Peregrine falcon chicks
University News

Banding Day 2022: Four Falcon Chicks Get Their Permanent Bling

This year’s full brood of four fluffy, white peregrine falcon chicks received some very special and permanent bling today: their regional markers and federal registry leg bands. These markers, coded by color and location, allow biologists to track the falcons’ movements and histories over time.  

peregrine falcon brood
This year's full brood is three males and one female

The three males and a female are “very healthy and well-fed,” said David Paulson of MassWildlife, who applied their leg bands. “That pair of peregrines are fixed on the nest, and they are great parents.” 

The brood’s father hails from the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Bridge, having defeated the male previously established at UMass in a fight to the death earlier this spring. The mother is rumored to originate from a Verizon tower in Brockton, but this cannot be confirmed until wildlife experts can clearly identify her via her leg bands. 

peregrine chick banding
A peregrine chick gets its regional and federal identification leg bands

The W. E. B. Du Bois Library rooftop has been home to a peregrine falcon nest since 2003. This year, however, due to delays in installing a renovated nest box, the falcons chose an old nesting site on the roof of Thompson Hall. The chicks were removed from the box, placed in soft cotton bags, and taken to the 10th floor lounge for banding. Afterwards they were returned to the nesting box while their parents watched the biologists, well, like hawks. 

Peregrine falcons are the fastest birds on Earth, with dive speeds of over 240 mph. There are approximately 50 nesting pairs of the raptors in Massachusetts, where their status has improved from endangered to special concern in 2019 and they can now be seen year-round. 2022 marks the 36th year of peregrine falcon restoration efforts in Massachusetts. 

Viewers can stream the Thompson webcam from the library website and follow the falcons on Twitter at @DuBoisFalcons

The Du Bois Falcons team is hosting its second annual naming contest for the three male chicks. The honor of naming the female is being given to the women’s basketball team in honor of their incredible performance this year. Suggestions for names can be made on @DuBoisFalcons Twitter page until Monday, May 30. The top-rated suggestions will then be open for votes from Tuesday, May 31, to Thursday, June 2. Winning names will be announced on Friday, June 3.