Lawrence Peregrines: banding day!

May 28, 2019 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

The Peregrines started off today under mostly cloudy skies, light NE winds, and temp at 53F.  The forecast calls for rain, mainly after 11am. High near 57. East wind 3 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. For tonight, rain before 7pm, then showers, mainly after 7pm. Patchy fog. Low around 48. Northeast wind around 7 mph. 

IMG_0796-001Made a brief check in just after 6AM this morning and the female was providing a morning meal to the growing chicks.  Today is banding day with staff from MassWildlife and a number of volunteers.  We met at the New Balance main entrance and proceeded up to the Clock Tower. Each year, peregrine falcons are fitted with metal leg bands to provide researchers with valuable data on peregrine survival rates, dispersal distances, and population growth rates. The species remains on the endangered species list at the state level, but with close to 50 mating pairs of adults statewide, there are more peregrine falcons in Massachusetts than ever before.

IMG_0803-001The leader of the annual falcon leg banding in Lawrence is Tom French, who serves as the assistant director of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MDFW) Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.  Tom, staff from Mass Wildlife, and a number of volunteers, banded three chicks in Lawrence. we had two females and one male. Here is the second female to be banded: 66/BV. The standard leg band for Peregrines is a silver metal band issued by the federal Bird Banding Lab. The band is inscribed with a unique 9 digit code that allows birds to be identified during future resights or captures. The photo on the left provides a look at the silver federal band on the right leg.

IMG_0809-001 A second bi-color band is fitted on the falcon’s opposite leg and includes a field-readable alpha-numeric code. In recent years, falcons in the Eastern US are banded with BLACK over GREEN (2000 – present). There are also several orientations and alphanumeric character arrangements on the bands. When reading a band, an observer should note the top character and its orientation (vertical or horizontal), the top background color, then note the bottom character code, orientation, and color. The photo at left shows the young male with new leg band: 53/BU.


Reference cited:

The Center for Conservation Biology, Report Falcon Sightings,