Lawrence Peregrines: loafing around Clock Tower!

June 19, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6483-001Made a late afternoon visit to South Canal St. to observe the fledglings around the Clock Tower under overcast skies, light winds, and temp at 66F.  Had a chance to see all three peregrine chicks and both adult parents.  The cover photo shows two of chicks loafing on a ledge on a NW corner of the Clock Tower.  The adult female is on lookout on the ledge below and the adult male does a flyby to keep an eyes on the young ones. In this photo, the scene shows the young ones loafing, female below, and the male has just landed to the right.

 

 

_W7I6433-001One 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. Flights grow stronger day by day over the first week.  Many times the youngsters will engage in mock 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.

Lawrence Peregrines: on the wing!

June 18, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started off this morning under mostly cloudy skies, wind from NE at 5MPH and temp at 62F.  The forecast calls for a chance of showers, mainly after 9am. Cloudy, with a high near 73. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.  Tonight, isolated showers before 1am. Patchy fog after 5am. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 58. Light southeast wind. 

_W7I5920-001What a joy to watch these young Peregrines on the wing and in flight around the Clock Tower.  Made my way over to the Clock Tower last night just after 5:30PM.  While heading over the Duck Bridge, it was possible to see a number of Peregrines in flight while circling the Clock Tower.  From a big picture perspective, the young falcons will be seen in this general area for the next 6-8 weeks.  This has been the pattern every summer over the last number of years.  At times, it is a challenge to find them, but tend to they stay around and remain within a  3/4 mile radius. The cover photo shows 65/BV, the chick that had fledged first thing Monday morning. She is turning in flight around the west side of the Clock Tower!  This photo shows the ever vigilant mother keeping a close eye on her brood.

_W7I6305-001After searching a bit longer, was able to also locate and observe the young female, 66/BV.  She was wedged tightly into a granite ledge corner on the SW corner of the Clock Tower, well below the clock face.  The ledge, on the south side, was very narrow and made moving around very difficult.  She walked back and forth along the ledge a number of times with little room for error. She was kind enough to provide a clear view of her leg bands for positive identification!

Lawrence Peregrines: both females fledge!!

June 17, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started off this morning under patchy fog before 8am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 80. West wind 3 to 5 mph. The forecast calls for mostly cloudy, with a low around 61. Light south wind.  The remaining Peregrines are both females. 

2019.0617.1Female chicks tend to make first flight a number of days later that the young males.  Both females were seen lounging in the nest box as late as 8:45PM on Sunday night.  It looks like the female chick with the 65/BV leg band departed first thing this morning!  The second female had a nice meal dropped off by the adult female around 6:45AM.  She continued to exercise her wing muscles.  She moved all around the nest box, and hopped out onto the perch pole.  At times she moved to the outer length of the pole and just barely in sight of the web cam.  She finally launched into flight late morning!

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 43

June 16, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The remaining two Peregrines started off Father’s Day under overcast skies, light rain, and temp at 64F.  The day ahead calls for mostly cloudy skies with a few scattered showers around midday and into the afternoon. Still mild, but a bit cooler than Saturday with highs around 70!

2019.0616.1The two remaining chicks were seen in the nest box all day.  They are so ready to make first flight! One of the chicks hopped out onto the perch pole and was flapping vigorously, but not quite ready to launch into flight. The web cam will continue to operate, but little chance we will see any further action through the cam.  The chicks will be seen over the next many weeks in and around the area near the Clock Tower.  The chicks will be learning to fly while the parents continue to feed them. The young falcon, as it launches into the world, is a most handsome bird, and when the last vestiges of down are shed from the head, it has the regal appearance of the adult. The eyes have by now, taken on that extraordinary quality of lustrous vitality and intense watchfulness that even the best paintings cannot capture in its fullness.

Literature cited:

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

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 41/42

June 15, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The remaining two Peregrines started off the day under fair skies, bright sun, Sw wind at 5MPH, and temp at 59F. The day ahead calls for mostly sunny, with a high near 83. Southwest wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Tonight, a chance of showers, mainly after 3am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 62. Southwest wind 7 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. 

2019.0614.2Many 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.

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 40

June 13, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The two remaining Peregrines started off the day under overcast skies, light wind, and temp at 56F.  The forecast calls for rain, mainly after 9am. Patchy fog between 2pm and 3pm. High near 63. Light southeast wind becoming east 8 to 13 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Tonight, rain likely before 7pm, then a chance of showers, mainly between 7pm and 11pm. Patchy fog before midnight. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming southwest after midnight. 

2019.0613.2Now the first chick has fledged and the other two will follow shortly! Just after 6AM this morning, the female dropped off prey and the two chicks went into a scrum to attack the food.  The rumbled with each other over the food in a tug of war….quite a show. The remaining two continue vigorous wing flapping as they perch at the outer edge of nest box and look for their sibling nearby. First flight may happen at any time of day. The males will typically fledge first, and the females just a bit after, but not always the case.

Literature cited:

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

 

Fledgling in flight; adult female perched nearby!

August 7, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I8274-001Made a visit to the Clock Tower this afternoon under mostly cloudy skies, winds from SW at 10MPH, and temp at 94F.  Very little action around the area.  With binocs, made a scan and observed one young falcon atop the tall smokestack on opposite side of the Merrimack River by 250 Canal Street complex.  Then, made a closer look at the distant Verizon Cell Tower at the corner of Hampshire and Canal Streets.  The adult female was perched on the east side of the cell tower on a lower cross bar.  Her black/green leg band was barely visible.

_W7I8326-001One of the juveniles was perched up much higher on the north side of the Cell Tower.  Moved around to the west side of the Tower for a better look with just a bit more light.  The young falcon spread its wings and departed in a downward stoop in pursuit of something just out of sight and returned a few minutes later.  It then made many loops in flight around the tower and landed.

Clock Tower: fledgling off balance!

August 6, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower, On the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I7575-001Made a visit to the Clock Tower later this afternoon under clear skies, bright sun, wind from SW at 12MPH, and temp at 94F.  Both adults were seen perched and in flight around the Clock Tower.  One of the juveniles was perched for a while on the rood below the weathervane, and then launched into flight, circled a few times, and then landed on the nest box perch pole.

 

 

_W7I7564-002It was a bit challenged maintaining balance, and tuned around a few times.  Then, when ready to depart, it made a few awkward steps and lost its balance, falling into flight! Amusing to watch and a reminder that the youngsters are still learning their flight and safe landing lessons!

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!