BOIS: The Mystery Of The Estranged Falcons


The best thing about LBI’s new BOIS Tower is that we’re allowed to pronounce it however we choose. We may call it the “boys” tower, or the “bwahTower, depending on the type of person we’d like to be perceived as. Or more accurately, as any good sociologist will tell us, we’ll likely pick the pronunciation which best does not represent the type of person we most don’t want to be perceived as. It’s up to you, with one stipulation: whenever you hear someone refer to the BOIS Tower in casual conversation you must correct them immediately with the opposite pronunciation. For example:

Me: Hey, did you see there were two falcons up on the BOYS Tower today?!

You: Wait… you mean the “BWAH” Tower, right?

This will keep the pronunciation from ever becoming too one sided, and will also make you sound really smart.

Whichever the case, LBI’s new Peregrine Falcon Tower is legit. Called the BOIS Tower, it is pronounced bow-eye as BOIS is the short code for its site location, Bonnet Island. And it is the result of lots of hard work, creative thinking, and dedicated giving-a-crap about the dicey situation which has developed under the Causeway over the past few years whereby a pair of adorable and murderous Peregrine Falcons attempted to nest there precisely as construction on the new bridge began.

There is a ridiculous amount of backstory here. Rather than repeat myself, or repeat myself, I’ll direct you to the 2017 Post The Resurrection Of The Shack which covers the most essential tidbits and gossipy details, with links to past posts about the various events as they unfolded. Click here to read it. We’ll pick up here by sharing the good news that the dream has become a reality.

The New Shack. Photo and Shack courtesy of Ben Wurst and the awesome team of volunteers who just built the best home on the Island… which is saying a lot since this is an Island with scores of amazing homes. But this one has Falcons, so it wins. Obviously.

I bring you tidings of Great Joy. The Shack is Reborn.

Unfortunately, this was supposed to be an Easter post so the Easter resurrection reference is already sounding a little bit dated. I apologize, but I have an acceptable excuse. The reason I’m so late is that I’ve been tied up in a mystery; the Great Mystery of Our Estranged Falcons.

Things looked very promising for the BOIS Tower at first when, as Ben & the team of volunteers were actually building the BOIS Tower, our resident falcon pair BridgeBoy (band code 14/AM) and Jo Durt (code 82/AN) started hanging around and watching the construction. They apparently could not wait to move in.

Who could blame them? Look at those views. Thankfully they are Falcons so they had no way to hassle Ben about the construction timeline, and constantly remind him of details which, while important to them, were irrelevant to the job Ben needed to do. Things like, “we really need to be in there by the 4th of July” and so on.

As soon as the Tower was complete, reports of sightings of Falcons eating murdered pigeons a top it started rolling in. And if you’ve come flying across the bridge anytime recently, you may have even caught a blurred glimpse of our celebrity falcons.

They’ve certainly been using BOIS. They just haven’t been using it enough.

Now, it is never 100% guaranteed that you can lure a nesting pair of Falcons off of a dicey bridge, even when you build a spectacular Tower, give it a cool name like BOIS, and appoint it with all of the finest details a Falcon could hope for.

Just look at that decking. And a safety railing for the little ones!

What makes the situation worrisome is that all nesting sites under the bridge were completely removed, construction is in full swing, and so they really have no option to nest there anymore.

Or do they?

And so a great effort was mounted and a rag-tag team assembled to get to the bottom of it. Thankfully a huge project like the Causeway has an environmental consultant, and thankfully looking for Falcons is the funnest part of that consultant’s job. So Tara from the consultant took to the water to check the bridge, I took to my hidey hole for some ground recon, Ben processed the tech and communications, and Kathy Clark rocked the microphone. After some exhausting days of observation and discussion, Ben Wurst reached the conclusion and called it:

I have no idea what’s going on with those two birds. ~Ben Wurst

Kathy Clark offered a little more:

Maybe they’re broken? ~Kathy Clark

But some solid, and useful details did come out of all the effort. We now know for sure that our male is the one-and-only BridgeBoy (14/AM). Born in Atlantic City in 2012, BridgeBoy became an Islander a few years ago when, on a random visit to the Island, he met our very own Jo Durt at the Surf City Water Tower. The two hit off right away and eventually decided to try their talons at a nest which, sadly, was the ill fated Causeway nest last year.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know for sure that our current female is Jo Durt. There is every reason to believe it is she. If an older female had swooped in and killed her to take over the bridge she’d most certainly be commanding that BOIS Tower like a Queen. And if Jo Durt perished naturally, and a younger female has been courting BridgeBoy, she’d be following him around like a puppy and doing whatever he did. Which in this case means hanging around at the BOIS Tower. BridgeBoy appears to love the Tower. He visits it often. He eats there, and even sleeps there. Sometimes. It is the female who appears to be avoiding it. And there is still every reason to believe that female is still Jo Durt.

These two still have time, and an egg could still drop at BOIS any day. But in the meantime, the couple mostly hangs around the bridge, sitting on piers on opposite ends, looking almost estranged. Could Jo Durt just be having too much trouble letting go of the Causeway and letting go of last year’s sad failure, while BridgeBoy is ready to move on?

Could they be fighting? Maybe they are blaming each other for losing the nest box under the bridge, unaware that it was removed for their own safety?

We’ll never know for sure. But what we do know is that the Island’s wild animals are as site-fidelic as we are. Not only do they love the Island, but they especially love their very own, very specific places on the Island. The places where they have memories. Memories of family. Of struggles. Of great meals. Of good times. If any of us had lost our Island home, and then someone offered us another home down the block, we would surely be appropriately grateful. But still… somehow…. slightly disappointed. Maybe uncomfortable. It’s a great view… but its not our view. Maybe they are only estranged from each other because they are estranged from their favorite Island place, and therefore their very specific memories of the Shore.

Thankfully, for all of us, there are new memories waiting to be made. No matter what happens this season, many memories will be made at the BOIS Tower, one way or another. And if we’re lucky, many babies too! But to anyone who has ever lost a tiny piece of the Island which they loved dearly… this situation is no mystery at all. These two might just need a little more time to put the past behind them and move forward into a very bright future awaiting them at BOIS.

Stay Tuned.