Peregrine Falcons: Woburn pair in flight!

March 18, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I6107-001During a late afternoon visit to observe the Peregrine Falcons in Woburn, had a nice opportunity to both the male and female as they perched on rocky outcroppings, swooped around the area in flight, and then perched atop a couple of different utility poles around the parking lot area.  They handled lots of disturbances from cars coming and going as well as lots children screaming and yelling as they departed with parents from the indoor safari playground.  Very enjoyable to observe and record a number of takeoffs and flight patterns from the utility poles along with a number of very brief copulation attempts.  We may eggs sooner this year than last….stay tuned!


Peregrine Falcons: Brockton pair ready for eggs!

March 17, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I5450-001According to an article by well known birder Kevin Ryan, a pair of peregrine falcons, the fastest bird in the world, has made downtown Brockton their home since 2012. They started nesting on the Verizon Tower in 2012 and successfully raised four male young peregrines. The falcons are back this year in the same place and if all goes well, the female falcon should lay 2-4 eggs in the next two weeks or so.  Like most local peregrine nests, the female will sit on the eggs for about 30 days and the male will do most of the hunting, for small- to medium-sized birds, such as starlings and pigeons being a city favorite.

About 20 years ago with the help of organizations like the Peregrine Fund, and Cornell University, the peregrines started making a comeback, first in large cities such as Boston and New York City and now the numbers are growing so well that they are starting to spread to smaller cities like Brockton and Lawrence. The city of Lawrence has a camera placed at the nest called the Falcon Cam which lets everyone with a computer have a chance to watch these beautiful birds raise their young.

The Brockton pair with any luck should hatch the eggs after about 30 days after the eggs are laid, and about 40-42 days after that the young falcons will take to the skies above Brockton. Who knows, someday Brockton may have a local company sponsor a falcon cam in Brockton!


Lawrence Peregrines: ready to drop eggs!

March 16, 2017 in Verizon Cell Tower

_W7I4804-001The sun was shining bright this morning with clear skies and moderate winds.  After a quick look around the Clock Tower, and in light of cold temps in the twenties, and lower with wind chill, made a run over to the Verizon Cell Tower.  Sure enough, up on the sixth floor ledge along the hot air exhaust vents, were both peregrines.  The female seemed to be trying to get the attention of the male, but he displayed a clear indifference. So after ten minutes of walking back and forth along the ledge, she took a powder and flew around to the east side of the building to an awning over a pair of larger vents, and perched herself in the sun and out of the wind!  Nice seeing them somewhat close together….


Peregrine Falcons: Haverhill

March 16, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I4390-001The Peregrine Falcons in downtown Haverhill continue to hang out atop the roof at apartment building on the east side of the railroad bridge.  No indication of where the nest will be this year, but we should know within the next week….stay tuned!  This morning,one of the adult peregrines was enjoying the morning sun!

Peregrine: Woburn male

March 16, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I4365-001Under bright sun and clear skies, made a short visit to observe the Peregrines in Woburn. Only the male was hanging around on one of the rocky outcroppings to the west of the nest ledge.  He was very busy preening and scratching while, lifting both legs and making a ball/fist with talons, at different times.  The female was in sight during course of visit.

Bald Eagle: Haggetts Pond subadult!

March 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4175-001An unexpected treat while making a visit Haggets Pond in Andover on the west side of Rt. 93 heading north just before Rt. 495.  A subadult Bald Eagle flew into a tree next to the water treatment main building with a freshly caught fish in its talons.  A subadult like this one, requires further study in order to make a good guess as to the age of the Eagle!

Haggetts Pond is the reservoir for the town of Andover, Massachusetts, United States. It is located in the western part of the town and also lends its name to a road. The Merrimack River is connected to the pond to add volume to the reservoir.

Each year, Andover’s water treatment plant pumps and treats 2.2 billion gallons of water from Haggetts Pond which is fed from the Merrimack River via Fish Brook.  During winter months, the town uses roughly 6 million gallons a day, but in the summer, water use doubles to 12 to 14 million as a result of lawn watering and the filling of swimming pools.

A bald eagle does not display its adult plumage until its fourth or fifth year. Until then it often find it difficult to determine the age of the young eagle. Eye color, beak color, presence of an eye stripe and the amount of white on the belly, tail and covert feathers are field marks. Each of the first four years is supposed to be distinctive.

This young and growing Bald Eagle has a buffy crown, light gray bill, brown and white mottling, white wing pits, tan eye color….all these field marks suggest a Basic II subadult!


Bald Eagle nest Essex #2: pair at nest

March 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4072-001Observed the male perched adjacent to the nest with the female hunkered down after the big snowfall.  Incubating eagles will sit on the nest almost continuously.  The eggs need to be maintained at a temperature close to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  Adults share incubation duties. Nest exchanges may occur after only an hour but usually take several hours between exchanges. Frequently the incoming adult brings a new branch or fresh vegetation for the nest, then the incubating adult carefully stands and takes off while the other settles over the eggs and rakes nesting material up against its body.  During nest exchange adults may both be in nest or sometimes one adult may leave eggs unattended for a few minutes before the other adult arrives and resumes incubation.  The first nest exchange of the day often occurs at or before sunrise, with next exchanges following every 1-4 hours.

Peregrine Woburn: basking in sun

March 15, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I3985-001Among Peregrine Falcons, courtship and nesting activities are now in full swing.  Pair bonds are growing close and copulation seems to be right on time based on historical schedules.  Here, the male peregrine is perched near the nest ledge, basking in the sun, but will engage in territorial defense against any and all intruders!

Bald Eagle nest, Essex County #1

March 13, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I3858-002For Bald Eagles, eggs must be kept warm, shaded from harsh sunlight, and protected from predators. In addition to incubating, the eagles also need to turn the eggs about once an hour to ensure that the eggs are evenly heated and that the embryos don’t stick to the insides of the shells. When turning the eggs, the eagles often balled up their talons to prevent their sharp claws from puncturing the eggs. The eggs are rolled over by either parent about every hour to 2 hours during the incubation period. The purpose of this roll is to make sure that the lighter yolk does not rise to the egg surface and the delicate blood vessels that cover the yolk touch and stick to the shell surface, killing the developing chick.The brood patch is an area of bare skin on the bird’s breast that is formed when the bird removes its own feathers. By removing the feathers the parent bird allows his/her body heat to better reach the eggs and keep them at the proper temperature.

The female was observed late afternoon rising above the level of the nest while she was doing her egg turning thing, providing nice looks!

Lawrence Peregrines: close to home

March 13, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I3701-001It is that time of year and love is in the air with the peregrine falcons!  The Lawrence Peregrines remain near the nest box and one of the them is proximate at all times.  Made a quick visit to the Clock Tower and was happy to watch the female perched on a favorite corner.  This is a large just below the actual clock face and it is located on the NW corner of the Clock Tower.