Lawrence Peregrines – female with bulging crop

December 7, 2017 in Verizon Cell Tower

_W7I1895-001A beautiful morning with clear skies, bright sun, west wind at 9MPH and temp just above 40F. Adult female peregrine falcon perched on the south side of the Verizon Cell Tower on 6th floor ledge enjoying the hot air exhaust vents and morning sunshine; note bulging crop!

Peregrine Falcon pair: Downtown Haverhill

December 4, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Haverhill, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I0581-001Pair of Peregrine Falcons on the weathervane at the Post Office in downtown Haverhill. This adult pair was first discovered by Steve and Jane Mirick.  They were not successful in breeding attempts in 2016.  The male is perched atop the weathervane with the female below to the left. 

They both departed in pursuit of prey and returned a short time late. They were observed under bright sun and clear skies with little wind and temps in low thirties.  This pair has not been sighted for the last few months, so this is a welcome sighting and a promising sign of continued pair bonding!

_W7I0900-001The male provided nice looks at his leg bands.  The alpha-numeric black over green left leg bands showed 72/AB.  According to Chris martin at NH Audubon, this was a 2012 hatch year chick, 1 of 2 banded at Brady-Sullivan Tower in Manchester NH on 5/10/2012.

Lawrence Peregrines: pair around Clock Tower

November 15, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I7433-001Both adult peregrines have been lounging around the Clock Tower in recent days.  This is very normal for this time of year, as it is important to maintain territorial defense around the nest box.  This morning the female was seen on an upper ledge on the west side of the Clock Tower.  This has been a regular morning perch location.  The male was found around the corner on a short protruding steel beam just below the roof line on the south side of the mill complex along Merrimack Street.  It is a prime spot to bask in the morning sun and out of the wind!

Lawrence Peregrines: Verizon Cell Tower!

November 10, 2017 in Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Verizon Cell Tower

_W7I6768-001As the late fall temperatures drop below 30 degrees, the Peregrines start to spend more time at the nearby Verizon Cell Tower near the corner of Hampshire and Canal Streets.  They tend to perch on the fifth and sixth floor ledges located on the south side of the building.  These ledges are next to hot air exhaust vents.  These vents provide excellent heat during the colder months.

Found both adults happily perched near one another on sixth floor ledges in late afternoon.

Lawrence Peregrines: around Clock Tower

November 9, 2017 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6692-001The Lawrence Peregrines continue to loaf and enjoy the cooler fall days around the extended Clock Tower area.  Located the adult male this morning on one of the triangular roof pediments.  The morning was filled with bright sun, cobalt blue skies, light wind from the SE, and temps just over 50F.  The male looked a bit bedraggled with feathers blowing in the wind.  The female was nearby on the wets side of Clock Tower on a ledge above the clock face.

 

 

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Lawrence Peregrines and Crows!

October 31, 2017 in In the Nest Box

_W7I6139-001Made a late afternoon visit to the west side of the New Balance building complex and staked out a viewing location in a nearby truck trailer depot.  This vantage point provided nice views of the entire west side of building complex and the Clock Tower.  At one point, the adult male peregrine chased of a bunch of crows streaming a bit too close to the territorial perimeter of peregrine country.

Each winter for the past many years, wintering American Crows have been gathering at sunset in large numbers.  They tend to stage in smaller numbers at numerous nearby locations, and then make their way to the final roost in silver maple and river birch trees along both side of the Merrimack River, mostly on the west side of the Duck Bridge.  It is a remarkable sight to watch!

_W7I6048-001Here is excerpt from well known ornithologist A.C. Bent:

During the summer crows associate only in pairs at their isolated breeding places, but in fall they exhibit a marked gregarious inclination, and birds from many miles of territory congregate in immense roosts comprising thousands, sometimes tens and even hundreds of thousands, of individuals. These roosts are not only made up of the birds breeding in the region but the flocks are augmented by birds that have migrated from nesting grounds located farther to the north. In New England there is a marked tendency for the crows to move from inland areas to roosts established near the coast. Food is the primary factor involved in this shift; whereas the feeding grounds in the interior become covered with snow and ice, the seacoast provides an uninterrupted food supply that is replenished with every flow of the tide. Even the severe winter weather does not drive the hardy members from the roosts established in the dense coniferous forests that fringe the coast. Most of the roosts in northern New England are comparatively small, however, and one must go farther to the southward before meeting with aggregations of unusual size.

Lawrence Peregrines: male 6/4

October 30, 2017 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower

_W7I5920-001Made a late afternoon pass by the Ayer Mill Clock Tower for a brief look at the peregrine falcons.  While scanning for the peregrines, noticed hundreds of American crows streaming into the area west of the New Balance building complex and preparing for their overnight winter roost.  In the midst of the crow chaos, noticed a single peregrine buzzing a few of the crows.  The peregrine landed on a number of lower than normal rooftop perch locations, perhaps to take a run at some of the crows.  As it perched atop the roof of B&D Advanced Warehousing Corp. building in fading sunlight.  As it moved around just a bit while perched, the bi-colored alpha-numeric leg bands were exposed.  It was the male with the black over green 6/4 left leg band!

Lawrence Peregrines: preening and rousing

October 3, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

Made a late afternoon visit to the Clock Tower under clear skies, bright late day sun, light winds from the SE, and temp at 64F.  The adult male had just returned to a ledge on the NW corner below the clock face.

_W7I9115-001One thing the peregrine falcon does a lot is preening. Many hours each day is spent on the care of feathers, beak, cere and feet. Sometimes it seems like pure vanity, but it is in fact a necessity. Without well preened feathers the peregrine could become soaking wet when it rains, become ill and die. Or feathers that are not well groomed will cause drag when flying. When preening birds run their beaks through their feathers or scratching their heads with a toe.

_W7I9106-001Rousing is the the action of a peregrine erecting its feathers and then shaking them; part of grooming; a sign of a relaxed and content bird. Peregrines typically rouse (shake) after preening; also rouse during flight, particularly after leaving perch (unless to initiate a pursuit).

Lawrence Peregrines: adult male on upper ledge

August 28, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I4799-001Made a short visit to the Clock Tower with little to see upon arrival.  A few passing gulls and Double-crested Cormorants in flight over the Merrimack River.  Then a bolt of speed came in from the NW with a definitive flight pattern that could only belong to a peregrine.  Sure enough, the adult male arrived and with legs outstretched, landed on an upper ledge, above the west clock face, and in the shade.

Two Peregrine adults and one fledgling at Clock Tower

August 14, 2017 in On the Clock Tower

_W7I4114-001The 2017 hatch year fledglings made first flight almost 8 weeks ago.  Three of the fledglings have been seen regularly around the Clock Tower.  The first fledgling left and has not been seen since fledging.  At this stage of growth, parents provide two important things to the young falcons: predator protection as well as food supply.  Here, the adult female remains on guard for any predator threats.

 

 

_W7I4144-001The protection continues, but the food supply, as provided by the parents, begins to dwindle as they improve their ability to chase and capture prey.  The falcon experts suggest that most young peregrine falcons disperse on their own once they have become proficient at killing on their own.  This young peregrine may be the only one left around the natal site!