Peregrines: both adults

August 28, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower

_W7I9324-001Made a stop by the Clock Tower just before 10AM, under clear skies, bright sun, winds from the west at 8MPH, and temp at 86F, to look for any peregrine activity.  The adult male was observed on the south side of the New Balance building along Merrimack Street.  Initially, the male was perched along the roof line, and then it flew around to a number of perches and then flew around towards the nest box.

 

 

_W7I9532-001The female was spotted along the the same south side roof line.  She was very bust consuming a snack and feathers were flying all around.  Had a nice view as she was finishing off the pink legs of her fresh catch.  Nice to see both adults in close proximity!

Lawrence Peregrines: one juvenile and two adults!

August 27, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, On the Clock Tower

_W7I9090-001What a nice surprise to see one of the 2018 hatch year fledglings around the Clock Tower late this afternoon.  It was another steamy hot day with clear skies, light winds, and temp well over 90F.  Just happened to catch a glimpse of a peregrine and upon a close look, it was one of the this year’s youngsters perched on the west side pole of the weathervane.  The left leg band was visible but just out of reach for a positive identification.  One the adults was seen on the SE corner of the lower roof, and the other was perched high atop the Verizon Cell Tower over the Merrimack River!

Fledgling in flight; adult female perched nearby!

August 7, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I8274-001Made a visit to the Clock Tower this afternoon under mostly cloudy skies, winds from SW at 10MPH, and temp at 94F.  Very little action around the area.  With binocs, made a scan and observed one young falcon atop the tall smokestack on opposite side of the Merrimack River by 250 Canal Street complex.  Then, made a closer look at the distant Verizon Cell Tower at the corner of Hampshire and Canal Streets.  The adult female was perched on the east side of the cell tower on a lower cross bar.  Her black/green leg band was barely visible.

_W7I8326-001One of the juveniles was perched up much higher on the north side of the Cell Tower.  Moved around to the west side of the Tower for a better look with just a bit more light.  The young falcon spread its wings and departed in a downward stoop in pursuit of something just out of sight and returned a few minutes later.  It then made many loops in flight around the tower and landed.

Clock Tower: fledgling off balance!

August 6, 2018 in lawrence peregrines, Near the Clock Tower, On the Clock Tower, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

_W7I7575-001Made a visit to the Clock Tower later this afternoon under clear skies, bright sun, wind from SW at 12MPH, and temp at 94F.  Both adults were seen perched and in flight around the Clock Tower.  One of the juveniles was perched for a while on the rood below the weathervane, and then launched into flight, circled a few times, and then landed on the nest box perch pole.

 

 

_W7I7564-002It was a bit challenged maintaining balance, and tuned around a few times.  Then, when ready to depart, it made a few awkward steps and lost its balance, falling into flight! Amusing to watch and a reminder that the youngsters are still learning their flight and safe landing lessons!

Fledglings eating on ledge

July 3, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I6334-001Made a stop by the Clock Tower on Tuesday morning at 8:45AM under bright sun and clear skies, winds from the W at 6MPH and temp at. 84F.  The female was perched on the nest box perch pole.  This strongly suggested that the fledglings were close by.  Sure enough, one of them, 27/BU was picking apart a morning meal on an upper story, west facing ledge, of the New Balance building, not far from the Merrimack Street entrance.  Another youngster was above a much higher ledge above the clock face.

 

 

_W7I6756-001The fledgling eating prey, was ripping it apart and not wasting a minute.  The other, slightly larger fledgling, 29/BU was content to just watch.  It may have eaten a bit earlier.  They then sat next to each other for a bit before the larger one took off in flight.  Observed all three fledglings, as well as both adults; very nice to see the young family all together!

Fledglings: on the wing!

June 27, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I3950-001Usually, each youngster may land and remain at a special resting/feeding area near the nest box.  At this location, it will receive food from the adults.  After a few days, the fledged young may be grouped together to be fed, by either parent.  At first this is typically a bill to bill transfer of pieces, but later will be given intact prey to rip apart and eat on their own. At this stage of growth, the fledglings often rest by lying prone on nearby ledges, especially on hot afternoons. When the young are at rest, they may be very well camouflaged.  It is possible to observe billing between siblings on ledges. There tends to be little bickering between youngsters over food.

_W7I3592-001Flutter gliding by the young is frequent at this stage and appears to be the same flight as used by adult females before egg laying.  Once the young are on the wing, the female Peregrine resumes hunting in earnest, and often joins the male again in cooperative hunts. This image shows the female taking off in pursuit of a nearby gull that flew too close to the Clock Tower!

Increasingly, the fledglings make short flights in pursuit of, or in search for the parents. which in a few days begin to adopt aerial foot-to-foot transfers of prey to their offspring.  The young love to chase each other as well as their parents, all in a very playful way!

On the wing: fledglings!

June 26, 2018 in Near the Clock Tower

_W7I2596-001One 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.

_W7I2614-001Flights grow stronger day by day over the first week.  Many times the youngsters will engage in mack 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.

Day 42: 3 nestlings fledged and gone!

June 24, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

2018.0623-001The 3 peregrine chicks have all now fledged! Now all we see is an empty nest box.  The youngsters rarely if ever return to the nest box once they have fledged.  From time to time, the female will perch on the nest box perch pole, if it provides her with a good vantage point to watch the fledglings.  The action now is all around the Clock Tower.  The nest box will mostly remain empty until the middle of next March when preparations will hopefully once again get underway for the breeding season!

Day 41: last ones fledged!!

June 23, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

Sunrise this morning was at 5:07AM.  The remaining two peregrines started the day off under overcast skies, very light winds from the east and temp at 62F.  The day ahead calls for overcast skies with possibility of light rain, NE winds up to 10 – 12 MPH, and temps hitting 67F by late morning, and cooling off in the afternoon.

2018.0623.1 2Today is looking to be a big day with number two having fledged early this morning and the last one likely to go off today.  The remaining chick was seen in the nest box as late as 11AM and by 2:35PM, the nest box was empty with the last chick now fledged and out of the nest box.  The web cam will continue to operate, but little chance we will see any further action through the cam.  the chicks will many the next many weeks in and around the area around 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.

Day 40: #2 ready to fledge

June 22, 2018 in In the Nest Box, lawrence peregrines, Peregrine Falcons Eastern Massachusetts, Peregrine Falcons Massachusetts

After sunrise at 5:07, the peregrines started this morning off under fair skies, little wind and temp at 56F.  The day ahead calls for sunny skies, with a high near 76. East wind around 6 mph.

The two remaining chicks continue to move around inside the nest box, with time for loafing and resting, enjoying the morning shade, wing flapping, eating, and just getting ready for the moment of first flight.  The female continues to watch over the chicks, sometimes from the perch and other times from just a bit of a distance.

2018.0622.1 2Around 6PM tonight, checked back in and observed one chick in the nest box.  It seemed to look over and just below the nest box.  After a few minutes, a small movement was seen, and it turned out to be the other chick on the ledge right below the nest box.  Ir was moving back and forth, its head just visible, and then hopped up, and back into the nest box, and remained inside.

 

2018.0622.2 2Around 7PM, checked back again, and the ready to fledge chick was seen perched out on the perch pole.  It sat for a while, then hopped back inside the nest box for a while, and just after 7:20 Pm hopped back out onto the perch pole….so ready for first flight!!

 

 

2018.0622.3Many have asked, how do the chicks know when to fledge and make first flight?  What prompts the final push to launch out into the world forms he nest box? From what researchers have observed over the years, there is likely little particular action by the parent peregrines to induce their young to fly. The adults may reduce the food rations at this time, for the young are quite fat. Generally, the chicks fly when they are ready and moved by their own instinct. The first flight can be quite strong, but when it lands on a nearby perch, it may remain for many hours.  Food calls are exchanged, and the parent keeps close tabs from nearby. For a chick that has survived a fall from the nest, the adults will find, feed, and protect the chick until it is ready to fly away.

Literature cited:

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