When my friend Dale (from S.O.A.R.) called me and told me that the Peregrine Falcon they recently released at Rock City was continuing to return for meals and that I might get some good close ups of him eating if I could come up to Rock City soon, I decided it was the perfect time to take Pat’s family (who was visiting) up to see the birds.
We arrived early and walked out to the feeding platform with John and Dale. John tossed a chick into the feeding box while he looked for Dunwoody (as named by Dale and John because the falcon was found in Dunwoody, Georgia) Fourscore (as named by the Rock City naming contest in honor of Rock City’s 80th anniversary). Pat and his family crouched further back behind a tree while I hid behind a bush closer to the feeding platform. John walked around in the open, known to the bird and symbolic of breakfast, he figured Dunwoody Fourscore might be enticed to come eat. However, the falcon was no where to be seen.
Since it was about time for the first Rock City Raptor show of the day, we all returned to the amphitheater.
Watching the intro video for the 4th time, I still got chills watching the birds maneuver through the air. It’s an amazing feat to watch and the video shows just how agile these birds are in slow motion. I could watch that video all day.
But, seeing the birds live is an even bigger thrill. Cayce gave me a special treat by flying straight at my head. Unfortunately, she got so close I would have needed extension tubes to get a good shot of her just before her tail rearranged my hair, causing the whole audience to take a collective gasp. It’s always fun to be part of the show.
After the show, Pat and his family went off to explore Rock City and I followed Dale and John back to the feeding platform to see if we could find Dunwoody Fourscore. The first clue that he had been by was the missing chick. Of course, he’s not the only raptor in the area, so that wasn’t solid proof of his presence. We walked around looking to see if we could spot him. Eventually, John managed to spot him hanging out in a tree nearby. He had his wings partially spread, trying to cool off. It was about 102 degrees by then, a few degrees cooler than down in Chattanooga below. Dunwoody Fourscore was making the most of the breeze coming up over the cliff.
Fourscore didn’t move while I circled underneath him. Well, not quite a circle–a true circle would have taken me off the cliff. As I came around to the other side of him, he switched his stance, looking down at me as if he was thinking, “What in the heck are you with that big glass thing growing out of your face?”
- Fourscore (nomadicmainstream.com)
- Scientists reintroduce endangered falcons in Rapid City (rapidcityjournal.com)