By Rebecca Fiore
Four newborn peregrine falcons joined the nesting box atop an 18-story building at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife banded the 3-week-old chicks and determined there were two females and two males on Tuesday, the university said.
The family of falcons lives in the nest on top of Fox Hall, the tallest building at the school. Peregrines are considered endangered in the state, officials said.
The newborns’ parents are named Merri and Lance — the male from Lawrence who “successfully wooed Merri and relocated to Lowell earlier this year,” UMass officials said.
Merri’s first partner, Mack, died in June of last year. Since falcons mate for life, wildlife experts said they were uncertain whether Merri would accept a new mate.
Merri and Mack were “adopted” in April 2014 as honorary River Hawks — the school mascot — and were named after the Merrimack River.
The two birds had been nesting at Fox Hall since 2007, UMass officials said. The university and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife built a nest for them and installed a Web camera to watch the falcons in their urban habitat.
Since 2008, according to officials, 20 peregrine chicks have hatched.