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Falcons at UMass Lowell Take Chick under Their Wing

Baby Falcon Adopted from Lawrence

a grey baby falcon, looking in the distance
The peregrine falcon chick rests on the roof of Fox Hall.

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It was a happy story for the pair of peregrine falcons residing atop the 18-story Fox Hall on UML East. When Dr. Tom French and his team from the state’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife discovered in May that the couple’s four eggs had failed to hatch, they quickly transferred a four-week-old chick from another pair in Lawrence to the UMass Lowell nesting site.

“This year, the Lawrence falcons hatched two eggs, both males, but one was much smaller that the other,” says French. “Since the larger chick was very aggressive about getting all the food, its small sibling wasn’t growing well. I believe the latter wouldn’t survive to fledge. When we found that the Lowell pair had cracked all of their eggs but were still taking care of them, I knew that they would willingly adopt the smaller chick from Lawrence. This was his only good chance to survive.”

The adopted chick, now well fed, flew for the first time on June 17. “He took a trip across the river and stayed there for most of that day, but later returned to Fox Hall,” says French. “He’s doing great. We plan to make a few improvements to the nest box over the winter to insure that the Lowell couple would hatch their own eggs next year.”

Ed Smith of the University’s Facilities Department says there is a plan to move the nest box closer to the rooftop’s security camera. “We’re also going to install a second webcam, this one inside the box, sometime in August, when the peregrines move out for the season,” he says.

a brown baby falcon flying.
The baby falcon tests its wings in June.
The mother peregrine falcon keeps a watchful eye on the youngster.