Contact: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu
WHEN: Friday, June 8, 10 a.m.
WHAT: Wildlife officials will go out onto the roof of the tallest building in Lowell to get a falcon chick ready to leave the nest.
The chick is one of more than 25 that have hatched in a nest box atop UMass Lowell’s Fox Hall over the past decade, as part of the university’s effort to help restore the peregrine population. Once considered endangered, the federally protected birds remain a threatened species but are rebounding in the Commonwealth. UMass Lowell has “adopted” its falcons as River Hawks, the name of the university’s athletic teams.
Wildlife officials will retrieve the chick, assess its overall health and determine its gender before fitting the bird with an ID so it can track the falcon after it leaves the nest. Birds hatched at UMass Lowell have grown and flown to establish other nests in the Mill City and in Concord, Leominster and Newburyport, along with Nashua, N.H. Cape May, N.J. and Providence, R.I.
A pair of the majestic peregrines has called Fox Hall home since at least 2007 when they were discovered on the building’s roof by UMass Lowell employees. Working with the wildlife officials, the university then constructed the nest box to provide the birds with shelter from the elements – peregrines often lay their eggs out in the open – helping the falcons to thrive. The birds are monitored via a webcam at www.uml.edu/falcons, which allows the public to follow them. The birds’ story is often used by area schoolteachers to help educate children about wildlife.
WHERE: Fox Hall, UMass Lowell East Campus, 100 Pawtucket St., Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.