Lawrence Peregrines and Crows!

October 31, 2017 in In the Nest Box

_W7I6139-001Made a late afternoon visit to the west side of the New Balance building complex and staked out a viewing location in a nearby truck trailer depot.  This vantage point provided nice views of the entire west side of building complex and the Clock Tower.  At one point, the adult male peregrine chased of a bunch of crows streaming a bit too close to the territorial perimeter of peregrine country.

Each winter for the past many years, wintering American Crows have been gathering at sunset in large numbers.  They tend to stage in smaller numbers at numerous nearby locations, and then make their way to the final roost in silver maple and river birch trees along both side of the Merrimack River, mostly on the west side of the Duck Bridge.  It is a remarkable sight to watch!

_W7I6048-001Here is excerpt from well known ornithologist A.C. Bent:

During the summer crows associate only in pairs at their isolated breeding places, but in fall they exhibit a marked gregarious inclination, and birds from many miles of territory congregate in immense roosts comprising thousands, sometimes tens and even hundreds of thousands, of individuals. These roosts are not only made up of the birds breeding in the region but the flocks are augmented by birds that have migrated from nesting grounds located farther to the north. In New England there is a marked tendency for the crows to move from inland areas to roosts established near the coast. Food is the primary factor involved in this shift; whereas the feeding grounds in the interior become covered with snow and ice, the seacoast provides an uninterrupted food supply that is replenished with every flow of the tide. Even the severe winter weather does not drive the hardy members from the roosts established in the dense coniferous forests that fringe the coast. Most of the roosts in northern New England are comparatively small, however, and one must go farther to the southward before meeting with aggregations of unusual size.

Lawrence Peregrines: male 6/4

October 30, 2017 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower

_W7I5920-001Made a late afternoon pass by the Ayer Mill Clock Tower for a brief look at the peregrine falcons.  While scanning for the peregrines, noticed hundreds of American crows streaming into the area west of the New Balance building complex and preparing for their overnight winter roost.  In the midst of the crow chaos, noticed a single peregrine buzzing a few of the crows.  The peregrine landed on a number of lower than normal rooftop perch locations, perhaps to take a run at some of the crows.  As it perched atop the roof of B&D Advanced Warehousing Corp. building in fading sunlight.  As it moved around just a bit while perched, the bi-colored alpha-numeric leg bands were exposed.  It was the male with the black over green 6/4 left leg band!

Peregrine pair: Boston University Towers

October 19, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I1699-001Had a nice early morning visit to the Student Village high rise buildings on the Boston University campus this morning.  With clear skies and bright sun, had nice looks at the resident pair of peregrine falcons that make their home atop the 26-story StuVi II.  They were active around the tower and then settled in around the nest box.  The falcons maintain a variety of regular perch locations around the extended complex of nearby buildings.  Sightings of both peregrines are frequently made from a distance, at Magazine Beach in Cambridge on the opposite side of the Charles River.

CF2C2683-002According to Tom French at MassWildlife, the BU male has a left leg band with 12/BD black over green, banded as a chick in 2013 on the Newark Paper Company in a renovated mill building at 250 Canal Street, Lawrence.   On the left, is a file photo of this same bird as a hatch year fledgling, getting ready to make first flight.  The image was taken on June 4, 2013 from a rooftop in a complex of mill buildings in Lawrence, MA.

Peregrine Falcon: Albany St., Boston, MA

October 15, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I0923-001This female peregrine falcon was first observed while it was circling in flight over the access road off of SE Expressway while I was driving north.  With a little bit of extra time in the schedule, was thankfully able to divert and search the local area around Albany Street.  It was quite a treat to discover the perched falcon on a building security camera at the corner of the rooftop level! The seven story building is occupied National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) located at 620 Albany Street.  The peregrine was seen from outside the tight security fence surrounding the building.

It was a nice afternoon under partly sunny skies, Wind: SW 14MPH, 72F.


This is the resident female from the Christian Science Church administration building at 177 Huntington Avenue. Captured at nest on 05-24-17 by Norm Smith with a hand net and banded as an “After Second Year” (ASY) female – 1947-35707, and 05/BV black over green leg band on the left leg.

Peregrine Falcons: Taunton Green

October 15, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I0376-001The pair of Peregrine Falcons in downtown Taunton remain close to each other in the off season.  On most visits, it is easy to locate and observe both adults from Taunton Green and other nearby vantage points.  They remain active and engage in territorial defense of their home territory.  After arrival, the male was found perched atop one of the granite turrets on the Courthouse and launched into flight mode.  Soon after, the female landed on an upper granite ledge and extended her left leg just enough to allow positive ID of her left leg color-coded band.

Here is male launching into flight mode!

_W7I0584-001The black/green left leg band revealed the alphanumeric code: 64/V; Banding date and location: May 20, 2008, NY, Long Island, Nassau Co., East Meadow, Nassau University Medical Center.


Peregrine Falcons: Watertown

October 8, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

While heading home, had a nice opportunity to check on the Peregrine Falcons in Watertown.  This is a known nesting pair that have been in residence the last few years.  It was mostly sunny, with east winds  at 10MPH, and temp at 60F.

_W7I8759-001The adult male was seen on the front of the building in great light.  It was  stretching and preening.  Adults commonly stretch single leg or wing laterally; stand on one leg and stretch opposite leg back to side, simultaneously stretching wing from same side across extended leg. Peregrines also double-wing stretch (warble), bird bends forward and down raising both wings over back, sometimes fully extending wings at wrist; seen more in fledglings; may be followed by wing-flapping.

_W7I8953-001The larger female was seen nearby at a higher elevation near the nest box.  She then departed, made two aerial loops, and landed near the male at same elevation 8-10 feet away.  She proceeded to communicate with the male with head bowing and other movements.  In this display, her approach was entirely horizontal (head, body, and tail all in one plane) with a slight lowering of her head.  Her bill was pointed at the male and not towards the ledge. She paused to look at the male infrequently.  Fascinating to watch!

Lawrence Peregrines: preening and rousing

October 3, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

Made a late afternoon visit to the Clock Tower under clear skies, bright late day sun, light winds from the SE, and temp at 64F.  The adult male had just returned to a ledge on the NW corner below the clock face.

_W7I9115-001One thing the peregrine falcon does a lot is preening. Many hours each day is spent on the care of feathers, beak, cere and feet. Sometimes it seems like pure vanity, but it is in fact a necessity. Without well preened feathers the peregrine could become soaking wet when it rains, become ill and die. Or feathers that are not well groomed will cause drag when flying. When preening birds run their beaks through their feathers or scratching their heads with a toe.

_W7I9106-001Rousing is the the action of a peregrine erecting its feathers and then shaking them; part of grooming; a sign of a relaxed and content bird. Peregrines typically rouse (shake) after preening; also rouse during flight, particularly after leaving perch (unless to initiate a pursuit).

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn male

October 2, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts

_W7I8655-001A Monday morning flyby visit with clear skies, bright sun, winds from NW at 5MPH, and temp at 63F.  The adult male was perched on the nest ledge and preening with its bill.  Preening keeps the feathers neat, preserving their streamlining and insulating effects as well as their color pattern.  Preening may help to remove any possible external parasites.