On September 2 Molly Haley noticed an unusual falcon-like bird on her Water Street dock in Tenants Harbor, reached for her camera and snapped several shots of it. The next day she sent an email to Charles Todd, coordinator of Endangered and Threatened Species in the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Haley wrote: “This falcon landed on our dock in Tenants Harbor yesterday. After enlarging the photo I noticed that it is banded. As far as I can make out the black band has a 04 and green band has what looks like 9 and a V. Can you tell more about this bird and where and when it was banded?”
Todd realized the 9 was a B and passed on Haley’s inquiry to Thomas W. French of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in Westborough, Mass. French’s response was as follows:
“Thanks for this report and photo. This young female falcon has a small following of people who will be very happy to learn of her travels to Maine. She was raised in a very urban setting in Cambridge, just a very short distance from MIT. Her parents actually nested on two different buildings on the MIT campus in previous years, but her father came from the mountains of New Hampshire. Here is her original banding information:
“Band numbers: 1947-35706, and 04/BV black over green
“Banding date and location: May 22, 2017 – MA, Middlesex Co., Cambridge, Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse, 40 Thorndike Street, nest box on 18th floor balcony.
“Siblings: Two males (02/BU, 03/BU)
“Previous reports of 04/BV: August 19, 2017 – MA, Norfolk Co., Quincy, Squantum pans by Moswetusset Hummock–photographed perched on power lines by William Loughlin. Was observed coursing the salt marsh harassing a Northern Harrier and scaring up the shorebirds.”
French also noted this information about the young falcon’s parents:
“Mother–80/AD (1947-02321)–First seen unbanded in 2009 when the pair first formed. Finally captured and banded at the nest site May 18, 2012.
“Father–2/1 (2206-70215) – Banded as a chick May 13 2005 – NH, Grafton Co., Rumney, Rattlesnake Mountain. This male is very unusual in being just as aggressive as the female. Both aggressively, and repeatedly, hit anyone who comes near the nest.”
Haley received a Certificate of Appreciation from the North American Bird Banding Program thanking her for reporting the falcon’s band. The program is under the general direction of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service, which notes that, “Data from banded birds are used in monitoring populations, setting hunting regulations, restoring endangered species, studying effects of environmental contaminants, and addressing such issues as Avian Influenza, bird hazards at airports, and crop depredations. Results from banding studies support national and international bird conservation programs such as Partners in Flight, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and Wetlands for the Americas.”
Bands can be reported at www.reportband.gov or by calling 1-800-327-BAND.
PHOTO: Molly Haley