Two Peregrine Falcons removed from hangar at Westover for relocation

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Two Peregrine Falcon chicks were removed from a nest inside a hangar at Westover Air Reserve Base Thursday. 

Westover’s Chief of Environmental Engineering Jack Moriarty told 22News it’s the second year in a row that chicks had to be removed for their safety and to eliminate a strike hazard for the C-5 aircraft. 

The chicks, about a week old, were relocated to box nests over the Connecticut River with the help of MassWildlife and MassDOT. 

“These birds will hopefully get taken over by two adults in what’s called a fostering system where the chicks will be taken care of and will thrive on their own here in the box,” Moriarty said. 

The chicks were going to be relocated in a box over the Connecticut River in Chicopee, but MassWildlife found out the box already had four female chicks inside. Those chicks, about four weeks old, were banded and placed back in their nest. 

Banding the chicks helps MassWildlife monitor the falcons and aid in conservation work. At one point, Peregrine Falcons were on the verge of extinction in Massachusetts due to the effects of the pesticide DDT. 

MassDOT crews work with MassWildlife to help them access the box nests below the bridges. 

MassDOT Fish and Wildlife supervisor Tim Dexter told 22News Peregrine Falcons presence on bridges throughout the state actually saves the state money. 

“It’s sort of like a symbiotic relationship,” Dexter said. “A symbiotic relationship is when two living organisms are living in close association to the benefit of each other. Now the bridges aren’t living, but they do have a lifespan and the Peregrines help us keep pigeon guano off of those bridges and help us have a long life of the bridge and defer maintenance.” 

Peregrine Falcons are the fastest birds on Earth and can dive from great heights at speeds over 240 miles per hour. Their known nesting territories in western Massachusetts include: Amherst, Chicopee, Deerfield, Northampton, Springfield, Wilbraham, and Great Barrington. 

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