Meanwhile, back in Holyoke: Watching peregrine falcons in the Paper City

Before my run-in with the hawk in Northampton I’d spent a decent part of Sunday afternoon hanging out of one of my fourth-floor windows, hoping one of Holyoke’s City Hall falcons would fly close enough for a good shot.

I’ve been watching this pair of falcons for several months now, and they’re hard birds to photograph: they’re high, fast flyers, and they only ever come to rest near the upper-most reaches of City Hall’s tower. They’re also nearly the same color as the building’s stonework.

But getting the shot isn’t always what it’s about. Just the fact that I can sit in my living room in one of the country’s early industrial centers and watch a bird that was nearly driven to extinction — that’s pretty tough to beat.

Click a photo to enlarge.

  1. Deborah said:

    Hi Greg, These photos are remarkable! I bird my way down N. Bridge and then Main Street to 391 every morning and evening. I have seen most of the raptors you mentioned but not the falcons. There is a Red tails that hunts near Tapestry that has an appetite for birds. Iv’e seen it in hot pursuit of a starling and a sparrow. The Eagles chose most of their nesting material near the fishway on the other side of the dam in early March. I have been searching for a better location than the bridge from which to view them. Do you know if the eggs have hatched?-Deborah

  2. Hi Deborah –

    Thanks so much!

    I haven’t seen the falcons as often over the past few weeks; I’m told that they’re nesting up in the quarry, so it may be that they aren’t coming downtown as often to hunt.

    I think that Red-tail is one of the ones nesting along Race Street — they really like to hunt along that Main St. / Race St. corridor. I often see them around Appleton / Cabot.

    I haven’t heard whether the eagles have hatched yet. That nest is in a difficult spot to view and, honestly, the bridges seem to be two of the best vantage points. One of my co-workers had a pretty close encounter with one while he was walking down by the cove, though.

    The geese nesting along the canal had four eggs hatch yesterday — I’ll have a post and photos up about that later tonight, I hope.

    Thanks for reading!


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