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Pensive perched peregrine ponders pigeons, perhaps

Peregrine falcon perched by the Charles River in West Roxbury

Mary Ellen spotted this peregrine falcon yesterday, hanging out overlooking Cow Island Pond, a sort of Charles River bay off Rivermoor Street in West Roxbury.


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(Mid-90s, had a nice vantage point at 53 State, 35th floor, facing the Custom House where a pair had a nest. Amazing creatures.)

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Perigrines were facing extinction when wildlife biologists realized that they needed two important features that urban tower buildings could provide: sheer cliff walls with ledges, and abundant supplies of rock doves (aka pidgeons). https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/how-peregrine-falcons-thrive-in-cities/

I was towing my then 3.5 year old son in his bike trailer across the North Ave. commuter rail overpass in Medford when we came upon a most gory scene: a perigrine with a spatchocked and eviscerated pigeon perched atop the pedestrian guard rail at the peak of the bridge. I was amazed and horrified because I didn't know how my kid was going to process that as it was extremely graphic and brutal (ripped open bird, blood dripping down, ripped off pidgeon head on the sidewalk). Fortunately, he was utterly enthralled by the Perigrine itself and talked about it for weeks after in reverant and impressed tones, using his fingers to mimic the talons.

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I remember back in the Mid-1980's when I worked at the old concrete Milk Street Parking garage. I kept hearing these things calling and when I told my supervisor he didn't believe me. I didn't know for sure until I came across a pigeon head, just the head, while walking down Milks Street to the 7-11 at the aquarium. Those pre-Internet days were the true age of discovery.

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Does your son have any memory of this? I wonder if this one small incident had any effect on his view of wildlife or nature...

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He was part of the outing club in college, and he brought home a young lady who identifies, checks out, and shares the owl pellets and other wildlife signs from our backyard.

He does remember it. The bird was so impressive he hardly remembers the gruesome tableau. Both he and his brother have long understood that such events are natural and necessary for the raptors or predators involved.

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rekindles ragged reader’s rapture.

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