Edwin L. Aguirre
A pair of peregrine falcons nesting on the roof of the 18-story Fox Hall on the East Campus successfully hatched two chicks this spring.
On June 2, a team from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (DFW) checked the status of the chicks and put identification bands around their legs. As usual, the chicks’ protective parents took turns swooping down and attacking the team as they retrieved the youngsters from the nest box. Watch a video of the tagging.
“The parents originally had four eggs,” said state biologist Thomas French of the DFW field headquarters in Westboro. “One disappeared fairly early on and one was still in the nest when we banded the chicks at about three weeks old.”
French determined the brood to consist of two females. He said they will shed their down and be ready to fledge (take flight and leave the nest) by early July.
Peregrine falcons (scientific name Falco peregrinus) are the fastest birds on Earth, capable of diving from great heights at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. These raptors tend to nest on rocky cliffs as well as on tall buildings and structures in heavily urbanized areas.
The Commonwealth considers peregrine falcons as “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 had wiped out the falcon population in the eastern United States.
You can read an earlier eNews story about the Fox Hall falcons at www.uml.edu/Media/eNews/Falcon_chicks.html. You can also monitor them and their nest box via two webcams - one installed on the roof and the other placed inside the box. Go to www.uml.edu/webcam.