Peregrine Falcons at UMass Hosting Internet ‘Reality Show’
Well, sort of.
The Peregrine Falcons have been nesting on the roof for the last ten years, and now they have a webcam for the world to watch their comings and goings, and watch as the next generation of falcons hatch, thanks to UMass’ Facilities Planning Division, the Office of Information Technology, and MassWildlife.
“We are very happy that this project is coming to fruition after lots of hard work and goodwill,” said Richard Nathhorst, Capital Project Manager of Facilities Planning at UMass.
Nathhorst and staff from MassWildlife band the chicks every year after they hatch.
Since the nest box was put up in 2003, the falcons, which are federally endangered, have been successfully reintroduced into western Massachusetts.
There were about 375 nesting pairs of the Peregrine Falcons in the 1930s and 1940s east of the Mississippi River, but because of the pesticide DDT, they laid thin-shelled eggs that broke during incubation.
By 1966, not one nesting pair remained in the entire eastern half of the United States.
The last historically active nest in Massachusetts was on Monument Mountain in Great Barrington in 1955.
After DDT was banned in 1972, restoration efforts of the falcons began, and now this is the first year that the number of pairs have returned to their pre-DDT levels.