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Peregrine fledgling looks ready to fly as 'Dad' crashes hard

Published June 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Wildlife • Baby Solo is slimming down; Dad rescued after hitting window, injuring wing.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Baby Solo has yet to take to the wing, but Dad appears injured after a crash Friday.

The fledgling Peregrine falcon dubbed Solo has been moving around atop the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on South Temple as though she might make her initial flight any day, said Bob Walters, watchable-wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

(Walters said he is guessing Solo is female, but that won't be known until biologists can examine the bird more closely.)

Meanwhile, Solo's father, known as Dad by onlookers, apparently crashed into a window Friday morning. He was rescued from a sidewalk near the Triad Center at the intersection of South Temple and 300 West. He appeared to have an injured wing, Walters said. The prognosis is uncertain.

Now it's up to Solo's mother, known as Mom, to keep track of the youngster.

If there were three or four offspring, it would be difficult for one parent to look after them all, Walters explained. But because Solo is an only chick, it should be OK.

Although Mom laid four eggs between April 12 to April 20, Solo was the only one to hatch. She emerged on May 22. It usually takes about 39 days from hatching until the young birds make their first flight, Walters said. Saturday will be the 39th day.

Before taking flight, fledglings lose their downy feathers and drop weight as the parents cut back on feeding them.

"When they get hungry, they are more apt to come out and fly," Walters said. "Hunger is a great motivator."

Observers often rescue fledglings after they fly into glass on tall buildings, Walters said, because glass can look transparent or can reflect other objects.

"Young birds have difficulty with glass," he said. "But this is the first time we've had an adult run into this kind of trouble."

csmart@sltrib.com