It’s always nice to hear from an old friend! For NH Audubon’s raptor biologist Chris Martin, receiving a wildlife photographer’s image of a Peregrine Falcon that he color-banded several years ago is both a valuable bit of scientific data as well as a welcome “hello!”
This recently happened when Massachusetts-based wildlife photographer Craig Gibson found a Peregrine Falcon pair perched on a weathervane on top of the downtown Haverhill, MA Post Office on December 4, 2017. Gibson’s photos revealed that the male falcon was ‘Black/green 72/AB’ – color-banded in NH in May 2012, and now 5.5 years old.
This wild-hatched male was one of two chicks fledged from the falcon nesting box located at the Brady-Sullivan Tower in Manchester. Martin banded him as a 25-day old chick, along with his 21-day old sibling, who later died after falling into an uncapped chimney at the nearby National Guard Armory, and was trapped out of sight in a basement boiler room. Based on a suggestion by NH Audubon’s Conservation Department, National Guard personnel installed a cap on their chimney to prevent similar entrapment losses in the future.
Black/green 72/AB has been present in Haverhill since at least December 2014, when he was spotted and identified by local resident, and well-known NH birder, Steve Mirick.
According to NH Audubon’s data and the records of the federal Bird Banding Lab, of the 51 color-banded Peregrine Falcon chicks that have fledged from Brady-Sullivan since 2001, 24 (47%) have subsequently been encountered at least once. Twelve were found dead, but 12 more were found alive, and at least six of those have been confirmed breeding in Boston (2 birds), Amherst, Haverhill, Quincy and Lawrence, MA, as well as in Portland, ME.