I look forward to spring on the Mayo Clinic downtown campus in Rochester. The grass finally turns green after wintering under the snow, the flowers make their appearance and add an amazing burst of color to the campus, and the peregrine falcons return to their home atop of the Guggenheim Building. I enjoy watching the little fledglings turn from snowy white balls of fluff into adult falcons. This year, there are three fledglings to watch.
Thanks to a “falcon cam” that is fed live to the Mayo television system, visitors and staff are able to watch the falcons go about their daily life. A television with the channel set to the falcon cam can be found in the subway of the Mayo Building, next to the patient cafeteria. On occasion, I pass the TV on my way to and from meetings.
When I pass by early in the morning, the fledglings are frequently sitting at the edge of the nest looking for their mom to bring breakfast. Some mornings when I walk by mom has already finished her hunting expedition and is feeding her family.
As the days go by, the birds have less white fluff on their bodies and more of the look of an adult peregrine falcon. As I walked by the other morning (mid-June), I realized they are nearly full-grown. It won’t be long before they head out on their own and the nest will again be empty…until next spring.
On a side note: each year, Mayo asks people to submit names for the new falcons. This year, the names were announced on the day the baby birds were banded. The names are: Thunderbolt, Aeroslick and Taraja.
Barb Sorensen is a consultant in the Department of Public Affairs in Rochester.