Lawrence Peregrines: almost a week!

April 11, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines

Had a nice opportunity to watch the female in the nest box this morning.  Just before 7AM, she raised herself up a bit and changed positions but remained over the 4 eggs.  Then at 7:07AM, she departed for a few minutes and returned to the box, and then back to incubating the eggs. During incubation, an observer may spend lots of time watching very little activity.  The peregrines take turns brooding the eggs. Typically, the female incubates about 2/3 of the time, often for four or more hours before the male relieves her. Males brood for shorter periods– typically 2 to 3 hours, and they brood less frequently. While one adult is brooding, the other may be out hunting. Brooding falcons still need to eat, after all. If they’re not hunting, the other falcon usually stays close to the nest.  The photo on the left shows the female sitting on eggs quietly and with great comfort.  She will adjust as she needs to but is not fidgety as the male tends to be!

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Sometimes while the female is brooding the eggs, the male will bring her food that he has hunted. She’ll eat the food, sometimes inside, and other times, outside the nest box while he takes a turn incubating, but then she’ll come back and take over– provided she can get him to move off the eggs. If he doesn’t move right away, she may stand in the nest box and wail at him. Wailing has different meanings for falcons, but in general it indicates dissatisfaction with the current situation.  Here they are together, inside the nest box at around 10:35 AM today, and she is wailing on him big time.

IMG_9571So if this female wails at her guy while he’s incubating, or in the nest box it’s her way of telling him she’s not happy that he’s still standing around, or sitting on the eggs. As with most other interactions between male and female peregrines, the female usually gets her way, though sometimes it takes a while for him to get the message!  Guess who’s usually walking away, with his head bowed low, after getting wailed at….the male!

Lawrence Peregrines: Egg #4!

April 5, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines

2019.0405-001Checked on the nest box just after 6AM this morning under fair skies, wind from west at 9MPH, and temp at 31F. The forecast for today calls for mostly cloudy skies, with a high near 47. Light and variable winds becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. For tonight, rain and snow likely before 1am, then rain. Low around 36. South wind 6 to 8 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

After waiting almost an hour for a look this morning, the adults had a shift change at 6:53AM and this provided a quick peek at the 4th egg!  This egg was likely laid at some point overnight.  Had kept a close eye early evening last night and had a clear sighting of just 3 eggs just before sunset, with little egg laying movement seen up until dark settled in.

So now, the Peregrines shift into full and shared incubation duties that will last the next 30 days or so!  We are about a week ahead of last year’s egg laying time frame. With God’s grace the circle of life continues!

Lawrence Peregrines: Egg #3!

April 2, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines

2019.0403.LP-001Always nice to report yet another egg has been laid this afternoon for the 2019 Lawrence Peregrine family!  In most years for this location, the eggs have consistently been laid roughly 48 hours apart.  Last year, the final egg arrived 72 hours after the third egg……no big deal.  We have seen far more incubation going on this year prior to the third egg being laid.  Today we had clear skies, afternoon temps just into the low 50’s, and winds from the SW at 15MPH, with gusts up to 25MPH.  Let’s look for final egg on Thursday afternoon!

Any questions or comments, feel free to check-in at cbgibson AT comcast.net!

Lawrence Peregrines: Egg #2!

March 31, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines

The morning started off under mostly cloudy skies, wind from the south at 12MPH and gusts up to 23MPH, and temp at a balmy 57F.  The forecast calls for showers, mainly after 1pm. High near 63. South wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

2019.0331The female was observed inside the nest box just after 7AM this morning, both standing over the first egg and then nestled down lower in incubation mode.  She constantly looked around and also vocalized a bit at times. The wind circulated just enough inside the nest box to move her feathers around while she incubated the egg.  In prior years, the first egg would be left for longer periods unattended, but this year seems to be getting more active attention.  As an observer, you may have to keep watching for a while until she lifts up off the egg and takes a break!

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Checked back in later in the afternoon and the second egg had yet to appear and then checked back just before 6PM and the second egg was seen when she lifted up for a few moments and took off for a bathroom break! We’ll look for the next egg to be laid, hopefully on Tuesday afternoon!

Lawrence Peregrines: first egg!

March 29, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

After many visits in and around the Clock Tower and many looks through the web cam, including earlier today, what a nice surprise to check in this afternoon and find the first egg laid for 2019!

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Finally after waiting and waiting, the female laid her first egg this today!. Her behavior was very consistent with the general lethargy that a female falcon typically experiences in the few days prior to laying the first egg. In many cases this lethargy may last a week or longer. She lazes around and spends lots of time in the nest box, nest scraping, and other courtship related activities.

Incubation usually will not begin until the second to last egg has been laid. In this cool spring weather, with night time temps in the low 30’s, the female will spend some time incubating the egg, but it may not be a non-stop effort!

The female has a silver federal leg band on her right leg; and a black over green 38/BV band on her left leg.  The male has only a silver right leg band and no band on his left leg.

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Day 42: 3 nestlings fledged and gone!

June 24, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

2018.0623-001The 3 peregrine chicks have all now fledged! Now all we see is an empty nest box.  The youngsters rarely if ever return to the nest box once they have fledged.  From time to time, the female will perch on the nest box perch pole, if it provides her with a good vantage point to watch the fledglings.  The action now is all around the Clock Tower.  The nest box will mostly remain empty until the middle of next March when preparations will hopefully once again get underway for the breeding season!

Day 41: last ones fledged!!

June 23, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Sunrise this morning was at 5:07AM.  The remaining two peregrines started the day off under overcast skies, very light winds from the east and temp at 62F.  The day ahead calls for overcast skies with possibility of light rain, NE winds up to 10 – 12 MPH, and temps hitting 67F by late morning, and cooling off in the afternoon.

2018.0623.1 2Today is looking to be a big day with number two having fledged early this morning and the last one likely to go off today.  The remaining chick was seen in the nest box as late as 11AM and by 2:35PM, the nest box was empty with the last chick now fledged and out of the nest box.  The web cam will continue to operate, but little chance we will see any further action through the cam.  the chicks will many the next many weeks in and around the area around the Clock Tower.  The chicks will be learning to fly while the parents continue to feed them.

The young falcon, as it launches into the world, is a most handsome bird, and when the last vestiges of down are shed from the head, it has the regal appearance of the adult. The eyes have by now, taken on that extraordinary quality of lustrous vitality and intense watchfulness that even the best paintings cannot capture in its fullness.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

Day 40: #2 ready to fledge

June 22, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

After sunrise at 5:07, the peregrines started this morning off under fair skies, little wind and temp at 56F.  The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 76. East wind around 6 mph.

The two remaining chicks continue to move around inside the nest box, with time for loafing and resting, enjoying the morning shade, wing flapping, eating, and just getting ready for the moment of first flight.  The female continues to watch over the chicks, sometimes from the perch and other times from just a bit of a distance.

2018.0622.1 2Around 6PM tonight, checked back in and observed one chick in the nest box.  It seemed to look over and just below the nest box.  After a few minutes, a small movement was seen, and it turned out to be the other chick on the ledge right below the nest box.  Ir was moving back and forth, its head just visible, and then hopped up, and back into the nest box, and remained inside.

 

2018.0622.2 2Around 7PM, checked back again, and the ready to fledge chick was seen perched out on the perch pole.  It sat for a while, then hopped back inside the nest box for a while, and just after 7:20 Pm hopped back out onto the perch pole….so ready for first flight!!

 

 

2018.0622.3Many have asked, how do the chicks know when to fledge and make first flight?  What prompts the final push to launch out into the world forms he nest box? From what researchers have observed over the years, there is likely little particular action by the parent peregrines to induce their young to fly. The adults may reduce the food rations at this time, for the young are quite fat. Generally, the chicks fly when they are ready and moved by their own instinct. The first flight can be quite strong, but when it lands on a nearby perch, it may remain for many hours.  Food calls are exchanged, and the parent keeps close tabs from nearby. For a chick that has survived a fall from the nest, the adults will find, feed, and protect the chick until it is ready to fly away.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 39: update!

June 21, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Made a pass by the Ayer Mill Clock Tower this morning with a fresh determination to scour the area for the first fledgling.  After first flight, there is no telling if a fledged falcon may have been injured or harmed in some way.  Some times, they find a nearby spot to just rest and loaf a while.  They will call to the parents for food and be cared for as long as they are in range of the nest.  At times, observation of the adults, may provide clues on the location of a nearby newly fledged bird.

_W7I1738-001Just before 10AM, after looking high and low around all sides of the Clock Tower, made the last stop on the north side of the Merrimack River, and scanned the entire Clock Tower and adjacent buildings for any signs of the fledgling. The middle  window sill just below the north clock face seemed to have a dark horizontal sliver that was out of place.  With binocs, it looked like it could possibly be the fledgling.  A close look through the spotting scope confirmed it was the fledgling, but no signs of movement for over two minutes.  Finally it bobbed its head a bit, and provided final confirmation on being alive and seemingly OK!

_W7I1766-001Later in the day, just after 4PM, returned to same location on north side of Merrimack River, looking south at the tower, and the same fledgling was now on a lower ledge, and perched in upright position.  It likely had remained in the shade for a good part of the day, and may have moved little during the day.

 

 

_W7I1801-001The female was around the corner on the nest box perch pole and the other two nestlings were seen inside the nest box.  Had a chance to view the nest box from below just a bit later with nice views of one of the chicks, another in the background, and the female on the pole.  The other two chicks will likely make first flight over the next few days.  Hopefully, the three chicks will remain together and nearby in the weeks ahead!

 

 

 

Day 39: first fledge, two to go!

June 21, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

First day of summer! Sunrise this morning was again at 5:06AM under fair skies, light winds from the south at 5MPH, and temp at 62F. The peregrines started of this morning under fair skies, wind from south at 5MPH, and temp at 62F. The day ahead forecast calls for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. Light and variable wind becoming northeast 5 to 8 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

2018.0621-001Now the first chick has fledged and the other two will follow shortly! Just after 5:30AM this morning, the female dropped off prey and the two chicks went into a scrum to attack the food.  The rumbled with each other over the food in a tug of war….quite a show. The remaining two continue vigorous wing flapping as they perch at the outer edge of nest box and look for their sibling nearby. First flight may happen at any time of day. The males will typically fledge first, and the females just a bit after, but not always the case.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.