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 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

Lawrence Peregines: Day 34

June 7, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines began the day under fair skies, calm wind, and temp at 55F. The day ahead calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near 78. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon. Tonight, mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 56. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

2019.0607.2Approaching five weeks of age, the chicks are within a few days of being able to take flight for the first time, and the remaining down feathers are usually largely restricted to the lower back, lower legs, and crown. Later in the afternoon, the chicks were just hanging out, walking around, and looking out, with some intermittent wing flapping.  It is consistently the rule for male Peregrines, in common with most other raptors, to do the bulk of the hunting while the young are in the nest, as well as during the egg stage.  The contribution to the hunting by the female varies quite a bit, but is usually small, and she spends most of her time near the nest, ready to protect her little ones against predators. At about 3 weeks old the female may do more hunting, and the male amy bring food items directly to the chicks.

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 33 – Pantaloons!

June 6, 2019 in Near the Clock Tower

The Peregrines started the day off under overcast skies, fog and mist, wind conditions calm, and temp at 59F. The day ahead calls for showers and thunderstorms likely before 11am, then a slight chance of showers after 3pm. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 75. Calm wind becoming north 5 to 7 mph in the morning.  Tonight, mostly clear, with a low around 55. Light and variable wind.

2019.0606.1Day 33 – ‘the age of the white pantaloons’.  This may happen a day or two earlier or later, but most chicks do go through this phase where they have large fluffs of down conspicuously surrounding their legs, much more prominently than anywhere else on their bodies. It is consistently the rule for male Peregrines, in common with most other raptors, to do the bulk of the hunting while the young are in the nest, as well as during the egg stage.  The contribution to the hunting by the female varies quite a bit, but is usually small, and she spends most of her time near the nest, ready to protect her little ones against predators. At about 3 weeks old the female may do more hunting, and the male amy bring food items directly to the chicks.

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