Up close with Springfield’s Monarch Place falcons

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CBS 3 Springfield recently launched a “Falcon Cam” to offers viewers a window into the world of two Peregrine Falcons nesting on the 21st floor of the Monarch Place building. The pair’s eggs began hatching Wednesday, and by mid-day Friday four baby falcons had joined the family.

I had the pleasure and the privilege of spending some time up-close with the birds after work Friday, and some photos that I took from the inside looking out are included in the slideshow above.

Dave Ward, news director at CBS 3, was kind enough to take some time out of his day to be my guide. It’s a pretty fascinating set-up: the nest is in a plexi-glass box outside the window of an office that’s basically dedicated to the falcons. Different pairs have nested here since 1989, and the building lease stipulates that anyone leasing the 21st floor will leave this particular room vacant to avoid disturbing the birds.

The lights in the room are left off. Outside the room, Bank of America is leasing space. Employees on break occasionally dropped in to see the birds in person as the CBS 3 camera sat on a tripod broadcasting to the rest of the world.

Watching both the falcons and the hawks on the Cornell web cam this spring has offered some interesting insights into how differently the birds behave. The hawks, I’ve noticed, will let prey accumulate in the nest, often having a session of “leftovers” a day or so after a pigeon or vole is first brought in for a feeding.

The falcons, on the other hand, like to keep a clean space: with each feeding I’ve watched online, the adult bird has flown away and disposed of the carcass as soon as it has finished feeding the young. When I visited, the only debris in the nest was the shell of the chick that had just hatched and the head of a starling.

I’d hoped to catch both adult birds on the nest, and maybe even a feeding; instead, I got to see some quiet, tender moments of the adult falcon nuzzling the new chicks.

As we left, Dave and I joked that as soon as we shut the door the second adult would appear for a full-on feast. Sure enough, from the sidewalk outside the building as I left I heard the falcons calling overhead, and looked up just in time to see the parents making a shift change on the nest.

1 comment
  1. Lorrin said:

    Wow, great shots, Greg! I especially like the feathers shot and the chick with the open beak. Thanks for the great images.

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