Friday, April 15, 2016

The Falcons Around Us

Who would’ve thought there were so many falcons in the city? Every migration season, reports of Peregrine Falcon sightings in the metro would come in. Usually these reports would be from the same places: in a university, near a rotunda, in a busy business district.

A few weeks ago, I volunteered to help Trinket and Adri with a bird walk in the Ateneo campus in Quezon City. Part of the route was checking out if the Peregrine Falcon was back in the tower it called its home for a few months each year. We quickly spotted the raptor perched on the tower, and Abby and I even saw it regurgitate a pellet! So cool! It was the first time I saw that! Too bad the pellet did not fall all the way down to the ground…

Yearly visitor on campus

Abby, who organized the bird walk, and some of the students inspected the surrounding area and found a lot of “wings.” Literally, discarded wings of the Peregrine Falcon’s prey. There were more than a dozen pigeon wings and headless bodies littering the grass around the tower and one student even found a head!

A lot of headless pigeons on the grass
We found one head!

A few days after the bird walk, I got a text from Trinket asking me if the GMA Tower was visible from our house (we live in the same area) and she said there was a Peregrine Falcon on the tower! I quickly set up my humble scope and ran outside the house to scan the only tower visible from our place. I had no idea if it was the GMA tower she was referring to, but I scanned anyway. I stood in the middle of the road, hair disheveled and without a care for what I was wearing, and prayed that I would find it.

After a few minutes, I saw it. There was a Peregrine Falcon on the tower! I quickly took a photo, no matter how bad it was, and sent it to Trinket and Adri. It was on a different perch from the one in their photo. Their comment: it looked like it was on a completely different tower! 

This was the best photo I could manage!
Do you see the Peregrine Falcon?

Could it be a different bird? We would like to think so! We were looking at our respective towers and falcons almost at the exact same time, which would mean there were two birds! We still have to prove that we have two different Peregrine Falcons in our neighborhood, but it would be so cool if that is indeed the case. What are the chances of that happening, and in those circumstances?! =)

I’ve scanned “my” tower a couple of times on different days, braving the broiling Manila heat, but I haven't spotted the falcon again. I’ll try again today and I hope it will be there on the tower.

PS On a recent boat ride along Manila Bay, our group also saw a Peregrine Falcon among the fish pens! So many falcons to see!

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