Great Blue Heron rookery teeming with action!

June 9, 2013 in Nearby Waterbirds

The Great Blue Heron rookery is teaming with action among the many occupied nests and the many nestlings all on the verge of fledging!!  Mass Audubon Breeding Bird Atlas indicates that for the first two months, the young remain in the nest and are dependent on the parents, both of which tend the young. They gradually become more adventurous, stepping out onto the rim of platforms and nearby limbs. The first flights occur at 55 to 60 days.

8 photos of Heron nestlings posted:   Click “next” upper right to advance frmaes…enjoy!

Peregrine adult female….up close and personal!

June 9, 2013 in Near the Clock Tower

Had a dazzling encounter with the female Peregrine while watching her perched on the Clock Tower.  She took off in a steep dive in pursuit of a group of starlings located not far from my distant rooftop viewing location.  She seemed to chase the starlings for a while and then landed nearby.  She squawked on and off and then departed.  It was an unexpected and exciting show so close!!

8 close up photos of the adult female with leg band V/5:    Click “next”  upper right to advance frames

Eastern Kingbird pair on nest!

June 9, 2013 in Nearby Landbirds

According to Mass Audubon Breeding Bird Atlas, Eastern Kingbird nests are generally placed from 2 to 60 feet high in a shrub or tree, often near or over water.  Heights ranged from 4 to 40 feet. Both sexes gather straw, twigs, grass, and even string and strips of cloth for the construction of a bulky cup nest, which appears somewhat rough and ragged on the outside but has a neat interior lined with fine grasses, rootlets, hair, and plant down. The earliest date for nest building in the state was May 10 (CNR).  Typical clutches consist of three or four (rarely five) eggs, which are white with irregular brownish blotches.  The female does most of the incubating for 12 to 14 days, while the ever-watchful male remains perched nearby. 

5 photos posted including images of ever watchful male:  Click “next” upper right to advance…enjoy!

American Kestrel male perched near nest!

June 9, 2013 in American Kestrel

The Kestrel pair continue to be seen daily near and around the new 2013 nest location adjacent to the Duck Bridge in Lawrence.  According to Birds of North America,  incubation lasts usually around 27–30 days in the wild.  Incubation mostly by female. Male contribution varies with individuals; 84.8% and 88.6% of observations of incubating adults were females.  Male more apt to relieve female on sunny days than on heavily overcast days.

Stay tuned for chicks!

Peregrines in feeding scrum: 3 fledge with one to go!

June 9, 2013 in Peregrines at 250 Canal St.

Sunday morning offered beautiful sunshie to watch the four Peregrines chicks.  3 of the 4 have fledged and they are all in high energy mode with lots of movement around the nearby rooftops.  This team photo remided me of a rugby scrum as all 4 participated in a morning meal.  The 4th eyas hopped and fluttered to catch up with others without needing to leave the nestbox roof.  According to Birds of North America, within 10 d of first flight, young pursue adults to solicit food. Flight progresses from Butterfly-Flight (1–2 d after first flight) to Flutter-Glide (3–9 d) to Powered Flight (15–25 d). Butterfly-Flight appears to be weaker form of Flutter-Glide associated with in-complete development of flight feathers and pectoral muscles. Pursuits gradually become more sustained and range farther from nest.  Adult pursuit is accompanied by begging vocalization. During first 2 wk of flight, young birds’ pursuit of parents takes precedence over most other activities. Young will even pursue parents during territorial defense.

8 morning photos posted including a clear shot of leg bands (11/BD):    Click “next” upper right to advance frames….enjoy!!

The Eaglet is closing in on fledge date!!

June 9, 2013 in Bald Eagle

The eaglet is closing in on the fldge date!  According to Birds of North America, nest departure can occur at 8–14 wk. Variability in departure date related to effects of sex and hatching order on growth and development   Adults may “encourage” nest departure by flying around nest with prey item vocalizing when young are hungry.  Fledglings may continue to use nest as feeding platform for several weeks as they gain flight and foraging skills.  Juveniles continue to grow and develop postfledging.  Mass may actually decrease or remain stable postfledging, depending on food availability and foraging ability of individual. Skeletal growth and development minimal postfledging. Muscle mass continues to develop and flight feathers fully emerge. Little data on when growth is complete in immatures.  Fledglings follow adults and may be fed by adults up to 6 wk after leaving nest

3 photos posted from early morning visit with challenging light conditions:   Click “next” upper right!

Peregrine chicks have started to fledge!

June 6, 2013 in Peregrines at 250 Canal St.

After a short visit to the Great Blue heron rookery in Methuen Wednesday morning, had a chance to also make a brief visit to observe the peregrines.  While parked on Mill St. and facing south, one of the peregrine chicks flew by my left side and onto an upper ledge of the white building just below the roof.  This is the first fledge flight activity in my observations.  Hooray!  This morning’s visit was more exciting as one of the chicks was seen on a perch atop a nearby building.  Other reports came in during the day indicating some of the other chicks have fledged as well!  All great news!!

Great Blue Heron rookery with chicks!!

June 5, 2013 in Nearby Waterbirds

The Great Blue Heron rookery along the Rail Trail in Methuen is buzzing with activity as many of the 30 plus nests are filled with 2, 3, and even 4 nestlings.  Typically, wing-flapping has been observed as early as the fourth week, and chicks have been observed making short hops into branches near their nest at 7 wk.  Sustained flights have been observed in Great Blue Herons around the 60 day mark.  Chicks may depart their nests around 2.5 months of age.  Young herons are far from attractive, either in appearance or behavior, at any age; at first they are feeble and helpless, but later on they are awkward, ungainly, and pugnacious. If undisturbed, they remain in the nest until as large as their parents and fully fledged; but when nearly grown they are easily frightened and leave the nest to climb awkwardly over the surrounding branches and perhaps fall to the ground or water below, which often results in death, as their parents do not seem to have sense enough to rescue or even feed them.  These nestlings should fledge very soon!

Peregrine chicks on the verge of fledging!

June 4, 2013 in Peregrines at 250 Canal St.

The Peregrine chicks are on the verge of fledging.  The wing flapping is hitting new high levels of activity and at least one of them will fledge in next day or so!  Spotted all 4 chicks today and was able to ID at least two sets of leg bands.  The leg bands show two digit numbers with two digit letters.  In both cases the leg bands are black over green colors.  All traces of down are gone at this stage of growth.  Terrific series of 20 clear and close photos in excellent light conditions of the 4 peregrines chicks in the final pre-fledge stage of growth!

20 Photos posted:

American Kestrels perched near new 2013 nest!

June 4, 2013 in American Kestrel

The Kestrels have been present at the north end of the Duck Bridge.  They have been seen frequently in tree tops, atop utility poles, and, this morning both seen atop the very peak of a fire escape ladder on a brick building.  Looks like they have a nest just around the corner in a rotted eave just belwo the roof line of an abnadoned mill building.  Stay tuned for chicks to make appearance!