© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved. falcons-armory17

Peregrine Falcons at the Cranston Street Armory

I’m often asked, “Do you know what has become of any of the Peregrine Falcon nestlings that have been banded in Providence?” – and now I can say “Yes, I do.”

For a few years I had heard rumors of Peregrine Falcons spotted at the Cranston Street Armory and I assumed it must be the pair that lives downtown, visiting the West Side of Providence for a meal. But this spring I received a few messages via my Facebook page about daily sightings of two falcons at the armory, so I went to check it out…

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

The first few times I visited, all I saw were pigeons — and plenty of them — nesting in empty spaces all over the building.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

But one day, amongst the pigeons, I finally spotted a falcon. It was a bizarre scene — like a fox living in a chicken coop. Below you can see a falcon on the left and 4 pigeons lined up on the right.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

One day the falcon was only about 4 stories from the ground so I was able to photograph its foot band ID numbers.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

I submitted the sighting to reportband.gov and learned that “25/AB” was a male hatched and banded in downtown Providence in 2010. And since I photographed the downtown banding in 2010, I had pictures of the nestlings — this could be “25/AB”:

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

Knowing that 60% of young falcons perish during their first year, it was great to see that “25/AB” made it to 4 years of age and was living just 1.5 miles from where he was hatched.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

On rare occasions I was able to photograph an active hunt — it’s interesting to note the falcon is not much larger than the pigeon.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

On various visits, I witnessed a falcon leap down into one of the castle-like spires. It was April, so I suspected they must be incubating eggs up there.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

I was extremely grateful to be granted a brief glimpse through a window to see what was happening… and amazingly, there was a falcon! (It took a moment to realize the object to the left is weather-proofing material that had fallen off the building.)

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

On the right you can see the fluffy head of one nestling – it was heartwarming to witness. I was unsure if this was the male or female and of how many eggs were being incubated.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

What a beauty!

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

Three weeks later I was allowed one more brief glimpse through the window and saw one adorable nestling peering back at me.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately I was never able to photograph the female’s ankle band to determine where she came from. She may not even be banded at all.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

By June I knew the nestling would be ready fledge from the nest and wondered if it would successfully leap to the roof, or tragically fall to the ground. After a few visits seeing nothing at all, I was relieved to locate the fledgling stretching its wings on the roof — he made it!

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

armory-tshirt
Lastly, I want to mention that the Cranston Street Armory has an uncertain future — it’s falling apart and needs immediate renovations. Without the necessary funds, the building may soon face demolition.

The armory is one of the amazing pieces of architecture that makes the West Side of Providence a special place.

The West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) is working to sustain funding for the armory. If you’d like to help, you can purchase this cool t-shirt from their website for just $20 — click here and select “Block Party T-shirt” from the Member Level drop-down menu.

I assume the artist meant for the two birds to represent pigeons, but for me they are the peregrine falcons.


8 Comments

  1. Kathleen Bartels
    Posted 07.14.14 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    What a great essay and photo documentation of the complete story. I know how many hours, days, weeks, and months this took. I’m still amazed at the one image of the peregrine and four pigeons side by each on the crenelations. (That is the architectural term for the jagged tops.) Thank you for sharing!

    • Peter Green
      Posted 07.14.14 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Kathleen, I appreciate it – and thanks for teaching me something new, I’ll remember “crenelations”.

  2. alice morgan
    Posted 07.14.14 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Excellent and engaging! Great photos and a wonderful narrative. Thanks for sharing this sequence.

  3. Diane Daddario-Pfaut
    Posted 07.14.14 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I can’t say how much I enjoyed these marvelous photos. Thank you for sharing them.

  4. Milly McLean
    Posted 08.01.14 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I stumbled across your amazing photo essay by accident. It’s a work of art.

    • Peter Green
      Posted 08.03.14 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, everyone, it feels great to know that people enjoy my blog – your comments keep me going.

  5. Ingrid Brouwer
    Posted 08.13.14 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures (as usual).
    It’s always great to find a young from a nest that one follows for years. I find it quite remarkable that this girl stayed so close to home.
    The building is really worth saving I think.

  6. Kathie
    Posted 12.22.14 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow…(again)…..Thank you very much for sharing…..I love the head shot of the falcon!
    Thanks,

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