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!

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!



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!

Lawrence Peregrines: female at nestbox

February 23, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I2313-001As we move through February, we approach the start of courtship activities and the breeding season.  More often, the female will perch at the opening to the nest box or on the lateral wooden perch pole.  The female is more heavily spotted on the upper breast and becomes more heavily barred on the abdomen, flanks, thighs, and under the tail feathers.

During the start of the breeding season, the first indication of courtship activity is the perching/roosting of male and female at same perch locations. Eventually the pair perches/roosts side by side on the same ledge. During incubation, the male roosts in a prominent location away from scrape, often on or near the top of cliff. After brooding ceases, the female does not roost on nest ledge.

Lawrence Peregrines: female at sunset!

February 22, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I2302-001Standing securely at 267 feet tall, the Ayer Mill Clock Tower is the largest mill clock in the world, and a landmark for the Merrimack Valley. The tower itself was completed in 1910 as the crown jewel of the Ayer Mill, part of the American Woolen Company’s collection of mill buildings. The Ayer Mill operated for the next four decades, slowly shrinking in production as mill companies moved to Southern states with cheaper labor until it closed its doors in 1955.

With the collapse of the textile mills, it fell into disrepair. The bell had disappeared from the tower, the glass in the dials was broken, rain had destroyed the original beadboard ceiling at the bell level, pigeons were nesting from the cistern level to the top of the tower, and the original clock no longer functioned. Like the city of Lawrence surrounding it, the Ayer Mill Clock Tower was in decay.

The Greater Lawrence Community Foundation determined that the tower could be returned to its former grandeur, and proceed to raise funds for the restoration. Over $1 million was raised and put towards breathing life back into the symbol of Lawrence.

The Clock Tower has also been home for a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons.  The peregrines keep watch around the Tower as they prepare for another successful breeding season.  Here is a photo of the female peregrine perched on the SW corner of the roof overlooking the setting sun in the distance!

Lawrence Peregrines: female south side

January 17, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I3871-001A cold sunny morning with the female peregrine basking in the morning sun on the south side of the Ayer Mill Clock Tower.  She is perched on a ledge above and to the left of the south side clock face.  This is a very regular perch location in the morning during the colder months of the year!