Lawrence Peregrines: male on brick smokestack

April 8, 2024 in lawrence peregrines

Mon. April 8, 2024 under clear skies, wind SW at 3MPH, and temp at 39F.

Had a nice visit looking to get an update on the local peregrines with breeding season getting in full swing! After a full tour around the Ayer Mill Clock Tower, moved on to scout out other nearby regular perch locations. From Merrimack Street just west of the clock tower, observed a peregrine chasing pigeons just west of the Mill240 complex. Tracked it in flight until it landed near the top of the brick smokestack by the Pacific Mills complex.  This male peregrine with alphanumeric black over green leg bands (78/AB), began to preen itself.

One thing the peregrine falcon does a lot is preening. Many hours are spent each day is spent on the care of feathers, beak, cere and feet. Without well preened feathers the peregrine could become soaking wet when it rains. Feathers that are not well groomed may cause drag when flying. When preening they also remove parasites from their feathers and skin. Preening birds run their beaks through their feathers or scratch their heads with an outstretched toe. Minutes later, the peregrine lifted off in flight!

We’ll continue to monitor the local area for any sightings of a female peregrine. We receive lots of emails from peregrine watchers that follow the webcam. A fellow peregrine saw the resident male in the box with a juvenile plumaged female on Tuesday! This was the first time in months that there has been any activity inside the nest box. The banded male flew in first, followed by the young female. There was lots of vocalizing and bowing before he left.  She tried to make a scrape, then flew off.  Stay tuned for more!!

Lawrence Peregrines: week of May 15, 2023

May 24, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

May 15, 2023 under sunny and clear skies, wind from W at 10MPH with gusts, and temp at 72F. The female was seen just before 10AM perched near the top of the red brick Pacific Mills smokestack.

May 16, 2023 under mostly clear skies, wind SW at 13MPH, and temp at 64F. Finally we have a sighting of the male again, perched on a south facing rooftop, overlooking the Merrimack River, on a building that is part of the Pacific Mills complex.

Lawrence Peregrines: week of May 1, 2023

May 24, 2023 in Near the Clock Tower

May 2, 2023 under overcast skies, wind from E at 8MPH, and temp at 51F. The sightings of the Lawrence Peregrines have been less regular compared to eight weeks.  The first stop today was around the Pacific Mills red brick smoke stack. The young female was seen moving around the gear near the top. This photo shows her jumping and landing near by with wings full outstretched.

Ten minutes later, after moving over to the Clock Tower, discovered the banded male perched on the pole that extends out from the nest box. The plumage on the adult male is notably different than the young female, with dark gray coloration compared to the brownish tones on the female.

Lawrence Peregrines: week of April 24, 2023

April 30, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

April 24, 2023 under overcast skies, light rain, wind E at 5MPH, and temp at 52F. Made a late afternoon visit, started on the north side of the river, and scanned all of the usual perch locations. Found a falcon perched on the Clock Tower and moved closer for better looks. Turned out to be the young female. She was on one of the ledges at 10AM, diagonally above the clock face.

At sunset time, checked the web cam and found the male inside the nest box. He was in and out a number of times, but not joined by the young female.

April 25, 2023 under mostly cloudy skies, wind E 7MPH, temp at 56F. Stopped by the Clock Tower this afternoon and initially sighted the male Peregrine perched on a lower NW ledge. Minutes later the female arrived and landed on an upper ledge. The male then went into a series of swinging flight moves on the west side of the tower. Later he landed joined the female on the upper ledge, before departing in flight to the NW. At no time has there been any observed copulation activity between these two falcons.

April 27, 2023 under partly sunny skies, light winds and temp at 54F. While scouting around for the Peregrines, around 10:30AM, in the extended area around the Clock Tower, made a sighting on the north side of the Merrimack River. Both Peregrines were seen tucked into the gear near the top of the red brick smoke stack on the west side of the Pacific Mills complex. This has been a very regular perch location this year.  The female is in the upper right quadrant of the photo and the male more to lower left.

On Saturday morning while looking through the web cam, spotted the female perched on the pole outside of the nest box!

That’s it for this week….stay tuned!

Lawrence Peregrines: week of April 17, 2023

April 23, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

April 18, 2023 under mostly cloudy skies, very breezy with wind from SW at 22MPH, gusts to 31MPH, and temp at 55F. INitial stop along Merrimack Street looking NE towards Clock Tower and scanning all known perch locations. Discovered the two year old unbanded female in a ledge diagonally above the 2:00 setting on the large clock face. She was enjoying some type of snack provided by the banded male.

Minutes later she lifted up and off in flight heading westward and away from the Clock Tower.

At 3:21, after circling the tower in flight, the male came roaring in, circling the tower, and then landing and moving inside the nest box. The young female followed right after him and this image shows her arriving into the nestbox!

Quickly pulled out my cell phone and gained access to the nest box webcam to catch looks of the male and female tilting forward and head bowing towards each other, a normal routine in the courtship rituals between Peregrine Falcons. The male leg bands are clearly visible on his lower left leg. So the big question continues, what may happen next, and is the other female already incubating eggs nearby?

A bit later, the male and female regrouped on the upper ledge, diagonally above the 2:00PM clock face. The female continued to feed on prey left earlier by the male. They spent a few minutes on the ledge together before the male lifted off in flight. The mystery continues……

April 19, 2023 under overcast skies, wind W at 13MPH with gusts to 21MPH, and temp at 50F. After initial scouting on the north side of the Merrimack River, discovered the male perched atop the red brick Pacific Mills smokestack located at the north end of the Casey Bridge. After watching a few minutes, also observed the young female. A minute later, she lifted up and launched into flight towards the river.

She returned shortly and perched near the male. She started to lean forward and make loud begging type calls directed at the male. A short while later he took off in flight and headed towards the Clock Tower.

April 20, 2023 under clear skies, light winds, and temp at 59F. After a number of random online nest box checks during the day through the webcam, spotted activity with both the male and the young female. Yet again, the courtship rituals continue with the male performing classic head low bowing along with eechip vocalizations. The image below from the webcam shows these actions.

A short while later, had a chance for direct observations, and found both falcons perched together, in close proximity, on the south side of the red brick Pacific Mills smokestack. The male was perched in the bright sun and the young female back a bit and in the shadows from my vantage point. Still no sightings, nor any sign of activity for the adult female. No way of knowing if she is still around and quietly incubating eggs nearby. The mystery continues……

On Sunday afternoon, under overcast skies, light rian, wind E 10 MPH, and temp at 47F, while online during a plane ride home, made a quick check on the falcons and found both the male and young female in the nest box. They continued with pair bonding and courtship ritual activities. The male continues is in the back, leaning forward and bowing his head low.

That’s it for this week….stay tuned!

Lawrence Peregrines: week of April 10, 2023

April 16, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

April 10, 2023 around 5:30PM, under clear skies, wind S at 5MPH, and temp at 34F. Observations made from South Canal Street just west of the Clock Tower. At first the male was seen perched atop the weathervane on the landmark Ayer Mill Clock Tower. For these local Peregrines, this is one of the most frequently used perch locations with excellent 360 views.

Minutes later, a second Peregrine arrived and spent time with the male, also perching on the weathervane. The two then launched in flight making large flight circles. It appeared to possible be a second year female. A bit later, three Peregrines were seen in flight with the females going at in a number of aggressive flight moves, even locking talons and rolling upside down while descending in flight. It was very dramatic. From a distance, this image below, documents the interactions close to 6:20PM.

April 12, 2023 under clear skies, wind W at 13MPH with gusts to 21MPH, temp at 70F. Observations made from South Canal Street on the west side of the Clock Tower. The male was seen perched on NW corner railing above the clock face. It had to make many adjustments due to the strong wind gusts. It lifted off in flight and provided nice views of the leg bands.

The male circled the weathervane a number of times and was in soaring mode with little wing flapping needed to maintain altitude. In this image below it was just turning on the west side of the upper roof and enjoying the wind with no distractions in sight. Minutes later, the male soared off to the NW and slowly out of sight!

April 15, 2023 under clear skies, wind NE at 10MPH, and temp at 64F. Out looking for the Peregrines on a sunny Saturday afternoon. There are many regular perch locations around the Clock Tower, and sometimes, you have to check two or three times to make sure you don’t miss. After multiple scans all around the tower, discovered the new two year old female perched on the SE corner of the roof railing, well above the clock face. She was facing NW and offered side views showing a white eyebrow and much heavier and thicker chest streaking. This female continues to be fed and cared for by the resident male, so stay tuned to see where this goes!

See you next week!


Lawrence Peregrines: week of April 3, 2023

April 9, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

On Sunday, April 2, 2023 the Peregrines were no where to be seen around the nest box. The same was true for Monday, April 3, 2023. Increasingly likely that the female has redirected her egg laying to an alternate location, perhaps again, under the nearby Casey Bridge. But wait….on Tuesday, April 4, in the late afternoon, the female was observed on the SW corner roof of the New Balance building. She was enjoying a late afternoon snack under clear skies, wind E at 10MPH, and temp at 57F. In tis image she is cleaning her bill against the edge of the roof!

Minutes later she lifted off in  flight towards the west, looped around and landed on a ledge just below a corner of the clock face!

April 5, 2023 just before 7AM, under overcast skies, wind E 15, and temp at 44F. The male was seen yet again mulling around in the gravel lined nest box, working overtime to prepare the nest scrape, and to encourage his mate to lay her eggs in the nest box. In this image, captured from the NB web cam, he displays his pair of leg bands. On the left leg you’ll see the alphanumeric black 78/green AB, and the right leg the silver federal band. So far, we are still standing by to see what happens…..

April 5, 2023 around 5:30PM, under overcast skies, wind E 6MPH, and temp at 40F. While out scouting for the Peregrines, the male was initially seen perched on the SW corner of the roof atop the Mill240 building. He was facing east and into the wind, then took off in flight towards the Ayer Mill Clock Tower. Minutes later, the male was found again on the SW corner on one of the roof tops at the New Balance building.

For the rest of the week, no sightings of the Peregrines in the nest box through the web cam or from other sightings at street level….stay tuned!

Lawrence Peregrines: week of March 27, 2023

April 2, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

March 27, 2023 under clear skies, wind SE 5MPH, temp at 50F at 7:45PM. The female was seen moving around inside the nest box and perched on the outer rim of nest box. Continued good signs that the female may be hopefully settling in and getting ready to lay first egg!

March 29, 2023 at 7:03AM under clear skies, wind S at 5MPH, temp at 28F. Both Peregrines were seen moving in and out of nest box, with continued courtship rituals with head bowing along with eechip vocalizations. In this photo the smaller sized male is on the left and the female on the right.

March, 30, 2023 in late afternoon with male moving around inside the nest box showing off his leg bands!

Over the next three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Peregrines were not observed in the box. This prompted all kinds of questions about if the female may have returned to the Casey Bridge to lay her eggs for the 2023 spring season????

Lawrence Peregrines: week of March 20, 2023

March 26, 2023 in In the Nest Box, Near the Clock Tower

March 20, 2023 under clear skies, wind W at 13MPH, temp at 36F. After searching all around the Clock Tower, made way for the red brick Pacific Mills smokestack and located one of the Peregrines sunning and preening on the east side of the stack near the top. This was a common perch location last year when the nest ledge was under the Casey Bridge. Image just before 10AM.

Just a few minutes later while looking for the second falcon, made a possible sighting and then confirmed right away. The other falcon was perched up near the top of the Clock Tower, on the top of a north facing window frame in the shade, and just keeping an open eye. Image at 10:06AM. The falcons have not been in or near the nest box over the past week, so stay tuned!

March 21, 2023 at 10AM under overcast skies, wind SW at 5MPH, temp at 44F. After initial scouting around the Clock Tower, headed west on Merrimack Street and turned north onto the Casey Bridge. About halfway across the bridge, noticed the male Peregrine perched on one of the Pacific Mills rooftop edges facing south with a gaggle of Crows nearby. The male appears to have a full crop. Peregrines like many other birds, come equipped with an anatomical feature known as a “crop.”  It is essentially a widened pouch at the bottom of a Peregrine’s esophagus, just above the stomach.  Peregrines can store food in their crops and then, slowly transfer it to their stomachs as they digest. They will often display a noticeable swelling in their chests when their crops are full.  The male has a very full crop, strong evidence that it had just finished a meal!

Minutes later, discovered the unbanded female lounging on the SW rooftop corner of the Mill240 building. This has been a regular perch location this spring, and provides an excellent vantage point both up and down the Merrimack River. The river is a significant flyway for all kinds of local birds and ducks. She heard the active call from the male and launched into flight and landed on the red brick Pacific Mills smokestack.

March 22, 2023, just after 10AM, under clear skies, wind NE at 6MPH, and temp at 46F. Great news this morning while checking the New Balance web cam! Not one but both male and female Peregrines inside the nest box. The male had been finishing off a meal with the female out on the perch. The female came in and then the male was seen pushing gravel around in the bowl-shaped “scrape” area in the back left corner from the camera view. One or another of the pair can often be seen to lean forward, pushing with its talons, to use its breast to form the substrate into a bowl (scrape) where the eggs will be laid.  Scraping is part of courtship. The birds continue to work on the scrape in preparation for egg laying. Eggs should appear sometime toward the end of this month, or first week in April at the latest. Stay tuned!

March 23, 2023 under overcast skies, wind W 12MPH, and temp at 59F. Made a late afternoon visit to the Clock Tower and found both Peregrines on upper ledges.

Female in flight……

Male cleaning his bill on roof edge after food exchange

March 24, 2023 under mostly cloudy skies, wind W 8MPH, and temp at 44F. Webcam in the morning, male working on the scrape by laying his chest down and and using his legs to forward to deepen the scrape bowl.

March 26, 2023 at just after 6PM, under clear skies, strong W winds at 16MPH with gusts to 26MPH, and temp at 54F. The female continues to linger and spend time in the New Balance nest box.

Lawrence Peregrines: week of March 13, 2023

March 19, 2023 in lawrence peregrines

March 13, 2023 under overcast skies, winds E 7MPH, and temp at 38F. Just after 10:30AM, spotted a single falcon perched on a south side of a rooftop edge in the Pacific Mills building complex. Upon closer look, it was the male with a silver federal leg band on its right leg. It had likely finished a meal and was cleaning its bill afterwards.

March 14, 2023 under heavy overcast skies, heavy snow, wind NE 20MPH, and temp at 33 with wind chill at 22F. Searched the Clock Tower, nearby buildings, and other nearby rooftop areas, then on to the Verizon Tower just after 12 noon. In midst of heavy snow. discovered one of the falcons resting on one of the heat exchange ledges on south side of Verizon Tower.

March 15, 2023 under clear skies, wind at 13MPH with gusts to 28MPH, and temp at 40F. Both peregrines were seen on the south side of the Verizon Cell Tower. The male was warming himself while perched on one of the upper heat exhaust ledges. The female was close by and perched on a rooftop edge. The male turned himself a number of times as though standing in front of a fixed blower. This turning provided an opportunity for views of his left leg and revealing his sporty alphanumeric bicolored leg bands black over green “78/AB.” From Chris Martin at NH Audubon “really interesting that another Manchester NH fledgling has inherited the Lawrence MA territory after that long run of success (2003-2016) by black/green 6/4, although both of 78/AB’s parents in 2016 are different birds than were 6/4’s.” The second image shows the female in flight!

March 17, 2023 under light overcast skies, wind SE 8MPH, and temp at 47F. After scouting out all the normal perch locations for the falcon, discovered both of them, at noontime, atop the roof edges of the Mill240 building on the north side of the Merrimack River. They were just hanging out and loafing in close proximity to each other. This image shows the female perched on the SW corner of the roof.

The male was just kind enough to show off his  left leg with clear views of his alphanumeric black over green, bicolored “78/AB” leg bands!

See you next week!