Peregrine Falcon pair: Haverhill, MA

February 13, 2018 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Haverhill, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I7691-001Made a pass through downtown Haverhill and found both adult falcons atop the apartment building at 170 Washington St. They were perched facing east and into the morning sun. After 12 minutes they both departed, a few minutes apart, for another regular perch, atop the Post Office and the Bank of America building to the east.  To the right is the unbanded female.

The male falcon  ‘black/green 72/AB’ – color-banded in NH in May 2012, and now approaching  6 years old.

This wild-hatched male was one of two chicks fledged from the falcon nesting box located at the Brady-Sullivan Tower in Manchester. Christian Martin banded him as a 25-day old chick, along with his 21-day old sibling, who later died after falling into an uncapped chimney at the nearby National Guard Armory, and was trapped out of sight in a basement boiler room.

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Black/green 72/AB has been present in Haverhill since at least December 2014, when he was spotted and identified by local resident, and well-known NH birders, Steve & Jane Mirick.

Lawrence Peregrines: pair bonding underway!

February 12, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I7077-001Made a morning run by the Clock Tower in search of the Lawrence Peregrines. Mostly cloudy, wind from NW at 9MPH, and temp around 42F.

The female was perched on the short but prominent steel beam on south side of Merrimack Street near intersection with Union Street. This is a very regular perch location in the morning, as the weather warms up.

 _W7I7129-001She was midway through a morning snack, when the male zoomed in and snatched the goodies….pair bonding underway!

Peregrines chasing Ravens: Woburn

February 7, 2018 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I6848-001The peregrines reacted to calls and activity of nearby Raven pair; the female made a number of flight loops out and around area of Ravens and back to a ledge perch each time. No direct approach towards the Ravens, but a gentle and firm message of territorial warning!

According to Tom Cade’s proposed model, with nesting cliff as center: there are a series of threshold perimeters surround eyrie with decreasing defense as distance from eyrie increases. Inner perimeter may be only 200 m; within that, attacks always occur. In outer perimeter, attacks only occur over food or favored perches.

_W7I6947-001The peregrines may be seen making flight patrols of area around nesting cliff.  This may take place when adults fly along cliff face or top to a given distance, turn, and repeat course, frequently in seemingly relaxed, but intentional flight. Often intruders, including Ravens, Red-tailed Hawks, and others are stooped at, sometimes jointly by pair, and loud, assertive cack calls are given.  The message of territorial boundaries is being conveyed loud and clear!

Literature cited:

White, Clayton M., Nancy J. Clum, Tom J. Cade and W. Grainger Hunt. 2002. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.660

Female Peregrine feeding: Woburn

January 29, 2018 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I6174-001Made a morning to visit to Woburn Peregrines and found the female ripping apart freshly caught prey atop utility pole just to the right of the Herley NE building.

Here is a recap on  peregrines and typical eating after the capture process from Birds of North America Online:

After biting into neck, falcon carries will typically carry prey to habitual plucking perch (tree snag, cliff side, utility pole, building) for consumption, or to cache site. Prey too heavy to carry in flight are partially consumed on ground; remains may later be carried to eyrie or plucking perch, or left in place for later return. 

_W7I6104-001The peregrine begins eating by tearing off head; usually consumed if small, picked apart and eaten or discarded if large. Continues by pulling apart and eating skin and flesh of neck (also bones of small prey), working down to breast. Depluming of breast precedes tearing into pectoral muscles, which are usually totally consumed. Viscera may or may not be eaten; often gut is pulled out and discarded, but remaining organs, especially heart and liver, usually eaten. Legs of large prey may or may not be picked clean.

Appears to use tomial teeth to break long bones of wings and legs of smaller prey before swallowing. Large prey too heavy to carry back to eyrie are well plucked wing and tail feathers removed, head removed, eviscerated, and sometimes posterior half of carcass detached from breast, before latter carried back to eyrie to feed young.

Literature cited:

White, Clayton M., Nancy J. Clum, Tom J. Cade and W. Grainger Hunt. 2002. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.660

Peregrine Falcon pair: Boston University

December 7, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I1630-002Made a short visit to Boston University this morning to look for the resident pair of peregrine falcons.  This pair of adult peregrine falcons were seen basking in the glow of the rising sun on the east side of the building, high atop 26-story StuVi II at Boston University!  Due to the distance, no ability to observe leg bands for more detailed information.

 

 

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Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – bulging crop

December 6, 2017 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I1470-001Made a short visit to search for the peregrines in Woburn under mostly cloudy skies, wind blowing from the west at 16MPH with gusts over 20MPH.  Observed the adult female falcon on a perch to the left of the nest ledge.  Great looks at the female with a very full crop. The crop is the name of the part of the falcon’s anatomy that serves as a storage area for food until it is passed to the stomach – often seen as a bulge in the upper part of the bird’s chest area when it is full.

Peregrine Falcon pair: Downtown Haverhill

December 4, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Haverhill, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I0581-001Pair of Peregrine Falcons on the weathervane at the Post Office in downtown Haverhill. This adult pair was first discovered by Steve and Jane Mirick.  They were not successful in breeding attempts in 2016.  The male is perched atop the weathervane with the female below to the left. 

They both departed in pursuit of prey and returned a short time late. They were observed under bright sun and clear skies with little wind and temps in low thirties.  This pair has not been sighted for the last few months, so this is a welcome sighting and a promising sign of continued pair bonding!

_W7I0900-001The male provided nice looks at his leg bands.  The alpha-numeric black over green left leg bands showed 72/AB.  According to Chris martin at NH Audubon, this was a 2012 hatch year chick, 1 of 2 banded at Brady-Sullivan Tower in Manchester NH on 5/10/2012.

Peregrine pair: Boston University Towers

October 19, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I1699-001Had a nice early morning visit to the Student Village high rise buildings on the Boston University campus this morning.  With clear skies and bright sun, had nice looks at the resident pair of peregrine falcons that make their home atop the 26-story StuVi II.  They were active around the tower and then settled in around the nest box.  The falcons maintain a variety of regular perch locations around the extended complex of nearby buildings.  Sightings of both peregrines are frequently made from a distance, at Magazine Beach in Cambridge on the opposite side of the Charles River.

CF2C2683-002According to Tom French at MassWildlife, the BU male has a left leg band with 12/BD black over green, banded as a chick in 2013 on the Newark Paper Company in a renovated mill building at 250 Canal Street, Lawrence.   On the left, is a file photo of this same bird as a hatch year fledgling, getting ready to make first flight.  The image was taken on June 4, 2013 from a rooftop in a complex of mill buildings in Lawrence, MA.

Peregrine Falcon: Albany St., Boston, MA

October 15, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I0923-001This female peregrine falcon was first observed while it was circling in flight over the access road off of SE Expressway while I was driving north.  With a little bit of extra time in the schedule, was thankfully able to divert and search the local area around Albany Street.  It was quite a treat to discover the perched falcon on a building security camera at the corner of the rooftop level! The seven story building is occupied National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) located at 620 Albany Street.  The peregrine was seen from outside the tight security fence surrounding the building.

It was a nice afternoon under partly sunny skies, Wind: SW 14MPH, 72F.

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This is the resident female from the Christian Science Church administration building at 177 Huntington Avenue. Captured at nest on 05-24-17 by Norm Smith with a hand net and banded as an “After Second Year” (ASY) female – 1947-35707, and 05/BV black over green leg band on the left leg.

Peregrine Falcons: Watertown

October 8, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

While heading home, had a nice opportunity to check on the Peregrine Falcons in Watertown.  This is a known nesting pair that have been in residence the last few years.  It was mostly sunny, with east winds  at 10MPH, and temp at 60F.

_W7I8759-001The adult male was seen on the front of the building in great light.  It was  stretching and preening.  Adults commonly stretch single leg or wing laterally; stand on one leg and stretch opposite leg back to side, simultaneously stretching wing from same side across extended leg. Peregrines also double-wing stretch (warble), bird bends forward and down raising both wings over back, sometimes fully extending wings at wrist; seen more in fledglings; may be followed by wing-flapping.

_W7I8953-001The larger female was seen nearby at a higher elevation near the nest box.  She then departed, made two aerial loops, and landed near the male at same elevation 8-10 feet away.  She proceeded to communicate with the male with head bowing and other movements.  In this display, her approach was entirely horizontal (head, body, and tail all in one plane) with a slight lowering of her head.  Her bill was pointed at the male and not towards the ledge. She paused to look at the male infrequently.  Fascinating to watch!