Fledglings eating on ledge

July 3, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6334-001Made a stop by the Clock Tower on Tuesday morning at 8:45AM under bright sun and clear skies, winds from the W at 6MPH and temp at. 84F.  The female was perched on the nest box perch pole.  This strongly suggested that the fledglings were close by.  Sure enough, one of them, 27/BU was picking apart a morning meal on an upper story, west facing ledge, of the New Balance building, not far from the Merrimack Street entrance.  Another youngster was above a much higher ledge above the clock face.

 

 

_W7I6756-001The fledgling eating prey, was ripping it apart and not wasting a minute.  The other, slightly larger fledgling, 29/BU was content to just watch.  It may have eaten a bit earlier.  They then sat next to each other for a bit before the larger one took off in flight.  Observed all three fledglings, as well as both adults; very nice to see the young family all together!

Fledglings: on the wing!

June 27, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I3950-001Usually, each youngster may land and remain at a special resting/feeding area near the nest box.  At this location, it will receive food from the adults.  After a few days, the fledged young may be grouped together to be fed, by either parent.  At first this is typically a bill to bill transfer of pieces, but later will be given intact prey to rip apart and eat on their own. At this stage of growth, the fledglings often rest by lying prone on nearby ledges, especially on hot afternoons. When the young are at rest, they may be very well camouflaged.  It is possible to observe billing between siblings on ledges. There tends to be little bickering between youngsters over food.

_W7I3592-001Flutter gliding by the young is frequent at this stage and appears to be the same flight as used by adult females before egg laying.  Once the young are on the wing, the female Peregrine resumes hunting in earnest, and often joins the male again in cooperative hunts. This image shows the female taking off in pursuit of a nearby gull that flew too close to the Clock Tower!

Increasingly, the fledglings make short flights in pursuit of, or in search for the parents. which in a few days begin to adopt aerial foot-to-foot transfers of prey to their offspring.  The young love to chase each other as well as their parents, all in a very playful way!

On the wing: fledglings!

June 26, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I2596-001One of the great joys of monitoring a peregrine falcon nest, eggs, hatchlings, nestlings, and then fledglings; is the exciting moments around first days of flight.  Although they rest quite a bit, as they adjust to their new life outside the nest box, their flight patterns are a joy to behold.  Most of the flight patterns are a bit awkward, their takeoffs and landings, a bit uneven.  They love to zoom around in playful flight with adults and each other.

_W7I2614-001Flights grow stronger day by day over the first week.  Many times the youngsters will engage in mack combat drills with rolls and outstretched talons. The family usually remains close around the Clock Tower, roosting in many different locations. By now the nest box looks bare, with few remains left behind.

Day 40: #2 ready to fledge

June 22, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

After sunrise at 5:07, the peregrines started this morning off under fair skies, little wind and temp at 56F.  The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 76. East wind around 6 mph.

The two remaining chicks continue to move around inside the nest box, with time for loafing and resting, enjoying the morning shade, wing flapping, eating, and just getting ready for the moment of first flight.  The female continues to watch over the chicks, sometimes from the perch and other times from just a bit of a distance.

2018.0622.1 2Around 6PM tonight, checked back in and observed one chick in the nest box.  It seemed to look over and just below the nest box.  After a few minutes, a small movement was seen, and it turned out to be the other chick on the ledge right below the nest box.  Ir was moving back and forth, its head just visible, and then hopped up, and back into the nest box, and remained inside.

 

2018.0622.2 2Around 7PM, checked back again, and the ready to fledge chick was seen perched out on the perch pole.  It sat for a while, then hopped back inside the nest box for a while, and just after 7:20 Pm hopped back out onto the perch pole….so ready for first flight!!

 

 

2018.0622.3Many have asked, how do the chicks know when to fledge and make first flight?  What prompts the final push to launch out into the world forms he nest box? From what researchers have observed over the years, there is likely little particular action by the parent peregrines to induce their young to fly. The adults may reduce the food rations at this time, for the young are quite fat. Generally, the chicks fly when they are ready and moved by their own instinct. The first flight can be quite strong, but when it lands on a nearby perch, it may remain for many hours.  Food calls are exchanged, and the parent keeps close tabs from nearby. For a chick that has survived a fall from the nest, the adults will find, feed, and protect the chick until it is ready to fly away.

Literature cited:

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The Peregrine Falcon. 2nd ed. Carlton, England: T. and A. D. Poyser.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Peregrine Falcon fledgling: Verizon Tower!

August 7, 2017 in Verizon Cell Tower

_W7I3895-001While scanning for Peregrine Falcons from near the Clock Tower mid-morning, saw a perched bird on the Verizon Cell Tower on Hampshire Street and made way over for a better look.  It was cloudy and overcast, but was able to get nice looks at one of the fledglings. It had a color-coded leg band but was unable to make out the alphanumeric code.  The fledglings usually find their way over to the Cell Tower after fledging for visits from time to time!

Peregrine Falcons: Watertown

June 13, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I0116-001Made a visit to look at the Peregrine Falcons in Watertown.  It was just as a heat wave was subsiding and the late temp was moving down into the high 70’s.  One of the adults was seen on a ledge, on the SW corner of the building.  It was still panting from the heat and keeping it’s wings a bit spread and lifted up to keep cool.  Another adult was nearby and one chick, had fledged and was on a lower ledge beneath the nest box.

Peregrine Falcons: Boston University

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

_W7I9206-001At least 2 chicks were seen playing around and wing flapping atop one of the high rise towers at Boston University.  The 2 chicks were seen near the nest box with both adults perched nearby and keeping a close eye on the chicks!

Lawrence Peregrines: fledgling in the shade

July 26, 2016 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I7045-001In the hot and humid weather, the fledglings have taken to the shadier perch locations around the Clock Tower.  In the morning, under the blazing sun, they tend to favor ovations on the west side of the building.  On many days, it provides a cooler perch and on many days this side provides exposure to SW winds.

Lawrence Peregrine: fledgling perched on Verizon Cell Tower

July 18, 2016 in Verizon Cell Tower

Stopped by the Clock Tower late afternoon and scanned for peregrine falcons.  After scanning for over 15 minutes, finally made a sighting of a distant peregrine perched on the Verizon Cell Tower located about 1/2 mile away in NW direction.  After getting closer, was able to get good enough looks to determine it was on the of the 2016 hatch year fledglings!_W7I5144-001