Posted by: grperegrines | 05/25/2018

5/25/18: Banding day success

On Thursday, the 24th, DNR biologists banded two chicks in each nest box.  The GVSU nest box had a male and a female, while the Kent County Courthouse had two females.  (Observers had only seen one chick for sure at the courthouse, so it was nice to hear about the second one.)  I don’t have the band numbers/letters yet, so I’ll pass those on when I get them.

The adults at both sites did their jobs, trying to protect their babies.  This was Majestic’s first experience with this process and she didn’t quite know what to do, though she made a lot of noise and did some swooping at those doing the banding.  The adult male was absent for quite a while and when he appeared it was to land on the ledge next to the box to deliver lunch.  He took off with a squawk, dropped off the prey somewhere, then came back to make some swoops of his own.  Once the chicks were returned to the box, it took Majestic 8-10 minutes to land on the box to check on her babies.  It will be interesting to see if she gets more aggressive over the years, like the female at the courthouse is.

The courthouse female swooped close enough to make the DNR guys duck, as you can see in the photo below.  (They wear hard hats for a reason!) She was the one doing most of the swooping, while the male made large loops around the courthouse area to guard against any other aerial attack.  Once the ladder was taken away, the adult female landed on the nest box within a minute.  Another observation that surprised us was that both adults were on the courthouse before the banders arrived.  The female was in the box and the male on the roof ledge.  My guess is that they heard all the commotion at the GVSU box and were on guard.

Many thanks to Elaine F for sharing her great photo, taken as the chicks were being returned to the box.banding 1 May 24 2018

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/23/2018

5/23/18: Banding day plans

Banding of the peregrine falcon chicks in both the GVSU and Kent County Courthouse nest boxes is scheduled for tomorrow morning, Thursday, May 24.  The process should get started at GVSU about 10am and take about half an hour or so.  Then the DNR team will move to the courthouse to repeat the process.  I’ll post the band information as soon as I get it (sometimes takes a day or two), so we can tell the chicks apart.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/18/2018

5/18/18: Chick confirmed in courthouse nest box

This morning I was able to see that at least one chick is alive and well in the nest box on the Kent County Courthouse.  It appears to be about the same age as those in the GVSU nest box.  Banding will probably take place next week for both sets of chicks.  I’ll post an update when I know an exact date and time.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/07/2018

5/7/18: Kent County Courthouse nest update

This afternoon I found an adult in brooding position (upright, with wings out) in the nest box on KCC. The chicks were not visible, but are likely a few days younger than those in the GVSU box.
The second adult was on the Children’s Hospital elevator shaft again. I was able to see that this adult is banded, but it was too far away to see details. The plumage made me think of Art from previous seasons, but I’m pretty sure Art is the one we lost last year, so it will be exciting to see if we can get a read on the bands to ID this one.
What a milestone it would be for GR to have two successful nests this year!

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/02/2018

5/2/18: 2nd hatch – GVSU nest

The second chick hatched overnight and is looking healthy.  Check out the pictures posted on the Peregrine Falcon Southwest Michigan Facebook page.  You can find a link to that page in the list on the right hand side.

Now the real fun begins!

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/01/2018

5/1/18: First hatch – GVSU nest

first hatchling 2018At 12:04pm today, Mom stood up to reveal a very wet first chick.  The second egg appears intact, with no pips visible, so incubation will likely continue.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/30/2018

4/30/18: Two active nests in Grand Rapids

This afternoon I finally checked on the Kent County Courthouse nest box.  An adult peregrine was doing some rearranging and/or egg rolling before settling down to incubate.  The second adult was keeping watch from the SW corner of the grey elevator shaft on the south side of Children’s Hospital.  It is likely that they laid their eggs after the GVSU pair laid their’s, but there really is no way to know until we see chicks.

As for the GVSU pair, I think it is very likely that the hatching process has begun.  The adults are not sitting down as far, and they are holding their wings slightly out from their bodies, which generally means brooding.  However, there were two intact eggs at my last view of them about 2pm this afternoon.  Remember that it can take a day for a chick to break out of the egg, so not to worry yet.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/24/2018

4/24/18: Hatching in Kalamazoo

The peregrines in Kalamazoo have two little fluff balls and a pip in a third egg.  You can watch all the happenings on their live stream here.  Our eggs were laid about a week after the Kalamazoo pair, so we have at least a few days to go before we can expect signs of hatching.

You can also follow the news about the Kalamazoo nest and others in the area on the Peregrine Falcons Southwest Michigan Facebook page.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/16/2018

4/16/18: Down to two

I was alerted by an email this morning that there were only two eggs in the GVSU nest box.  During a shift change just a few minutes ago I was finally able to confirm the bad news.  Somehow, in the last 10 days or so, two eggs were lost.  Like last year, there is no evidence of broken shells in the box, so it is impossible to know what happened.   Here’s hoping they have managed to keep the remaining eggs well sheltered from all this unseasonable cold weather.

I’d be interested to know when someone last saw 3 or 4 eggs.  You can email me or add a comment to this post.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/04/2018

4/4/18: The Wait Continues

It seems that this year’s clutch in the GVSU nest box is complete with four eggs.  Full incubation likely began between eggs 3 and 4, as temperatures got back down near freezing.  If that estimate is accurate, hatching could begin as early as April 28, though May 1 is more likely.

In the meantime, enjoy watching the two adults take turns sitting on the eggs.  Look for patterns in their timing, they often develop a loose schedule.  And, if you are like me, you might find yourself yelling at the male to cover those eggs better.  His smaller size makes it tougher for him to get all four tucked in properly.  (Remember that the male has a clean white upper chest, while the female has spots all the way up her chest.)

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