Lawrence Peregrines: mock combat!

June 26, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6865-001The young Peregrines were out in full force this afternoon in and around the Verizon Cell Tower on Hampshire St.  This has been a regular location for the young Peregrines over the past few years after they have fledged.  One of the two females, the one with leg band, BV/66 was seen on the rooftop on the Verizon Tower while taking a short break.  These young Peregrines spend a lot of time in playful mock combat and then time to res

 

 

Observed one of the peregrine fledglings in aerial flight with large loops and infrequent diving stoops. Quite an exciting show from the young fledgling. To my surprise, another fledgling joined the fun and the real show got underway! For over 20 minutes, they proceeded to engage in an amazing demonstration of playful mock combat. Here is
an explanation of mock combat from Cornell’s Birds of North America:

_W7I7049-001Play occurs mainly in young. Immatures will pursue adults, siblings, prey, and attack inanimate objects.  Playful pursuit of siblings begins 2–3 d after first flight, mock combat between siblings begins 4–5 d after. Mock combat progresses from flying parallel and occasionally rolling to extend feet toward siblings, to making short darting dives and grappling in the air, to using air currents to make vertical stoops. Latter develops within 3 wk of flying. Play in falcons may be an expression of joie de vivre or it may simply represent the maturation of neuro-muscular coordination and central control mechanisms involved in agonistic behavior and pursuit and 
capture of prey.

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 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.

 

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 39 – male fledges…1st flight!

June 12, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started this morning off under fair skies, bright sun, calm wind conditions, and temp at 53F.  The forecast calls for sunny skies, with a high near 79. Light and variable wind becoming south around 6 mph in the afternoon. Tonight, partly cloudy, with a low around 52. South wind around 6 mph becoming calm after midnight.

2019.0612.3-001The first chick fledged some time last night of first thing this morning….right on schedule!  Checked in on the chicks just about 6:30PM through the New Balance Falcon Cam.  All three were observed inside the nest box. At 6;30 this morning, only two were left in the box! The first chick has launched into first flight and left the nest box. This cover photo shows the two remaining chicks and this photos shows the three of them together last night. The fledged chick was nowhere to be seen in and around the general area.  They do tend to stay very close at first!

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 38….ready for flight!

June 11, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started off the day under overcast skies with and fog, wind SE at 6MPH, and temp at 65F.  The forecast calls for showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 11am, then a chance of showers between 11am and 2pm. Patchy fog between 10am and 11am. High near 76. Southeast wind 5 to 13 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Tonight, mostly clear, with a low around 51. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

2019.0612.1Just before 6AM, the three chicks were observed hanging on the outer ledge of the nest box, gazing westward.  The preen a bit, jump around, bob and turn their heads, and continue with vigorous wing flapping.  Fledging, or first flight is close at hand, and they seem to know they are ready to launch into flight. Overall, the female chicks develop more slowly than males, and retained their lingering down just a bit longer.  Age at first flight varies from 5 to 6 weeks.  One researcher found an average of 40 days, with males usually flying before females. The normal range runs about roughly 38 -46 days based on some observations, with many peregrines in Eastern Mass. making first flight, on average, around 40 days. Stay tuned!

Literature cited:

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

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 37

June 10, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The hungry Peregrines started to today off under fair skies, wind from SW at 7MPH, and temp at 56F.  The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 79. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the morning. Tonight, showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 3am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Patchy fog after 2am. Low around 62. Southeast wind 7 to 9 mph. 

2019.0610.1-001Just before 6AM this morning, the chicks were perched on the outer edge of the nest box overlooking the parking lot below.  At 5:58AM the female arrived with food and the largest chick grabbed it and went to the far back left corner.  A bit later, there was a tug of war over the food.  Aside from food battles and feedings, they now spend their time wing flapping, and running around the nest box.  While resting they will now perch at the outer edge of nest box.  The last bits of down have still seen on their backs, but not much left. At day 37, aside from perhaps a tuft of down feathers also remaining on the crown, peregrine chicks are fully developed and ready to take flight.  Their next major change in appearance will be around one year of age, when they begin to molt and acquire their adult plumage as their feathers are replaced.

By now, the chicks are much more active and very restless, and they take advantage of whatever  space the nest box has to offer.  They will hold on for dear life as they flap wildly on the outer edge of the nest box.  They will face outward as well as straddle the edge of the box.  They are also estimating the distance to the nearby rooftop off to the right.  This rooftop offers them a proximate landing pad after initial launch!

Literature cited:

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

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html

Lawrence Peregrines: Day 35/36

June 8, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started off the day under fair skies, calm winds, and temp at 55F. The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 79. Northeast wind 3 to 7 mph. Tonight, clear, with a low around 52. Light southeast wind.

2019.0609.2Looking back, at 28 days, or 4 weeks old, the young falcons really began to show their juvenile plumage, and became much more active around the nest box. They started much more active wing flapping, which helps to shed the down.  At 35 days, or 5 weeks, they became well feathered and most of the down has been lost, though some adheres patchily to the young birds. The quill feathers are quite strongly developed, though the wings and tail are still short and rounded. At day 36, the chicks look almost like full-fledged juveniles.  They are spending much of their day flapping their wings, which both strengthens their flight muscles and shakes loose some of the few remaining down feathers.  In the midst of wing flapping frenzy, those remaining bits of down go airborne, along with all the feather remnants and other debris!

Literature cited:

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

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Peregrine Falcon Development – Age Guide; http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/info/ageguide.html