First Ever Release of Orange-breasted Falcons a Success!
Marta Curti— 5 July 2005 — in Orange-breasted Falcon Project Share
That morning, Angel Muela, volunteer Andrew Plant, Hidden Valley Inn managers Lisa and Craig Milner, and I headed out to the release site. Angel and I opened the door to the hack box at around 8:00 a.m. and then joined everyone else in the blind—scopes, cameras and binoculars in hand. Almost an hour later, we caught our first glimpse of one of the falcons, known as Black 20, peeking its head around the door. His initial forays out of the hack box were quite comical! First, he hopped to the edge of the door jamb, then out of the box, then quickly back in again where he quickly disappeared deep inside the hack box. However, the temptation of the fresh quail just outside the door caused him to re-appear within a few minutes. Apparently a bit timid about entering this unknown world, but still hungry enough to want to eat, Black very cleverly perched on the edge of the door jamb, stretched his body and began to feed from the quail without ever leaving the hack box! Black 20 had eaten quite a bit before the second falcon, known as Blue D9, came into view. Eventually, both birds made their way onto the hack box platform where they fed, stretched their wings, and slept.
By the third day, they were excellent flyers and much better landers! Our next question was—would they return to the hack box to feed? They hadn’t fed the day before and we wanted to make sure that they knew where to find food. By 3:00 that afternoon, we were relieved to see Black make the first move. He landed on the hack box and fed until his crop was full. The next day, Blue followed suit. Today, both birds continue to feed regularly, that is when they are not on wonderful adventures chasing woodpeckers and turkey vultures, of course.
And as if things couldn’t get any better, while we were in Belize, Angel and I paid a visit to the wild nest from which we pulled the eggs that produced Black 20 and Blue D9 (see Notes from the Field, March 2005 to read more about that adventure). We wanted to see if this pair had laid another set of eggs this season. Needless to say, we were delighted when we spotted the female perched on a small cliff ledge. To her right were two, fluffy Orange-breasted Falcon chicks!
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