Multimedia Intern, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
When I walked into EEA for my first day as an intern last month, I had no idea I would end up at the top of the Marriott Custom House hotel in downtown Boston, climbing spiral staircases and taking pictures of baby peregrine falcons. After a quick orientation, I met up with my supervisor who asked me if I’d be interested in seeing falcons getting banded. I eagerly said yes.
At the hotel, we took the elevators to the observation deck on the 26th floor where I waited with Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin and onlookers gathered in hallway below the nest waiting to see biologists band the birds. Moments later, Norman Smith from the Massachusetts Audubon Society walked out carrying four squawking peregrine falcon chicks.
At just three weeks old, their beaks already looked as though they could take off a finger, but Norman bravely held each chick as Jessica Remple of DFG’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) handed him the bands to be placed on each chick’s legs. Even though they kept snapping away at his fingers, Norman explained to the group the habits of falcons in the area, and why banding is so important. On the endangered list for almost 50 years, peregrine falcons have only recently seen resurgence in population growth. Secretary Sullivan helped Norman band the last of the falcon chicks.
Afterwards, I followed Norman up to the tower to see the chicks’ nest. Out the window of the tower, the father circled the tower while the mother sat on the edge of the nest gazing at us. While I was terrified of her flying in and attacking us, Norman climbed out the window to clean the nest and took my camera to snap a picture.
Suddenly without warning, Norman lunged for the bird, grabbed her legs and gave her to Jessica who placed her into a black canister, which kept the bird silent. After Jessica wrote down the bird’s band numbers, Norman held her out in the middle of the room for everyone to admire.
Her eyes looked like massive, black holes, and she could turn her head a near 360 degrees. When I went for a photo, Norman thrust the bird a few inches closer so she was right in front of my nose. She was a majestic creature, and for a split second my heart stopped in fear that she would leap for me.
If you want to learn more about amazing creatures and their nesting habits in hopes that they’ll one day wind up on your building, check out MassWildlife’s fact sheet on falcons.
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Apr 23
Girard’s Sugarhouse in Simsbury, CT. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually. Photo by Michael Girard March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Health. Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January posted on Jan 26
January’s contest winner was Renee Finnegan, who photographed a pensive Highland cow at Oak Meadows Farm & Garden in Rutland. Glenn and Mary Kauppila have been farming 100 acres of land in Rutland for approximately 15 years. With the help of their three adult children, they …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January