RI-DOT (Dept of Transportation) recently inspected the old Sakonnet River Bridge when they surprisingly spotted Peregrine Falcon nestlings. Nestlings in August are highly unusual… most Peregrine Falcons have left their nesting location by July, but I took the photo below of two falcons (too young to fly) on August 5th, indicating they may have been part of a second brood.
Expert Tom French commented, “This is the latest I have ever heard for unfledged Peregrine chicks. These chicks appear to be about 6 weeks old, so they would have hatched around June 24, and the eggs would have been laid about May 22. I have never heard of Peregrines raising two broods in a single season, so I expect this was the result of re-nesting after losing the first clutch of eggs. From my experience, recycling takes about 2 weeks, so the first clutch would have been lost about May 8. I have had first clutches completed at least as late as April 19, so the clutch might have been about 2½ weeks old. If the clutch was much older when lost, I don’t think the female would re-lay. So, the dates potentially work for a lost first clutch, and a successful second.”
The Sakonnet River Bridge connects Tiverton and Portsmouth – about 30 minutes from Providence. There is already a new bridge up and being used and the old bridge will be torn down in 2017 – the falcons will need to relocate. Bridges are dangerous places to nest – many eggs and young falcons simply fall off.
Using a scope, RI-DOT was able to read the “44” on an adult’s band and I read the “BD” with my camera, so we pieced together “44/BD”. Tom French, Assistant Director of Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, confirmed he banded 44/BD (above) on June 24, 2014 in Woburn, MA on a long-abandoned quarry wall, behind an industrial park. Sex: male. Siblings: 2, 1 male (45/BD), 1 female (75/BD). Other reports after fledging: On October 5, 2014, 44/BD was identified on the beach at the south tip of Gooseberry Neck, Westport, MA by Mark Lynch.
By August 18th, three young falcons were flying on their own and graduated from nestlings to fledglings.
Good luck to the three fledglings! Also check out Craig Gibson’s great blog – Lawrence Peregrines – about raptors in MA.