UMass library falcon dies at age 14

By Anthony Rentsch

(UMass Libraries)
(UMass Libraries)

The male peregrine falcon that has nested on the top of the W.E.B. Du Bois library for 12 seasons died early Wednesday, according to a University of Massachusetts press release.

A passer-by discovered the falcon in a snow bank on Sunset Avenue on Jan. 15. In the release, X-rays showed that although the bird suffered no broken bones, there were abrasions on its sternum and one of its wings, leading Dr. Michael Katz of Hampshire Veterinary Hospital to believe it landed on a power line, suffered an electrical shock and fell to the ground. The bird died while waiting to be transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

According to the release, the falcon, which was born in New Hampshire in 2001, nested atop the library every year since 2003, raised 34 chicks during its time on campus and became a webcam sensation in 2012. In 2014, there were 269,279 views on the library’s falcon webcam page.

State biologist and Director of the Mass Wildlife Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program Tom French said in the release that the bird was “particularly old for wild peregrines,” outliving the typical age of their birds by four years.

In the release, French indicated the library-nesting box would likely be home to a new peregrine family, with the same female, by the start of the March breeding season.

“They mate for life, but they don’t mourn for a minute,” he said in the release.

The library intends to turn the webcam back on in April when “falcons will hopefully again make their home on the roof of the Du Bois library,” Carol Connare, libraries director of development and communication said in the release.

Anthony Rentsch can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Anthony_Rentsch.