Lawrence Peregrines: week #3 incubation!

April 26, 2017 in In the Nest Box

LP.04.26.2017-001The Lawrence Peregrines are well along in the month long incubation process. The normal clutch is four eggs, laid on alternate days. Incubation, usually initiated when the third egg is laid, is usually 29 to 33 days based on history at this location. Clutches of three or five eggs are known to happen but less so at this site over past number of years. Both sexes share incubation. The male takes a lesser role, often replacing the female after catching prey in the early morning.  here you are able to see a changing of the guard!

Lawrence Peregrines: eggs week #2!

April 19, 2017 in In the Nest Box

LP4.19.2017As the incubation process continues, many have asked for more specifics about how it all works?

Heat makes the eggs start developing. When the eggs reach about 98.6°F, or 37°C the egg begins changing into an eyas. Conveniently enough, a Peregrine’s natural body temperature is about 103°F, or 39.5°C, so to heat up the eggs all they need to do is to get some of that body heat onto the eggs. Now, a Peregrine’s feathers make very good insulation. That’s how they can stand to stay out in cold temperatures without freezing to death. But while those feathers keep the cold air away from the falcon’s skin, they also keep their body heat from getting out. So to incubate the eggs, the Peregrine carefully settles down, shifting from side to side to get the eggs beneath their feathers. Falcons have brood patches, areas on their breasts with a lot of blood vessels close to the surface of their skin. The blood vessels concentrate their body heat, making it easier to transfer the heat to the eggs. Both adults have brood patches, though his are smaller than hers, which makes sense since he’s a smaller bird.

LP.4.19.2017.2-001Peregrines incubate their eggs for 29 to 33 days. In the early days of brooding it’s important to keep the eggs as close to their ideal incubating temperature as possible. Too hot or too cool and the eggs won’t develop properly. Later in the incubation process, proper temperature isn’t quite as important. In fact, after a couple of weeks the falcons will be able to leave the eggs uncovered for longer periods of time. Sometimes leaving the eggs uncovered frequently, or for long periods can mean that the eggs hatch a few days later than normal. For the Lawrence Peregrines, their nest box is in a place where it’s not likely to be disturbed, so they most often incubate steadily until the eggs hatch.

Peregrine Falcon: Lowell

April 18, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I5691-001The peregrine falcon reports keep rolling in with growing locations and sightings all around Greater Boston area!  A peregrine has been spotted a few times in Lowell near Rt. 495 and sure enough it was perched on the outer corner of a commercial building in dazzling late day sun under clear skies and seasonal temps.  It was solo and no sign of a mate nearby.  Will keep an eye on this location in hopes that a nest has been started or will be soon!

Great Horned Owl on nest: Middlesex County

April 18, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I5532-001On a very sunny afternoon with bright sun and few clouds, made a visit in Groton to a Great Blue Heron Rookery to enjoy the sights!  The wind was blowing from southeast at 15MPH and temps were low 50F.  Observed a pair of owlets in a former heron next while the Great Blues were flying by in constant motion.  These two owlets were very cute and took turns standing and crouching low always with a eye in our direction!

Peregrine Falcons: Watertown breeding pair!

April 17, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I5313-001Made a visit to Watertown tonight in search of a pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons that had been reported recently by friends.  The pair has been in residence for the past few years and have a well located nest box in the penthouse section of an office building with wonderful views.  The night was mostly cloudy with some breaks with bright sunlight bursting through for some nice photos.

It was near sunset and the light was starting to fade a bit, with winds from the west at 16MPH, gusts over 20MPH, and temps in upper 60F.  Both adults were seen in flight and perched around the building envelope.  A falcon cam is in place but malfunctioned prior to egg laying so no date certainty on start of eggs being laid…stay tuned!


Peregrine Falcons: Haverhill

April 12, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I4707-001After months of observing the peregrines in downtown Haverhill and comparing notes with many other local falcon watchers, the pair of Peregrines in Haverhill have again laid eggs int he downtown area.  Last year, they laid eggs under the Basiliere Bridge over the Merrimack River.

Mass Wildlife then built out and placed a nest box in a tower on the bridge with hopes that the peregrines would find and use the nest box.  It looks like they settled in and dropped eggs on top of an apartment building near the railroad bridge.

_W7I4733-001Here the female had been perched atop a rooftop antenna and then launched into flight out over the Merrimack River!




Great Horned Owl: Essex County

April 12, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I4629-001A beautiful morning walking around from the end of Crane Neck St. in West Newbury with fairly bright sun, a bit of haze, light winds from the east at 5MPH, and temps just over 60F.  Observed a female Great Horned Owl in incubation posture on a distant nest in the midst of a former Great Blue Heron Rookery.  Based on the calendar, the owlets likely hatched a few weeks ago and they will be visible very soon with their white fluffy down!

Peregrine Falcons: Woburn, finally on eggs!

April 12, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I4502-001The Woburn Peregrines have finally laid their 2017 clutch of eggs!  As with all Peregrine Falcons nest locations, clutch sizes vary from one to five. Three or four seems to be the norm. Eggs are laid at intervals of two to three days. Incubation usually does not start in earnest until the clutch is almost complete. The female typically does most of the incubating, and during this period is fed by the male. The incubation period is approximately 29 – 33 days. The young then spend up to six weeks in and around the nest ledge until they are old enough to make their first flight, or “fledge.”

Here the female is finally hunkered down in incubation posture with the male nearby watching over the nearby area!


Great Horned Owl on nest!

April 11, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I4344-001Under overcast skies, winds SW at 10MPH, and warm temps in low 80’s, made a visit to the Ward Reservation to observe the female Great Horned Owl brooding her young.  At this point in the calendar, the chick or chick may be around 4-5 weeks old and making an appearance soon around the level of the nest!  The female is now sitting much higher in the nest indicating a growing brood below!

Bald Eagle Essex County nest #1: nestling!

April 11, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4285-001A late afternoon visit to Bald Eagle nest #1 in Essex county for nice looks at the young eagle nestling.  Rough estimate that this young baby eagle is about 3-4 weeks old.  No sign yet that there is another young bird in the nest.  This was a moment when the adults were not in the nest and the the young nestling was up and about checking out the local surroundings!