Friday, May 15, 2009

Baby Falcons

The baby birds have hatched!
(Note: The above picture changes every time you open it. Keep checking back for more views of the falcons!)
Every year, rare Peregrine Falcons nest in a box under a busy highway bridge in my city. Ordinarily, I'd only be able to get a glimpse of these beautiful birds, recently making a comeback in the United States, swooping in and out of the nesting box. Luckily, the Department of Environmental Conservation set up a web cam, so we can all take a peek into the falcon's private lives as they prepare to welcome a new brood.

For weeks I watched as Mama Falcon perched in the nesting box. Once in a while she'd leave the nest, revealing four tiny speckled egg. Sometimes Papa Falcon appeared in the nest at her side. Then last week, tiny fuzzy cotton ball babies appeared! Although there were four eggs, it appears only two hatched. It's hard to tell, since they huddle so close together and are rarely left exposed. Mama Falcon covers them with her body most of the day. Today I happened to catch a glimpse of the babies at a rare moment when Mama had flown off for a bit. There I could clearly see the babies, and at least one tiny round little egg nestled up beside one of the fuzzy chicks. Mama had been sitting on it all this time. Maybe she was hoping that it would still some day hatch. I wanted to cry looking at that little unhatched egg.

I'm compelled to check in on these little guys on and off throughout the day, much like a proud grandma. The sad part is, I know that a time will come very soon when they'll grow up and fly away.

Last year I watched the Mama Falcon and her babies, and felt a strong connection as I prepared to watch my son graduate from high school and fly the nest, off to college. The babies had been stretching their wings and taking practice flights. They flew off on the day of my son's graduation. Here is a story I wrote about it, Message of the Falcon, published in Angels on Earth magazine.

Click here
to watch the babies grow!

What I Learned From My Dog: Kelly has never been a mommy, but she has an innate understanding of nurturing, and is always gentle with puppies and other tiny critters. She's taught me that being a good mom often involves gentle patience.

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