When the mob of chicks came back to my edge of the fence, I just reached in and picked one up. That, of course, left its beak free to protest by pecking the top of my head. I got the little guy under my arm quickly and was able to hold a hand over his eyes, which calmed him down.
Thanks to the web cams in the nest box, we’ve been able to watch (in high def!) this year’s lone peregrine falcon chick grow from a tiny fluffball into an almost-adult predator preparing for life outside the box. But what’s even better than seeing falcon action in high definition? Seeing it right in front of you!
I knew my job with DWR would provide me some cool opportunities, but never could I have guessed I’d end up on top of one of the tallest buildings in Salt Lake, holding a box with a peregrine falcon inside.
Crompton found mama bear awake, watching him as he entered. As she saw the biologist pull himself inside, she retreated toward the rear wall. With only one chance to shoot, Crompton took careful aim and fired the dart into her haunch.
Because these ducks are cavity nesters, nesting habitat was mostly unavailable at the pond. Cavities are most commonly found in stumps and dead trees, which are almost always removed from city parks. It was obvious that lack of nesting habitat limited population growth for wood ducks.
Many of the larger rainbow trout were shaped like Spalding footballs, especially those in the 15- to 17-inch size class. Brown trout have also taken on a new look, and the night’s “big fish” was a 20-inch brown trout weighing in at 3.5 pounds.
Our total catch was 681 fish, including 443 rainbows, 236 browns and a couple whitefish. Our PIT tag recapture rate was around 19 percent, which is similar to what we normally see. The big fish of the night was a rainbow trout that stretched the measuring stick to nearly 22 inches, while the longest brown was just less than 19 inches.
Now that these ponds are being stocked weekly, it’s the perfect time to start getting out there with family and friends. Whether it’s for the family interaction, some quality time with a spouse or just to reacquaint with nature, community fisheries offer ideal outdoor settings.
Learning to fly is a process, not a single event, and almost all peregrines come down to earth at least a few times. And the downtown area is a difficult place to learn to fly. Everywhere you look, there are hard surfaces: asphalt, concrete, brick, metal, glass and motor vehicles.
Last year, I worked to restore an abandoned pipeline system. This system provided water to two separate drainages. Accompanied by local ranchers and dedicated hunters, we repaired approximately 15 miles of pipeline and restored water to areas that hadn’t seen moisture for years.