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).

Lawrence Peregrines: adult male on upper ledge

August 28, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I4799-001Made a short visit to the Clock Tower with little to see upon arrival.  A few passing gulls and Double-crested Cormorants in flight over the Merrimack River.  Then a bolt of speed came in from the NW with a definitive flight pattern that could only belong to a peregrine.  Sure enough, the adult male arrived and with legs outstretched, landed on an upper ledge, above the west clock face, and in the shade.

Two Peregrine adults and one fledgling at Clock Tower

August 14, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I4114-001The 2017 hatch year fledglings made first flight almost 8 weeks ago.  Three of the fledglings have been seen regularly around the Clock Tower.  The first fledgling left and has not been seen since fledging.  At this stage of growth, parents provide two important things to the young falcons: predator protection as well as food supply.  Here, the adult female remains on guard for any predator threats.

 

 

_W7I4144-001The protection continues, but the food supply, as provided by the parents, begins to dwindle as they improve their ability to chase and capture prey.  The falcon experts suggest that most young peregrine falcons disperse on their own once they have become proficient at killing on their own.  This young peregrine may be the only one left around the natal site!

2017 Fledgling Peregrine Falcon

August 7, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I3938-001As the weeks move by, three of the four young peregrines that fledged this year continue to be seen around the Clock Tower and other nearby perch locations.  They remain somewhat dependent on parents for food and protection.  This was a late afternoon visit with one of the fledglings perched on the west side of the tower on an upper ledge just above the clock face.  No luck on being able to catch the leg bands for a positive ID!

Lawrence Peregrine Falcons: female ready to land!

April 10, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I4126-001Made a later afternoon visit to the west side of the Clock Tower and found the female in flight and landing mode a number of times around the NW corner of the below the clock face.  The skies were clear with bright late day sun, light winds front he SW, and temps just below 50F.  No doubt the female is stretching her wings after hours incubating 4 eggs!

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.

Lawrence Peregrines: around the Clock Tower!

March 21, 2017 in Near the Clock Tower, On the Clock Tower

_W7I6838-001The Lawrence Peregrines continue to be very active around the Clock Tower!  They perch in and near the nest box, make all kinds of aerial flight patterns, and continue with copulation activities.  Late this afternoon, discovered the female perched on a NW ledge just below the clock face, the male circling in flight, and then finally, the male landed on the outer edge of the next box.  He was good enough to provide a look at his alphanumeric leg bands for positive ID!

 

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Lawrence Peregrines: female landing on weathervane!

March 20, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I6600-001On a late afternoon visit under sunny and very clear skies, had a nice opportunity to watch the unbanded female in flight around the Clock Tower.  She finally made a smooth landing on one of the upper struts on the weathervane.  The male was perched nearby but no move to join her.

Lawrence Peregrines: close to home

March 13, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I3701-001It is that time of year and love is in the air with the peregrine falcons!  The Lawrence Peregrines remain near the nest box and one of the them is proximate at all times.  Made a quick visit to the Clock Tower and was happy to watch the female perched on a favorite corner.  This is a large just below the actual clock face and it is located on the NW corner of the Clock Tower.

Lawrence Peregrines: pair bonding

February 28, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I2622-001Both Lawrence Peregrines were observed just before dark on a cloudy afternoon.  They were both perched on a lower granite ledge beneath the clock face on the NW corner of the Clock Tower.  The smaller peregrine on the left is the male and the larger peregrine on the right with thicker barring is the female.

As a bit of background, peregrine falcons form monogamous pair bonds that often last throughout many breeding seasons. Both males and females have a strong attachment to previous nesting sites, which may explain monogamy over multiple breeding seasons, rather than attachment between individuals.

Males display at nest ledges and other nearby locations to attract females and advertise ownership to other falcons. The development, and renewal of a pair bond is indicated by the male and female roosting near each other. Eventually they sit at the nest ledge side by side. Individuals may also peep at each other, preen, nibble their mate’s toes, or “bill” (gently grab the other bird’s bill in their own). Both sexes may then engage in “ledge displays”, centered on, or near, the area of their nest, or scrape. Prior to egg-laying, the pair will engage in incredible aerial displays, involving power dives, tight cornering, high soaring, and body rolls during a dive. Once the pair has formed, or been renewed, they begin to hunt cooperatively and females begin to beg for food from the male!