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Third Bird Finally Identified!

Meet "Chris", Merri's New Mate

Photo of “Chris” captured by Imelda Joson on April 1. Photo by Imelda Joson
“Chris,” photographed on April 1.

04/08/2016

Despite the high winds and subfreezing temperatures at Fox Hall on Sunday afternoon (April 3), Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre were finally able to get close-up shots of the intruder male falcon’s leg band, which reads “38/BD.”

“This confirmed our partial visual sighting of the band on March 30 and 31,” notes Joson. “We could make out only the ‘38’ and the ‘D’ because the wind was constantly shaking our spotting scope.”

According to Tom French, Ph.D., assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, this falcon was banded on June 9, 2014, at the Christian Science Church administration building in Boston. “He moved at least as far south as New York City during his first winter,” he says.

The bird has three other siblings: one male (39/BD) and two females (65/BD and 66/BD). “The female, 65/BD, was killed at Boston’s Logan Airport on August 3, 2014,” says French.

French says previous sightings of Merri’s new mate after it fledged included a photo taken by birder Steven Sachs on November 28, 2015, at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, after the bird took a bath in a puddle in the parking lot.

This year’s nesting season will be the first for “Chris,” as Merri’s new mate has been nicknamed. “Based on our observations of his behavior since December, he is quite immature and inexperienced, but we hope Merri will be able to teach him how to hatch the eggs and raise the chicks,” says Joson.

It’s possible that Lance was the one who fertilized the eggs before he was driven off the nest site by Chris, but we’ll never know for sure (unless we do a paternity test!). Chris won’t know the difference so he will accept the clutch of eggs as his own.

Stay tuned for more updates and follow the Falcons on Twitter. Keep watching!

In this view of “Chris” shot by Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre on April 3, the bird’s left leg band is visible, which allowed Joson and Aguirre to report the intruder’s band number. Photo by Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre
In this view the bird’s left leg band is visible, which allowed Joson and Aguirre to report the intruder’s band number on April 3.
A close-up of the band showing the bird’s ID number. Photo by Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre
A close-up of the band showing the bird’s ID number. It is a bit blurry, as it was shot from very far away and magnified.