Peregrine Falcons: Taunton Green

April 9, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I2799-001The world’s fastest animal continues to make a home atop a historic courthouse in downtown Taunton. A pair of peregrine falcons formed a nest in 2013 on the Taunton Superior Courthouse, making the Silver City landmark one of only 30+ locations in the state to host a nest for the aerodynamic bird of prey since the species disappeared entirely from Massachusetts in the mid-1950s.

“The peregrine falcon nesting in Taunton was a great new finding,” said Tom French, assistant director of MassWildlife, who oversees the agency’s Natural Heritage program. “Five years ago it would have been unheard of. … The courthouse is clearly working well for them. It’s absolutely another sign that the peregrine is coming back strong.”

MassWildlife found out in 2013 about the two peregrine falcons nesting at the Taunton Superior Courthouse. After further investigation, they also discovered that the couple hatched a clutch of four chicks there earlier that year, French said. Two of the baby falcons died during the learning-how-to-fly stage, French said, while the other fledglings left the nest successfully.

_W7I3439-001French said city residents should expect peregrine falcons to stay as permanent fixtures next to the Taunton Green.  This photo shows the banded female with the black over green 64/V alphanumeric state band on it’s left ankle.  The male, seen here launching into flight, is unbanded.

Peregrine Falcons: Woburn food exchange

April 7, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I1501-001Courtship behavior continues between these two adult peregrines with food exchanges and other activities. The male and female frequently visit the nest at the same time, leaning toward each other in a bowing fashion. They may also be seen to exhibit other bonding behaviors. The birds continue to clean up around the nest ledge in preparation for egg laying. Eggs should appear sometime in next few days if not already. The falcons typically lay between 3 or 4 eggs, spaced 1-3 days apart. They don’t start incubating until they’ve laid their next to last egg. Both adults take turns incubating the eggs, which hatch in about 29-33 days after incubating starts in earnest. During incubation, prey is brought into the nest box by the foraging adult for the pair to share. The pair will exchange incubation duties about every 30 minutes to an hour. During incubation eggs are repositioned and rolled, this often occurs after an incubating exchange.

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn female perched

April 5, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I1382-001Made a late afternoon visit in search of Peregrines in Woburn under dark overcast skies, wind E at 7MPH, and temp in low 40’s.  the adult female was quietly perched on a favorite utility pole near the Vinkari Safari Indoor Playground.  She reminded quietly perched , very alert, but with no distractions.

Lawrence Peregrines: copulating

April 5, 2017 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I1317-001Mating starts as many as four weeks, or more, before egg laying and continues through the process, up to several times an hour.  The male will mount the female, typically no longer then ten seconds, then he will disengage and fly off. Fertilization of an egg happens every 48 hours. After being fertilized, it takes an egg 24 hours to develop and be laid… resulting in a new egg being laid every 48 hours!  We are likely a day or two away from the first egg being laid, if it hasn’t happened all ready!

Bald Eagle adult perched Merrimack River

April 4, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I1111-001On a cloudy overcast morning with light rain, winds from the East at 16MPH, gusting 25MPH and temps reaching 40F, was surprised to find an adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree overlooking the Merrimack River.  For most local Bald Eagles, it is nesting time and time for protecting the nest habitat unless not there yet!  This perched Eagle was in North Andover seen from the Incinerator Rd ballfield complex next to the Essex county Pre-Release Center in Lawrence, MA.

Great Horned Owl on nest!

April 3, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I0904-001When Great Horned Owl eggs hatch, the downy owlets are the size of newborn chickens. Their mother broods them day and night. A few weeks later, the owlets can be left alone while both adults resume hunting at twilight. Great Horned Owl young remain in the nest for about six weeks, then climb out onto nearby branches. They begin taking short flights at seven weeks, and can fly well at 9-10 weeks.

Bald Eagle: female on nest

April 3, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I0866-001Under bright sun, blue skies, light wind and temps close to 60F, was able to observe this female Bald Eagle who has been incubating for the past month.  At this point in calendar, likely use has hatched at least one egg and the young eaglet is now growing!

Lawrence Peregrines: around the nest box!

April 3, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I0784-001Both male and female seen this morning in and near the nest box!  Clear skies, bright sun, light winds from SW and temp around 40F.  The female was hunkered down at the outer edge of the nest box and the male, with leg band barely visible, was perched on a nearby roof edge, keeping watch on all around.

Great Blue Herons nest building

April 3, 2017 in Nearby Waterbirds

_W7I0289-001Great Blue Herons begin returning to former breeding colonies to breed in February and March. Nest building begins in March or April. Three to five pale, greenish-blue eggs are incubated for 25-29 days by both sexes. Young first fly at around 60 days of age and leave the nest at 65-90 days, at which time they are similar in size to adults. Great Blue Herons have one brood (clutch) per year, however, they may renest if their first clutch fails early in the season.

Peregrine Falcons: Woburn pair

April 2, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I0072-001Made a very enjoyable visit to observe the Peregrine Falcons in Woburn under partly sunny skies and broken clouds, winds from NW at 12 MPH and gusts over 20MPH, temp around 40F.  Both male and female seen perched and in flight around the local quarry area.  At one point, the female flew off and landed on a rocky outcropping about 165 yards SW of the nest ledge on the west wall of the quarry.