Four Falcon Chicks Hatch Atop Fox Hall

Babies and Mom Are All Doing Well

The team from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife had to wear protective head gear and use long-handled nets to ward off the attacking parent falcons.

The team from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife had to wear protective head gear and use long-handled nets to ward off the attacking parent falcons.

06/10/2011
By Edwin L. Aguirre

There are some interesting new residents at Fox Hall these days. Four peregrine falcon chicks were successfully hatched by the falcon couple that have long lived on the roof of the 18-story building on the East Campus.
 
On June 3, a team from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (DFW) checked on the status of the 20-day-old chicks and put identification bands around their legs. As expected, the chicks’ protective parents took turns swooping down and attacking the team as they retrieved the youngsters from their gravel-filled wooden nest box.
 
According to Pat Huckery, manager of the DFW Northeast District in Ayer, the parents originally had five eggs, but one failed to hatch. Huckery determined the surviving brood to consist of three females and one male.
Fastest Birds Alive
 
Peregrine falcons (scientific name Falco peregrinus) are the world’s fastest birds, capable of diving from great heights at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. These majestic raptors tend to nest on rocky cliffs as well as on tall buildings and structures in heavily urbanized areas.
 
The Commonwealth considers peregrine falcons “endangered,” so it’s illegal to harass, hunt, capture or harm them in any way. The widespread use of pesticides, especially DDT, in the 1950s and ’60s nearly wiped out the falcon population in the Eastern United States. Thanks to strict regulations and conservation measures, the birds are making a comeback.
 
You can monitor them and their nest box via two webcams — one installed on the roof and the other placed inside the box.

To watch a video of last year’s tagging, go to UMass Lowell’s YouTube page.