Peregrine Falcon: Haverhill fledgling!

June 16, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

CF2C5979-001One of the fledglings was seen along this roof edge atop a 12 story building located at 170 Washington St. beside the Merrimack River.  The adult male (leg bands 72/AB) was perched nearby on the southeast corner of the roof top. Shortly after fledging, young falcons remain close to the local nest site and are frequently observed perching on nearby buildings. The youngsters beg for food from the adults, often loudly vocalizing. In addition, the chicks must develop and perfect their flying skills. For the first few weeks, when perching on a ledge, the young birds are often described as “dragging their wings,” “almost toppling over,” or “tilting.” Although they may appear in distress, these are all normal behaviors. Once they leave the Haverhill area, avian biologists are unsure where the young falcons go.


Peregrine Falcon: Haverhill male perched on rebar…

June 15, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

CF2C5298-001Under bright sunny skies, the male peregrine with leg bands (72/AB) was observed perched on the outstretched piece of rebar from the bridge.  in the morning the rebar remains in the shade until much later in the morning.  The peregrine was unfazed by nearby light pedestrian traffic this morning.  This side view provides an informative view of it’s bill and more specifically, the tomial tooth.

Found in falcons, kites, and accipiters, the TOMIAL TOOTH is  the outer, or cutting edge of  of the beak.  This “tooth”  is the protrusion that extends from the tomial edge of the beak and is thought to be used to deliver the killing blow to prey. The tomial tooth of the upper mandible is often matched by a mandibular notch, or divot, in the lower mandible. 

This tomial tooth system is important because not all raptors rely solely on their muscular feet and talons to dispatch their prey. Birds like falcons may grab their prey and then use the lever-powered beak to sever the spinal cord of the prey that they catch. They slide their beak over the neck of their prey and use the upper and lower mandible to sever the spinal column. This sounds cruel, but it’s quite efficient and puts the prey out of discomfort very quickly.

Peregrine Falcon: Haverhill fledgling!

June 10, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I0552-002One of the fledglings in Haverhill found a comfortable ledge on the bridge for loafing and snoozing.  This chick showed little concern for passing traffic and less frequent passing pedestrians.  The ledge, in the middle of the bridge on the west side, was just right for snoozing in the sun.  It would sit up for a bit and then lay back down. Mom was nearby perched on a branch in a tree on the south side of the Merrimack River.  A few remaining white down feathers are seen on the crown and sides of this young falcon.

Peregrine Falcon chick: Haverhill

June 8, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I0507-001Made a visit to check on the peregrine falcon chicks under the bridge in Haverhill.  Looks like one of the chicks has fledged, with three still to fledge.  The smallest remains on the nest ledge in the dark.  The other larger two chicks were seen at the east end of the bridge on a large catching some sun and loafing around.  This chick walked back and forth a few times and then settled again, and laid down in the sun!

Peregrine Falcon: in flight Haverhill

June 8, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I0429-002The female peregrine in Haverhill continues to keep a tight patrol around the fledglings and the still to fledge chicks under the bridge in Haverhill.  She makes regular aerial loops close to the bridge, sometimes due to pedestrian traffic, car horns, nearby construction equipment, or motor boats going under that section of the bridge!

Peregrine Falcon in flight: Haverhill

June 6, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I0167-001What a sight to watch the peregrines in flight around the Basiliere Bridge over the Merrimack River in Haverhill.  As the chicks have started to fledge, the female has made intermittent aerial loops around the bridge especially when nearby construction workers pass from one end of the bridge to the other!  More flight photos:

Click “next” in upper right corner to advance frames!

Peregrine Falcon chick: Haverhill

June 6, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

_W7I0066-001Just down the river in Haverhill, the other group of peregrine chicks are also ready to fledge.  This is a view front he bridge looking straight down on one of the chicks.  The last little bits of down feathers remain on the crown….so it is just about fledge time!

Peregrine Falcons: Haverhill – adult pair

June 3, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

CF2C2433-001For the most part, the female has been on watch near the nest as the chicks grow.  The male is always nearby but at times almost out of sight.  The pair sensed that some activity was going on near the nest and they perched together to better observe what was going on.  A treat to see both together on the twisted piece of rebar sticking out front he bridge on west side.  Note the smaller banded male and the larger unbanded female.

Peregrine Falcon chick – Haverhill

June 3, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

CF2C2566-001The staff at MassWildlife worked on coordinated plans with Mass DOT and local volunteers to arrange access to the 2016 Peregrine Falcon nest site in Haverhill for the purpose of banding this year’s chicks.  After arrival, concern was expressed in regard to the age of the young peregrines and the uncertainty in regard to making a safe approach.  The risk centered on making an attempt to capture the falcons without causing them to accidentally fall into the Merrimack River below the bridge nest site.  It was determined that the risk was greater than the benefit… no banding for this year.  Had a nice look at one of the chicks from a kayak below the nest site.  Looks to be almost 5 weeks old and almost ready to fledge!

More photos:

Click “next” upper right corner to advance frames!

Peregrine Falcon chicks: Haverhill!

May 25, 2016 in Peregrine Falcons Haverhill

CF2C1287-001Breaking bird news on May 21st from Steve Mirick in Haverhill: “very rewarding search today as we finally found the new location for the nest for the Peregrine Falcons in Haverhill. It’s been a bit frustrating since they moved to a totally different nest ledge. UNDERNEATH A LOCAL BRIDGE! We’ve been suspecting that they might be under a bridge, but when we FINALLY saw TWO birds this morning, we were convinced and decided to search hard. We patiently waited and moved all around to different angles to search underneath, as the adults moved around, occasionally disappearing from view under the bridge. But persistence finally paid off!

The nest ledge looks excellent for them. And there appears to be 4 chicks, but seeing them is VERY difficult. I imagine it will be easier as they grow bigger and they approach the edge of the bridge abutment. The nest is sandwiched in between some I-Beams on a shelf underneath the bridge, but can ONLY BE VIEWED WITH A SPOTTING SCOPE. Binoculars won’t work.”

Great work Steve and Jane!