Fledglings eating on ledge

July 3, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6334-001Made a stop by the Clock Tower on Tuesday morning at 8:45AM under bright sun and clear skies, winds from the W at 6MPH and temp at. 84F.  The female was perched on the nest box perch pole.  This strongly suggested that the fledglings were close by.  Sure enough, one of them, 27/BU was picking apart a morning meal on an upper story, west facing ledge, of the New Balance building, not far from the Merrimack Street entrance.  Another youngster was above a much higher ledge above the clock face.



_W7I6756-001The fledgling eating prey, was ripping it apart and not wasting a minute.  The other, slightly larger fledgling, 29/BU was content to just watch.  It may have eaten a bit earlier.  They then sat next to each other for a bit before the larger one took off in flight.  Observed all three fledglings, as well as both adults; very nice to see the young family all together!

Fledglings: on the wing!

June 27, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I3950-001Usually, each youngster may land and remain at a special resting/feeding area near the nest box.  At this location, it will receive food from the adults.  After a few days, the fledged young may be grouped together to be fed, by either parent.  At first this is typically a bill to bill transfer of pieces, but later will be given intact prey to rip apart and eat on their own. At this stage of growth, the fledglings often rest by lying prone on nearby ledges, especially on hot afternoons. When the young are at rest, they may be very well camouflaged.  It is possible to observe billing between siblings on ledges. There tends to be little bickering between youngsters over food.

_W7I3592-001Flutter gliding by the young is frequent at this stage and appears to be the same flight as used by adult females before egg laying.  Once the young are on the wing, the female Peregrine resumes hunting in earnest, and often joins the male again in cooperative hunts. This image shows the female taking off in pursuit of a nearby gull that flew too close to the Clock Tower!

Increasingly, the fledglings make short flights in pursuit of, or in search for the parents. which in a few days begin to adopt aerial foot-to-foot transfers of prey to their offspring.  The young love to chase each other as well as their parents, all in a very playful way!

On the wing: fledglings!

June 26, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I2596-001One of the great joys of monitoring a peregrine falcon nest, eggs, hatchlings, nestlings, and then fledglings; is the exciting moments around first days of flight.  Although they rest quite a bit, as they adjust to their new life outside the nest box, their flight patterns are a joy to behold.  Most of the flight patterns are a bit awkward, their takeoffs and landings, a bit uneven.  They love to zoom around in playful flight with adults and each other.

_W7I2614-001Flights grow stronger day by day over the first week.  Many times the youngsters will engage in mack combat drills with rolls and outstretched talons. The family usually remains close around the Clock Tower, roosting in many different locations. By now the nest box looks bare, with few remains left behind.

Day 21: Resting on tarsi

June 3, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

The peregrines started the day under partly cloudy skies, wind from NE at 9 MPH, and temp just over 60F.  The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 67. East wind around 11 mph.

2018.0603.2We’re now around the three week point for their growth and development. The first juvenile feathers begin to poke through the down on the breast.   The chicks continue to rest on their tarsi much of the time, rather than standing on their feet, but this balance shifts quickly in the days to follow.

2018.0603.1This is the time when wing and tail feathers begin to appear, and wing flapping becomes more vigorous.  The young are now voracious and eagerly watch the return of the parents to feed them. They are brooded little, but still have a marked tendency to huddle together, this being a warmth conserving adaptation.  Chicks at this age have well developed beaks and powerful feet, with quite large talons.

Literature cited:

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

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: feeding and brooding!

May 19, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower

The peregrines started the day watching the royal wedding under fair skies, wind from the NE at 3MPH and temp at 44F.  Sunrise was at 5:19 AM.  The forecast calls for rain, mainly after 11am. High near 58. East wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

IMG_6888The female was seen brooding and feeding the chicks this morning between 8 – 9 AM.  She still keeps the remaining egg close to her, and visible, while she broods the other chicks.  A bit later, food arrives and she prepares to feed the chicks, while taking a few bites for herself.

IMG_6893The female assumes an increasingly elevated brooding position as the chicks grow, and is especially careful with her feet when rising and moving away.  The brooding female gently pulls back with the underside of its beak, as needed, one of the small chicks, which moves out from under her, as she might hook a displaced egg. Female attentiveness to brooding depends on weather, the number of nestlings, and their age.  Brooding tends to become increasingly sporadic after about the eight day.

Literature cited:

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

Lawrence Peregrines: female on the roof

April 26, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I5195-001Had a nice look at the female peregrine outside the box tonight.  She had been perched up on the Clock Tower, departed and made a couple of large aerial loops and then settled on the west wind rooftop of the New balance building in beautiful late day sunlight.  The wind was strong from the west at 13MPH and gusting up to 25MPH with temps in low 60’s.

Lawrence Peregrines: very sad news….”Crash” has passed away..

April 2, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Update from Tom French:

CF2C1926-002I just learned from the Tufts Wildlife Clinic that the 17 year old male Peregrine Falcon, 6*/4* from Lawrence just died.  This is not a surprise, but it is the end of a long and impressive legacy.  I will pull together a brief summary of his legacy soon.

Lawrence Peregrines: copulation

March 27, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts


Made a pass by the Ayer Mill Clock Tower while heading to Industrial Way to observe the winter crow roost.  Skies were overcast, winds were E at 7MPH, and temps in mid-forties.  The male was in the nest box and then hopped out onto the wooden perch pole.  The female arrived and landed on the SW corner of the New Balance building at 200 Merrimack Street.  She cleaned her bill and then made a few soft calls to the nearby male.  He swooped off of the perch pole and landed atop the female with talons carefully tucked in.

During copulation the female is pitched forward,making an angle of about 45 degrees with respect to the perch The copulation wail is given throughout.  As the male mounts,the female spreads her wings out at the elbow about one-fourth open. The tail, up and to the side, may be partly spread.


_W7I4933-001The male flaps his wings throughout copulation, maintaining an upright posture with the neck extended and bent in a curve. Usually the male gives one or two bursts of the Chitter vocalization just before,during,and/or just after mounting and then Eechips sporadically. Some individuals give bursts of Chitter throughout.

Toward the end of copulation the male stops his tail movements pressing his cloaca against the female’s.  Rapid wing-beats accompany this tail-press.  The female may spread her tail partly at this time,and the male departs with a Hitched-Wing Display directly afterwards.

Literature Cited:

Cade, T. J., J. H. Enderson and J. Linthicum. 1996a. Guide to Management of Peregrine Falcons at the eyrie. Boise, ID: The Peregrine Fund, Inc. (Excerpt: Linthicum, Janet. Observing Breeding Behavior)

Wrege, P. H. and T. J. Cade. 1977. Courtship behavior of large falcons in captivity. Raptor Res. no. 11:1-46.

Lawrence Peregrines: rooftop

March 20, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I3882-001Arrived in the Clock Tower area close to 6:15 pm and located both peregrines on the south edge of the New Balance building along Merrimack Street.  The male sat quietly without moving much.  The female was closer to the SW corner and she was cleaning her bill against the edge of the roof line!

Peregrine Falcon: Boston University

March 18, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I3223-001Under clear skies, bright sun, strong NW winds at 17MPH, gusting 23MPH, and temp around 18F, with wind chill at 3F, made a short visit to look for Peregrine Falcons at Boston University.  Located one falcon next to the entry to the nest box atop the 26 story Stu Vi II high rise student dorms.