Author Topic: TX / Austin - 2018-19  (Read 5145 times)

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Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2019 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2019, 21:11 »
Once again this year, Tower Girl's eggs did not hatch, although the four eggs were faithfully incubated for quite some time. She and her mate appeared to be extremely bonded, but after spending about six months at the nest site, he left. I believe that Austin is very likely his winter home, and that he has a mate somewhere up north.

University of Texas researchers will now attempt to find out more about Tower Girl's eggs, and about her origins. I have always thought she might be from the small breeding population in west Texas.

May 1, 2019

UT's Biodiversity Center Prepares to Learn from Falcon's Eggs



UT Austin's resident peregrine falcon, Tower Girl, has been laying eggs in her nest box in the UT Tower every year since 2016. This year, as in previous years, given the amount of time that has passed since their arrivals, the eggs will not hatch.

​However, the Biodiversity Center, the research unit on campus that hosts the Tower's livestreaming "Falcon Cam," is interested in using this year's clutch to understand more about why the eggs are not hatching. Teaming with two other Texas institutions, Texas A&M and Angelo State University, a team is hoping to learn more.

"While it is generally our policy to leave Tower Girl's nest alone, she has been absent in recent days, and eggs are clearly not going to hatch this year," said David Hillis, Biodiversity Center director and a professor of integrative biology. "There have been a lot of questions about her in the last year that these eggs can help to answer and let us know if there is anything that we can do in the future to help improve the chances for a successful clutch."

When the remaining eggs in Tower Girl's nest are removed, they will then be taken to Texas A&M for analysis to learn whether the eggs were fertilized. The last time Tower Girl's eggs were extracted in 2017, a similar analysis found the eggs had not been fertilized. However, this year, photographers documented that Tower Girl had mated with a wintering male falcon, so the results could be different this time.

The team also is exploring the possibility of DNA research to learn more about Tower Girl's origins. After the initial analysis at Texas A&M, the eggs will be transferred to Angelo State, which may conduct the DNA research before installing the eggs in the university's permanent Natural History Collections.

"We've always wondered what peregrine population Tower Girl emanated from," said UT Austin alum Bruce Calder (B.S., '81), who initiated the falcon nest and camera project several years ago. "My hunch is trans-Pecos (Big Bend) area. Hopefully, there are enough data available to make a meaningful correlation."

On campus, Neil Crump, a manager in Project Management and Construction Services at UT Austin, is responsible for the extraction. As Crump explains it, the extraction process is fairly simple and quick, and efforts are being made not to stress the falcon. When Tower Girl is confirmed to be away from her nest, Crump will climb to the nest box area with a hard hat and safety glasses and remove the eggs. He will replace them with replicas, so as to minimize stress on the bird and allow her to naturally finish out her maternal cycle.

The real eggs are placed in an egg carton and transferred to Calder who will bring them to a Texas A&M ornithologist who has all the necessary salvage permits.

The replica eggs will be extracted in a similar manner in late May or early June when the Biodiversity Center also plans to install a microphone near the nest box. (Typically, in the past around late May and early June, Tower Girl has started to remove unviable eggs on her own, indicating there will no longer be a need for replica eggs by then.)

It is not unusual for female birds in the wild to lay eggs that are not fertilized, even if the female has mated with a male. The mating could have been unsuccessful, or one bird might be infertile. In general, only about 1 percent of the billions of wild bird eggs each year actually become adult birds.

Nonetheless, the Biodiversity Center is excited to learn more about our unique resident falcon and to be able to answer the burning question so many of her fans have: Why haven't the eggs hatched?


https://cns.utexas.edu/news/ut-s-biodiversity-center-to-search-falcon-s-eggs-for-clues-to-tower-girl

Offline carly

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2019 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2019, 18:33 »
No one on eggs for a long time...same thing earlier today.  Wonder if the male went back home again?  She brought herself food earlier.

Offline carly

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2019 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2019, 06:58 »
I saw the eggs, it's great news for Tower Girl.  Hopefully things work out for her this year.  :-*

Offline GCG

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2019 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2019, 03:42 »
An email notice in my emails indicate 2 eggs in this nest.

"egg-o-rama!!

UT AUSTIN Peregrine falcons
2 EGGS
EXPECTED FIRST HATCH: 03/27/19"



Offline Alison

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Texas / Austin - 2019 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2019, 14:56 »
2019 NESTING SEASON

Not Tower Girl, but a male visitor at the nest:



Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 23:20 »
Today, there was a different visitor at the nest; a very striking hawk. Not someone the peregrines would want to see.

 

Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 23:14 »
The male was doing some vocalizing, and suddenly, Tower Girl was there. She has such beautiful Anatum colouring.

 

 

 

Then, they left together.

Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 22:46 »
During the last week of October, I saw Tower Girl visit her nest several times.

Then, on October 29, I found a male at the nest site. After watching him for a while, I was able to see his legs, and he is unbanded. He is a very handsome tiercel.

 

 

Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2018, 08:00 »
Given that Radisson had a summer home in Texas last winter, it does beg the question if Tower Girl's companions are banded and if so where they might be from.  Who knows, might be one another one of ours ... heavens know they seem to like hanging out in Texas.

It is always possible that one or more of the males who make a stop in Austin during the winter could be one of yours. I do check the nest from time to time, but have not seen any visitors at the nest recently. The cam has remained live during the year.

During the last breeding season, I did not see any banded male at the nest. I am pretty sure that the male who stayed for a while was unbanded.

I thought there was already an active thread for this site, but did not find one. The images I posted are from my archives earlier this year.

Texas certainly is a favourite area for many peregrines in winter: particularly Austin, San Antonio and Dallas (where a 2017 juvie from the Kansas City, Missouri, nest spent part of last winter). And not to forget Lewis, with his annual sojourn in The Woodlands, Texas.

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2018, 16:14 »
Given that Radisson had a summer home in Texas last winter, it does beg the question if Tower Girl's companions are banded and if so where they might be from.  Who knows, might be one another one of ours ... heavens know they seem to like hanging out in Texas.

Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2018, 12:01 »
An article on Tower Girl, posted yesterday:

Resident peregrine falcon “Tower Girl” hosts two other falcons sparking speculation in future of local population

By Jackson Barton

Perched atop the 307-foot UT Tower, “Tower Girl,” the University’s resident peregrine falcon, captivated bird enthusiasts with her first appearance in two weeks on Oct. 3, notably with two other peregrine falcons. Audience members witnessed the social event up close through the Biodiversity Center’s “Falcon Cam.”

Nicole Elmer, the center’s administrative associate, displays one of Tower Girl’s feathers on her desk. Elmer said she witnessed the trio flying around the Tower during the foggy afternoon.

“It was pretty exciting,” Elmer said. “I hadn’t seen her in a long time.”

Integrative biology professor Timothy Keitt, who teaches a class in biology of birds and answers questions about Tower Girl, said it is not uncommon for Tower Girl to host migrating falcons in the fall, which is outside mating season for peregrine falcons.

“In past years, migrating males have visited the Tower and even mated with Tower Girl,” Keitt said. “It’s a bit early as egg laying is typically in April.”

Unlike other peregrine falcons, Tower Girl does not migrate south for the winter. Keitt said this could be due to a scar indicating a possible wing injury.

“It may be something that begins to be painful after a very long flight,” Keitt said. “Birds do strange things. There are many, many exceptions in the bird world and in most of nature itself.”

Spearheaded by Elmer and UT alumnus Bruce Calder, the Falcon Cam went live in March. Calder, who graduated in 1981, has been closely involved with Tower Girl since he spotted her on campus summer 2013.

“This was stunning to me since peregrine falcons are not known to inhabit Central Texas during midsummer,” Calder said in an email.

After constructing multiple nesting boxes, Calder observed Tower Girl with her eggs in the tower nesting box for three years, none of which hatched because they may have been infertile. Calder said Tower Girl has apparently only been “hooking up” with other males passing through Austin, and she will need to form a permanent bond for a successful breeding season.

Calder said if Tower Girl successfully hatches and raises her young to adulthood, it could mark the beginning of a permanent peregrine population in Central Texas. If Tower Girl mothers a new generation of falcons, Calder said he wants the University to take credit.

“It never was about me,” Calder said. “But instead is about UT encouraging the propagation of a rare and formerly endangered species.”


http://dailytexanonline.com/2018/10/18/resident-peregrine-falcon-%E2%80%9Ctower-girl%E2%80%9D-hosts-two-other-falcons-sparking-speculation-in

Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2018, 11:53 »
This past breeding season, Tower Girl appeared to have found a mate. Hopes were high; there were at least two eggs in the nest, but in the end the eggs did not hatch.

Tower Girl incubating earlier this year:

 

 

Offline Alison

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Re: Texas / Austin - 2018 / ? & Tower Girl
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2018, 11:47 »
Tower Girl has been a year-round resident of Austin for eight or nine years now. She has been provided with a nest box, but so far, she has not been able to raise chicks here. Males do visit, but do not appear to be looking for a permanent home.

This is the building which Tower Girl calls home:



Tower Girl is a very beautiful falcon:



https://biodiversity.utexas.edu/resources/falcon-cam

An article on Tower Girl from earlier this year:

https://www.statesman.com/news/20180214/herman-at-long-last-is-motherhood-approaching-for-ut-falcon

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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TX / Austin - 2018-19
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2018, 01:45 »