Friday, May 20, 2011

Christian Science Peregrine Falcon dies

I hate writing these kinds of posts. First, the Atletico Junior owl mascot was killed, and now this sad update to share.

The Boston peregrine falcon that I'm always writing about and posting pictures of is a nesting pair (they're referred to as the Christian Science Administration Building peregrine falcon pair), and I just learned this week that the female peregrine falcon has died.

I work in the Christian Science Administration Building where their nest is, and a MassAudubon director was here this week looking for the nest since the female was discovered dead on May 4th. I've offered what information I could to be helpful, since I've kept a pretty regular log of their activity over the past year and a half, but that was the extent of what I could do. I could see the band whenever the bird perched on my window ledge but never close enough to actually read it, so I could never be sure which falcon I was looking at. I know the females are larger than the males, but that's the extent of what I know about identifying peregrine falcons. I'll assume that all of my sightings were of the Christian Science peregrine falcon pair.

Here are some of my favorite pictures taken over the past year and a half:

The story goes that the female's body was found on a sidewalk over near the Arlington T stop. If you look at this map, you can see it's a decent distance away from the nest site

The theory is that she might have gotten into a fight with another peregrine falcon (maybe another female trying to encroach on her nest site), died on a rooftop, and after weeks of decaying, her body was blown off the rooftop or ledge and ended up on the sidewalk. Officials from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife think she might have died in February or March. I'm leaning toward late March or early April because I saw the pair trying to mate on top of a nearby building and it was definitely more recent than February.

This picture was taken by my boss. I think it might be the male because it was taken more recently (March 25th) and it appears a little smaller.

The female leaves behind quite a legacy. She was the founding female of the Christian Science nesting pair- one of 3 Boston nesting pairs established after recovery efforts began. She was originally banded in Acadia National Park in Maine, and was 17 years old when she died (nearly as old as the 19-year old male from the Custom House in Boston). She produced 38 young, many of which survived and went on to nest throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. Quite an impressive bird. I feel lucky to have had such a close connection to her :)


meg said...

bummer. at least she had a productive life!!

John (Tucker) said...

Sad story, but great information. I don't know alot about peregrines, but now I know more. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Way too sad. I'm so sorry. You must be heartbroken. You lost a friend.