Monarch Place falcons not banded for first time in 30 years - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Monarch Place falcons not banded for first time in 30 years

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

MassWildlife's annual peregrine falcon banding was set for Friday atop Monarch Place in downtown Springfield. 

However, it didn't quite go as planned.

It turns out that the three falcon chicks are too old and banding them could risk getting them hurt.

Banding falcons allows experts to track them their whole lives, from how long they live to where they're going.  It can also help them should a falcon get hurt.

Only these birds on the 21st floor of Monarch Place are too old to tag.

"If we were to open the window now, these chicks, even though they are not able to fly yet, would choose jumping and bailing out of the nest over sitting there getting caught," said Tom French with MassWildlife. 

French has been banding falcons for 31 years.  He told Western Mass News wildlife that officials have already banded 20 this year.

Each falcon gets banded at three weeks old.  These chicks, though, are five weeks old and while they would likely survive taking a leap of faith, they don't have enough feathers to fly, only to dive, and could get injured.

It's a disappointing result to a routine plan.

"This is so easy here.  You unlock the window, you open it, pick them up.  You don't have to get into a bridge inspection truck under a bridge, or repel off a cliff," French added.

Restoration efforts started with peregrine falcons 30 years ago after the insecticide DDT eliminated these falcons from the state altogether, so MassWildlife started tracking them to keep them safe.

Today, nearly 50 nesting pairs are banded and the fastest animal in the world, capable of diving at nearly 250 miles per hour, is safer then ever before.

"Not banding them is a much better choice than risking having them injured or die," French noted.

What's the next step for these falcons?  Flying for the first time.  MassWildlife expects them to leave the nest in about a week or so.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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