A very fortunate sighting for me as I am traveling around the region filming predators for several film projects – a stunning Peregrine Falcon perched on an electric pole while devouring prey.
The Peregrine Falcon is a tremendous conservation success story however, species recovery can produce tradeoffs and conflicts. Peregrine Falcons prey upon Least Tern and Piping Plover chicks. The Falcon’s behavior is a source of concern for shorebird monitors nationwide, but is it a major conservation concern? Not really, although occasionally, Peregrine Falcons are relocated away from shorebird nesting areas.
What I didn’t realize at the time of filming is that the falcon was wearing leg bands and in one of the still photos you can clearly see the code 07/CB. This tells the falcon’s amazing origins. Falcon 07/CB hatched in 2020 and was one of three male chicks banded at the Gillis Memorial Bridge in Newburyport. His siblings are 06/CB and 08/CB. What’s even more amazing is that his origins can be traced back several generations. Chris Martin, the Conservation Biologist for New Hampshire Audubon shares the following: The chick’s pop is 17/BD, who was banded as a chick in Manchester New Hampshire in 2013. His grandpop at Brady Sullivan in Manchester NH was black/green 6/7 who hatched in 2000 at Cathedral Ledge in Bartlett NH. And his grandmom was black/green 02/Z who hatched in 2005 in Worcester MA.
Super cool updated information from Andrew Vitz, our Massachusetts State Ornithologist, and Maureen Murray, Director Tufts Wildlife Center – In 2021, 07/CB crashed into a bird feeder in West Dennis. He was first brought to Wild Care (Eastham) for rehabilitation. 07/CB was given fluids and the wound on his beak was cleaned and bandaged. The following morning he was transferred to Tufts Wildlife Clinic. Maureen shares that 07/CB “had significant trauma to the beak and it took quite a while for the beak to grow back. This bird also had severe trauma to his pectoral muscle on one side. It’s really great to see him looking so healthy!” After recovery, 07/CB was released back to West Dennis by Dave Paulson (then with MassWildlife).
The photo is courtesy Mass DOT, from the falcon’s webcam nest. They are the three chicks from 2020 of which 07/CB is one of the above. Over the years, a number of chicks have successfully fledged from the Gillis Memorial nest. You can read the full story below at one of the links provided .
From MassWildlife – “Before restoration efforts, the last active peregrine falcon nest in the Commonwealth was documented in 1955. Nesting failures were due mostly to the eggshell thinning effects of DDT and similar pesticides. The peregrine falcon was listed as endangered in 1969 under the federal Endangered Species Conservation Act and the use of DDT in the United States was banned in 1972. Peregrine falcon restoration became MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program first restoration project in 1984 and is its longest running project to date. The first successful nesting pair in Massachusetts occurred in 1987 on the Custom House Tower in Boston. The peregrine falcon was removed from the federal list of Endangered and Threatened Species in 1999. In Massachusetts, the peregrine falcon’s status under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) has improved over the decades. In late 2019, due to continued conservation efforts, the bird’s MESA status was improved from threatened to special concern.”