4 peregrine falcon chicks at Monarch Place banded by MassWildlife

Four baby peregrine falcons were banded Monday afternoon in downtown Springfield.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 8:27 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Four baby peregrine falcons were banded Monday afternoon in downtown Springfield. It’s an effort that goes back over 30 years to save a once-endangered species with special ties to western Massachusetts.

Officials from MassWildlife ascended to the 21st floor of Monarch Place to band four three-week-old peregrine falcons.

“Today was a great success. To get those bands on the birds, have mom away for most of that, and then come back when we were ready to put them back in the nest is perfect timing,” said John Rogers, Connecticut Valley region district manager for the MassWildlife Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Peregrine falcon restoration efforts at Monarch Place date back to 1989. It’s the perfect place for a bird of prey.

“A building like this is a human constructed device. It’s almost like an artificial cliff. If you’re a peregrine falcon, it’s a safe place to raise your young to hunt from and ample food in the area,” said wildlife biologist David Paulson.

Prior to the use of DDT, a commonly used pesticide, there were close to 375 nesting pairs in the U.S. By 1966, that number was down to zero.

“They were listed as an endangered species in the United States and that’s when our restoration efforts began,” Rogers added.

However, thanks to efforts like the banding on Monday, the species is on the rise again and officials told us that western Massachusetts is a special spot for these birds.

“This nest has been important for us because it’s produced so many young. Having 44 chicks that were produced out of this site over the years is greatly contributing to our success across the entire state,” Rogers explained.

“They can get 248 miles per hour in a controlled dive called a swoop,” Paulson noted.

It’s a slow and steady process and everyone had a hand in the process that provides biologists with important information about the bird’s movements, lifespan, and injury recovery. The building that has housed dozens of falcons over the years and even provided a namesake for the city’s hockey team will serve as home base for the summer before the birds start their own families.

“Their young will stick with them until about August when they find their own territory somewhere else, particularly here in New England and in the northeast,” Paulson said.

Paulson and Rogers said mom and dad will likely return to nest in Springfield and they have seen young falcons fly as far north as Quebec.

The falcons don’t currently have names, but you can name them at home and keep an eye on them on the Monarch Place webcam.