Banding Baby Dinosaurs

:intro jingle: Emily: We’re here in the egg collection with Josh Engel who’s a research assistant in birds. And Josh, what is your involvement with the Peregrine program? Josh: I go along on the banding efforts to help gather the young from the nests. And, then when they’re inside I help with the banding. And, I do the blood draws so we have blood samples from all of the young. Emily: This is something that you do pretty regularly at this time of the year. And, what is involved with the process? I mean aside from calling up Tom in the night and getting us to grab our camera and go. Josh: Yeah, so there’s about a 3-week period. Starting usually the end of May going into June. Where all of the young Peregrine falcons in all of the 20 or so nests around the area are just the right size that we can grab them and put bands on their legs. Emily: So you went out. You got all suited up. You got your gloves, and your bike helmet and your broom. And, one of you will go out there. Take one of the young. Put it in a box, and bring it back inside. And, then what is it that you’re doing? Josh: Yeah, so we very carefully. We just have to lean out a window at that site. We reach down with our gloves. The Peregrines at this point, even though they can’t fly and they’re only 20-25 days old, they have pretty fearsome talons, very sharp beaks. So we definitely have to wear those leather gloves. We have the broom that keeps them both from hitting our heads, and also from flying into the windows that’s right there. And, then if we do everything right it just takes a few seconds, we grab the young, put them in a box, take them back inside. And, then we can take a deep breath and get everything organized on our little table. And, we have a lot of equipment with us for banding. We have the equipment for taking the blood samples. So, that’s a tube with a liquid in it that preserves the blood. Some cards that are specially treated to preserve DNA that we put blood on. One by one we take the young birds out. We put bands on their legs. Take a blood sample. Put them back in the box. And, when it’s all done we take them back into that same room. And, put them right back into the nest where we got them in the first place. Emily: And, then they’re good to go.
Josh: And, they’re good to go. Emily: How long does it take for them to become fully grown? Josh: After those first 3 weeks they’ll start losing those white downy feathers. Growing the brown feathers that are distinctive of their juvenile plumage. The flight feathers on their wings and tail will start growing to their full size. And, after about 3 more weeks… they go. Well, we hope that after 6 weeks they’re actually ready to go and that first flight is successful. Sometimes that first flight is– especially in an urban environment where they don’t have a lot of room to maneuver they end up on the ground, or on the roof of a nearby building or something. And if that happens and we find out about it we often actually grab them, and put them back in the nest. And, usually that second try is a go. Emily: Give them another go around. Josh: Birds across the board, the highest mortality they have is in their first year of life. And, that’s no different than birds of prey and other raptors. They make it through that first year, the lifespan is about average 13-17 years. I think the oldest ones we’ve had nesting in the Chicago area are 16 years old. And, at that point they get kicked out of their territory by a younger bird. Emily: How does this compare to like your other experiences, I guess, looking or viewing birds in the wild? Josh: Well, it’s a very different angle. I see Peregrine falcons all over the world. They live almost everywhere. I’ve seen them on different continents. And, it’s really amazing to see them in their native habitat, flying around cliffs, on mountainsides. But to see them here in this urban setting, a place where I grew up, and to get up close and personal with them– you know, there’s nothing like having a female Peregrine diving at your head because you’re trying to take the young out of her nest. And, that’s something in the normal course of my birding doesn’t happen. And, if it does something is very wrong. Emily: Then you’re not doing birdwatching correctly. You’re doing a scientific mission against the fastest animal in the world. Josh: They’re formidable. Emily: Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t want just.. Josh: Having them fly at your face over and over again can be a little nerve wracking. But, we do it in a way that we know we’ll be safe. And, we know that they’ll be safe too. Emily: Keeping that in mind, how do you feel about ‘Jurassic Park’? Emily: I mean you’re essentially doing the same thing. You’re battling dinosaurs. Josh: I’d take a Peregrine over a Velociraptor any day. Emily: Hah yeah, touche! :ending jingle:

69 thoughts on “Banding Baby Dinosaurs

  1. As cool as this was, I'm slightly disappointed there were no actual baby dinosaur fossils 🙁 I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a dinosaur episode of the Brain Scoop!

  2. "Having them fly at your face over and over again can be a little nerve wracking."  Understatement of the year.

  3. When I first took a trip to US, I was really fascinated with robins because we don't have them here in Singapore. When they run, they look exactly like a dinosaur, or rather, theropod dinosaurs we've seen in film look exactly like robins when they run.

  4. I first clicked on the video because the title seemed interesting and it was in my subscription box so presumably it's relevant to my interests. Then I noticed it's from The Brain Scoop and my excitement increased tenfold!

  5. If any of you love raptors and birds of prey, then you should look into the legacy of Bob Anderson and his conservation work. RIP Bob.

  6. Does anyone else have a thing for cabinets with lots and lots and lots of little drawers in them? I kept coveting the drawers behind Emily and her guest today. Library card catalogs, and draft drawers and apothecary cabinets…

    Oh, yeah, and the bird stuff was really interesting too!

  7. I love soon raccoon but he just seemed awkward sitting next to the flailing hands of the super smart bird guy talking about nothing but birds. IMO

  8. advice to the editor, when pointing out features on the animal, i would use a yellow with black outline arrow instead of an asterisk. just a preference.

  9. You need to interview a wildlife care center some day. They try to care for injured and orphaned wild animals. It can be very interesting at times. I do some facility maintenance for the non-profit one in Stanislaus California, which has been in operation since 1984, but there are others around the country.

  10. So how many buildings in the Chicago area have these nests? Or more to the point – how many buildings encompass the research project?

  11. OK… something about a guy who knows how to handle avifauna is oddly attractive to me. If you're single…and y'know; gay… call me! 😉

  12. lol.  dinosaurs?  emily, everyone knows that birds did not evolve from dinosaurs, because evolution is an evil satanic lie straight the pits of hell, invented by the devil himself who came to the earth in the form of charles darwin.  it is well established scientific fact that the earth/universe is only 6,000 years old, and that all animals were created by god, and named by adam, (and then subsequently killed by god, except for two of each kind, which are the ancestors of all the animals we see today.)  i mean, duh emily.

  13. I'm trying to understand why the videos are so short? I mean we wait a long time for something new and when it comes its so short. I'm sorry if i sound like a asshole but I'm hooked on this channel and i would like to see more. Also is it possible to see more of the museum and exhibits?

  14. I find this amazingly disruptive to the falcons, why can't you just leave them alone to live their lives?  Why do you have to band and draw blood?  Oh, for science's sake?  Information to do what with?  To find out how long the birds will tolerate disturbance?  Band this, put radio collars on that, who cares how the animal feels about it.  Hubris!!  Bah!  I love Brain Scoop, but I find this video unsettling.  I'm sure there are all kinds of explanations and excuses, but it's still putting stress on the animals and elevates human's 'need to know' above the comfort and natural lives of the animals.

  15. So…..what are scientist doing with the gathered information to 'help facilitate the bird's recovery'?  What are the results of that 'assistance' to recovery?  Good intentions, yes, but does it really really produce concrete results?  And how can you be sure that the information gathered to 'help facilitate the bird's recovery' is actually helping the recovery?  Is it possible that the bird population would recover without our stressful (to the birds) interference, if we just respected them enough to just let them alone?

  16. I've been liking this Peregrine mini-series on the channel! They are one of my favorite birds. Ever since I was a kid, I was enraptured (or maybe I should say, enRAPTORed… sorry) by the bird's title of 'fasted animal'. It's so cool to learn more about them and hear that they are doing so well 🙂

  17. Hahahaha I love his sense of humour! 😀 This was so interesting and witty. I had a big lol of learning. ^_^

  18. Ever since old movies the image from binoculars is always shown as two images.  However when you look through binoculars you only see one image.

  19. A bit off topic, but can you talk about Capybaras? Perhaps their habitat and behaviors, or maybe show us some specimens at the museum. Please?

  20. is it just me or does the sound in the last couple videos is a bit distorted?  i'm sensitive to that though !  🙂  still, awesome videos !  gj

  21. Hi Emily! I've been watching you since my friend showed me the wolf skinning video, and I was really excited to hear that you're now working in Chicago! (Especially cause I live right by there!) I'm actually heading over to the Field Museum tomorrow so I was wondering if there was any way I could meet you in person?


  22. Not what I was expecting when I saw the title of the video in my e-mail, but am I disappointed? Hell to the no. 🙂

  23. Could you stop putting the "it still has brains on it" thing in every video. It's a video about banding baby falcons, not directing some dead animal. I would hope the young falcons have brains in them.

  24. Emily I don't mean to come off rude but don't you see that the taxidermy/dissection videos get 2-3 times the number of views that these type of videos get?

  25. Emily I don't mean to come off rude but don't you see that the taxidermy/dissection videos get 2-3 times the number of views that these type of videos get?

  26. Contact of the human kind… I always imagine animals views of us are similar to how we would feel if creepy aliens kidnapped us, or our children.

  27. "I'd take a peregrine over a velociraptor any day."

    You sure about that? Velociraptors are (ironically, considering their name) slower, and they can't even fly.

  28. Younger birds kick out the older ones? I did not know that about them… It's a good thing humans generally avoid stealing from the elderly, and instead return some care.

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