Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – fledgling and juvenile Cooper’s Hawk

July 19, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I5468-001The fledgling bolted from its high elevation rocky perch after the encounter with the Great Egret.  It flew at high speed and then landed on one of the nearby utility wires.  It struggled a bit to maintain balance.  The peregrine fledgling had discovered a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk in a tree.  Young peregrines may protest loudly  with the “cacking” type of vocalization.  According to peregrine fledgling expert, Steve Sherrod, young peregrines appear to have a genetically programmed or instinctive recognition of other birds of prey as potential threats.  Through their own experimenting and encounters, the fledglings learn which predators to avoid, which to attack, and which to ignore.  They vocalized at each other and then both flew off!

3 photos posted:

Click “next” in upper right corner to advance frames….

Peregrine Falcon fledgling in pursuit of Great Egret!

July 19, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I5227-001Under bright sunny skies, stopped by to observe the peregrine falcon fledgling in Woburn early this morning.  The fledgling was perched on one of the highest ledges.  It then flew 30 feet away to another ledge perch.  A few minutes later it lifted off and shot forward like a rocket.  It had spotted a potential target and it took off in a straight line with hard, fast wingbeats.  It approached a group of three passing Great Egrets from behind and slightly lower.  This placed the falcon in the blind spot of the Egrets.  The Egrets proceeded to make evasive moves and the fledgling made repeated stoops and dives along with a few grasping attempts.  The fledgling then circled at a wider perimeter and then returned in a direct face-off with one of the Great Egrets.  The Egret can be seen sending out a vocal protest.  The fledgling gave up and returned to an elevated rocky perch!

3 photos posted:

Click “next” n upper right to advance frames!

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – perched

July 18, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I5065-001Another beautiful sunny morning!  Made a brief stop to observe the peregrine fledgling in Woburn.  It was perched high up at the top of the quarry at an elevation of over 180 feet.  According to noted peregrine falcon author and expert, Steve Sherrod, young peregrine fledglings still spend a large portion of their time perched on surrounding rocks and other nearby locations.  This morning the fledgling was perched upright, overlooking the area below, with both feet down.  This is the normal perched posture that a relaxed falcon assumes.

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – eating prey

July 13, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I4303-001Had a nice visit to observe the young fledgling this morning.  It was perched high up near the top of the cliff at an elevation of approximately 180 feet.  According to Steve Sherrod, fledgling peregrines assume a range of different postures when eating.  In this case, the fledgling was squatting on a flat ledge and eating prey that had been dropped by the female a short time earlier.  The fledgling was barely visible from below!

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn fledgling vocalizing

July 12, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I4146-001Shortly after fledging, the young falcons remain close to the nest and are frequently observed perching on nearby rocky outcroppings. Young falcons beg for food from the adults, often loudly vocalizing. The parents will keep track of the fledglings through vocalizations and continue to bring them food wherever they end up – baby birds are excellent at begging and yelling for food, according to Chris Martin at NH Audubon. Peregrine fledglings will continue to have food delivered by their parents for up to a month after they initially leave the nest and grow strong enough to explore the nearby skies alone.

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn fledgling in flight!

July 11, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I3692-001Always a beautiful sight to see a young peregrine fledgling in flight around the natal area.  The development of flight in young falcons signals the onset of a totally new stage in life and new behavior.  Peregrine Falcon fledgling research by Steve Sherrod has shown that for several weeks after leaving the nest, the young falcons concentrate their activities around the nest cliff.

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – chick fledged!

July 7, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I3203-001The Peregrine Falcon in Woburn fledged right on schedule Wednesday afternoon.  This morning provided a wonderful opportunity to observe the fledgling stumble and hop among the rocky outcroppings around the corner from the nest ledge.

In response to many emails with questions in regard to the initial fledgling stage, here is excerpt from Cornell’s Birds of North America:

Within 10 d of first flight, young pursue adults to solicit food. Flight progresses from Butterfly-Flight (1–2 d after first flight) to Flutter-Glide (3–9 d) to Powered Flight (15–25 d). Butterfly-Flight appears to be weaker form of Flutter-Glide associated with in-complete development of flight feathers and pectoral muscles. Pursuits gradually become more sustained and range farther from nest cliff. Adult pursuit is accompanied by Begging vocalization. During first 2 wk of flight, young birds’ pursuit of parents takes precedence over most other activities.

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – ready to fledge

July 6, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I2889-001The peregrine falcon chick is constantly flapping its wings and hopping all around the nest ledge in preparation for fledging, or first flight.  The chick is restless and so ready to explore the world in flight!

Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – female with prey

July 6, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I2696-001Met up with John Harrison this morning under bright sun and blue skies to observe the Peregrine Falcons in Woburn. The female had captured prey and rested upon a utility pole on other side of parking lot. She rested but did not eat prey in her talons. She then moved off to a rock outcropping nearby, but, out of view of the chick. The chick flapped quite a bit and then laid down out of sight in nest ledge. The male flew a few loops and then perched to west of nest ledge at roughly same level.

For those with an interest, 4 photos posted:
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Peregrine Falcon: Woburn – chick approaching 40 days old!

July 3, 2016 in Peregrine Falcon Woburn

_W7I2443-001Had a nice visit to observe the peregrine falcons this morning. Upon arrival, met with John Harrison, Ram Subramanian, and Chris Ciccone. Chris provided an excellent history of the past six years, from finding the original pair to all the changes.

The peregrine falcon chick looks to now be approaching 40 days old and is preparing to fledge. The chick is spending much of the time flapping its wings. It is strengthening flight muscles and loosening the the few remaining down feathers. Most of the down, but for a few tufts on the breast and top of the head, has now given way to regular plumage.

Typically at this point in the growth curve, having discovered their wings can grasp the air, they engage in endless bouts of wing-flapping and eventually, often accidentally in a strong wind, discover that they can actually lift up and take off!  This chick is very close to fledging, or making first flight…..perhaps in the next few days or later in the week.

For those with an interest, 4 wing flapping photos posted:
Click “next” in upper right corner to advance frames.