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Airplane hangar makes poor site for peregrine nest

Cara J

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Every spring in New England seems to bring stories of poorly located raptor nests resulting in conflicts with humans. At Westover Air Reserve Base, Wildlife Services-Massachusetts had its first peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) relocation this year. It wasn’t easy, but we hold great hopes for its success, and for the adults to find a better site than an airplane hangar to raise their young. When a pair of peregrines arrived at the base in Chicopee, Massachusetts last year, they selected a pull-through hangar for a massive C-5 military transport plane, building a nest in the pocket where the gigantic doors retract. Massachusetts lists the federally-protected peregrine as a threatened species, so when a chick was crushed as the doors were opened, it was particularly difficult for me to watch. The other chick fell to the ground, prompting Joe Rogers, the Wildlife Services airport biologist, to take it to a rehabilitator. This year we attempted to bar the pair from the crevice and encourage them to nest elsewhere, but the exclusion was unsuccessful. The birds laid four eggs. We started working collaboratively with the airbase and Tom French of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to find a solution to successfully [...]

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