The three chicks hatched by the mating pair of adult peregrine falcons nesting atop the W.E.B. Du Bois Library were banded May 29, allowing wildlife officials and researchers their first opportunity to study the tiny birds and the nesting box they currently call home.
Two males and one female were banded by officials from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Since the first nest box was installed on the roof of the 28-story library, 30 chicks have hatched and flown from the site.
Examination of the prey remains from the nest revealed that the falcons have been feeding on many other species of bird, including blue jays, grackles, mourning doves and at least one woodpecker.
Since the spring of 2012, birdwatchers and ornithologists from around the world have been able to view the adult falcons and their hatchlings via the W.E.B. Du Bois Falcon Cam, a live stream of the falcons’ nest. Earlier this month, the camera trained on the nest was replaced with a new high-definition camera that includes audio, allowing viewers an even greater viewing experience. In the coming days, the original standard definition camera will be mounted elsewhere on the library’s roof, providing a wide-angle view of the birds’ home that will allow the chicks’ first flight attempts to be witnessed by anyone with a web-enabled computer, smartphone or tablet.
Participating in the banding were Richard Nathhorst, capital project manager in facilities and planning at UMass Amherst, library officials and a handful of “falcon fans” who were randomly selected from supporters who had donated to support the Falcon Cam during May’s fundraising drive. One fan was Steph Clymer, a Philadelphia native and assistant in the environmental conservation department who is currently working on a residential songbird-banding project with other researchers here at UMass Amherst.
The banding allows wildlife officials and researchers to track the movements and distribution of the birds, even across state lines. Thanks to banding, the adult falcons on the library’s roof are known to both hail from New Hampshire. The male falcon was one of four chicks originally banded in June of 2001 on Rattlesnake Mountain in the town of Rumney, and the female was born in Manchester in 2002.
Falcon Cam: http://www.library.umass.edu/falcons