State expert sheds new light on Monarch Place falcons - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State expert sheds new light on Monarch Place falcons

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Thousands of people from Western Mass and around the country have been watching a pair of peregrine falcons that have been nesting on top of Monarch Place, the building where CBS 3 Springfield studios are located.

Tuesday, two of the four eggs hatched.

As the sun rose in Springfield early Tuesday morning, and the proud peregrine falcon parents switched posts for the morning shift, we got our first look at the two newest additions. Two white, fluffy chicks took their first breaths Tuesday. We've been watching and waiting for this for weeks now.

"What I love about it is that people who aren't animal people really get sucked into watching these web cams," said Dr. Tom French, assistant director to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

CBS 3 cameras have been capturing the falcons' every move 24/7, and thousands of viewers have been watching here, including French. French has been on the job for 28 years and knows these birds very well.

"This pair has already produced 34 chicks before this year," he said.

The peregrine falcons have been nesting in Springfield for years. The original Monarch Place falcon, Amelia, died in 1995. Experts say the last eggs hatched on the building in 1989. But falcons were nesting on the Memorial Bridge, until the tornado touched down on June 1, 2011.  French said the twister most likely killing last year's chicks.

"We were really worried that the adults would even be killed," he said. "It certainly destroyed the nest from last year. But they're back on the tray, and they're back on the air, and people can enjoy them."

French says with two eggs left, the sooner they hatch will be the better for the chicks' chance of survival.

"If a third one hatches kind of late we will worry about that chick because it'll have to compete with bigger siblings. They're not polite. They don't share well unless they're full," said French.

Peregrine falcons are endangered in Massachusetts. In three weeks, French will be here to put bands on the chicks' feet so wildlife experts can keep track of the chicks as they mature.

Click here for a live look at the new falcon chicks.

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