Wednesday, May 15, 2013


So there is a pair of Peregrine Falcons that has been nesting on top of the library at UMass Amherst for 11 years.  That's commitment!  Some people there have set up a webcam because they have baby chicks.  Go here to see:

So I'm watching the little babies, sleeping, grooming, sleeping a little more.  Then I go away because there's only so much watching I can do of ugly (sorry, but it's true) little baby birds sleeping.  You've heard "they're so ugly they're cute," right?  Well, in this case it's true.  They just look so darn vulnerable.

I come back in a while and lo, Mama is there!  Mostly just blocking the babies from the wind.  Awwww.  A tweet informs me that I missed lunchtime by about an hour.  I am bummed.  It would be interesting to see little baby falcons being fed worms!

I go back to work.  Periodically, I check on them and they are mostly just huddling.  Boring for Mama, but necessary and maybe birds don't mind just sitting and staring at a wall.  Every once in a while Mama shakes and does something to the babies that I can't see because she has her back to the camera.  Rude.  (Kidding!  I love animals and think whatever they do -- well, mostly -- is the jam.  Because it's naychur.)  She's grooming them or something.

I notice something that looks like a clump of feathers that I hadn't noticed earlier.  Hmm, I think, did Mama lose some feathers?  That's a lot of feathers.  That looks like a... wing.  Is that a wing?  No.  I don't see anything else.  Must be feathers.

I go back to work.  Checking on them again in a little while, I see movement!  Mama is doing something!  The babies are up and interested!

She's in the corner, doing... something...  Oh, she's going to feed them!  She's going to feed them... CHUNKS OF BIRD.  That was in fact a wing!  Fortunately I just finished eating my sandwich so I'm okay.  And she is behind the babies so I don't see the carcass, just little downy babies vying for chunks.  So she is considerate of weak human constitutions, keeping that away from the camera. Thanks, Mama!

Then I start to worry because two of the babies are getting all of the bird bits.  The middle one is just ignored and jostled.  Feed the middle one, Mama!  Don't let the pushy ones get everything!  Nature is tough, y'all.

Then I notice that the piggy one seems to be sort of full so the middle one gets his chance.  THEN the piggy one moves from the right (my right) to the middle, FACING THE CAMERA, and just sort of lolls on the other two.  What up, dude?  Don't food-block your brethren!

I just went and looked again, just in time to see Mama downing a bird FOOT.  Nature is gross, y'all.

There's a clumping sound now, too, so guess what?  It is either raining or snowing or hailing up there!  As if the wind wasn't enough!  They seem to be pretty protected where they are, though, so that's good.  The babies are huddled and sleeping and Mama is protecting them and staring moodily into the distance.

Okay, that's my update for now.  I will watch them until something bad happens and then no more.  I keep worrying that one of the babies is going to get blown away when Mama goes to get food (WHOLE BIRDS, Y'ALL, I FORGOT THESE ARE FREAKING FALCONS) or something.  They are superior predators, I know, but these are baaaabbbies.  Scrawny little ugly baaaabbies.

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