaching the end of it's useful lifespan and I am concerned about downloading the Videoegg software here. Perhaps I will do that on my office computer.

I don't know why the falcons chose that apartment to make a nest. Well, I do know that it is one of the few without an outer layer of glass doors so it is easily accessable but I don't know if the woman somehow encouraged the birds or what. As I wrote earlier, the chicks can be darn loud and not everyone would be pleased to have them so close.


James said...

Well done. Those are some great photos. I hope to see some more as the birds grow older. Have you identified which exact species they are? They look like peregrines but the juveniles can be tricky to ID. I'd consider grabbing one and taking up falconry--or maybe not. That's a lot of work and dedication. Best to just leave them alone and hope the ajumma's husband doesn't whack them for stamina food. Just get some more photos. You're a lucky guy to have such amazing wildlife so close to observe.

kwandongbrian said...

I cannot return to check up on the birds as I am traveling soon for a month.

I would like to but I also know I probably shouldn't. As a child, I chased and tried to catch (and occassionally succeeded) most animals I saw. I now understand that curiousity should be satisfied from a distance.

I wish I knew the species of bird. I figured that they were falcons but don't know enough to narrow it down further. I saw peregrines at my university but that was a year ago.

Melissa said...

those really are great photos. i had a harem of stray/broken animals around me as a child (including a seagull and a robin!:) but never a falcon.

i think you're right though - in that curiosity should be satisfied from a distance. thanks for sharing those pics ...

travel safe!

Nathan B. said...

Well done, Brian! I really enjoyed this post, both text and pictures.