Hidden PVD

New Kids on the Block

A peek inside the Superman Building’s peregrine falcon nest

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They grow up so fast.

By the time you read this, the newest peregrine falcons born at the Superman Building will have made for the sky. Falcons that nest atop the iconic skyscraper have been banded and tracked since 2000, with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island responsible for those duties since 2010. That same year, a nesting box and a webcam were installed, giving the eggs a safer home while offering curious humans a chance to watch as the new falcons hatch, grow, and eventually take flight.

To band the birds, a team made their way out to the nest on May 21, 21 days after hatching, protected by hard hats, and offering brooms as alternative targets for the mature falcons. “The adults can be aggressive and swoop down and try to ‘hit’ the master bander as he is removing the [baby falcons] from the nest,” explains the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Jeff Hall. “We take brooms with us because the birds will veer off at the broom end, sometimes giving it a good smack on the way by.”

This year, the nest was occupied by two previously unknown adults, after three years of the same pair of parents. All four of their eggs hatched – two males, two females – and as we go to press, they’ve started to make their way out of the nest to explore the top of the building as they gain their strength. One of them has already had an inauspicious start to a life of flight and ended up making an emergency street level landing. The young falcon was recovered and returned safely to the nest. Maybe it will let mom and dad do the hunting a little bit longer. Keep up to date on the new falcons at ASRI.org