Posted by: grperegrines | 11/06/2019

11/6/19: New cameras for GVSU nest box

You may have noticed that the GVSU camera has not been available for several months now.  This was due to the installation of two new cameras, one on the same side as the original cam and one on the ceiling of the box.  Both offer streaming video, but as far as I know, not sound.  The cameras are best viewed using Chrome, where more of the settings are adjustable. You should not have to install any extra Axis software, even if asked.  Viewing the cams in Firefox or Internet Explorer doesn’t always work.

Links to the two cameras are below.  Many thanks to the GVSU folks who funded the purchase and installation of the cameras, and make the streams available on the internet.

Side cam:       Ceiling cam:

As for the falcons, two have been observed in and around the area of the GVSU box.  Less frequently, a falcon has been seen in the area of the courthouse.  I’ve never been able to find where that pair hangs out once it gets cold, so let me know if y/when you see a falcon in the Michigan Hill area.


Posted by: grperegrines | 09/04/2019

9/4/19: Here and there

As you’ve probably guessed, there hasn’t been much peregrine falcon action to report these last two months.  It isn’t unusual for the falcons to enjoy being away from “home” as soon as the fledglings are flying well.  I’ve not heard anything about the juveniles, good or bad.  We probably won’t hear about them, unless they establish a territory somewhere with a nest cam or diligent observers.

The reason I’m posting today is because I had a fun sighting this morning.  I was stopped at the light at Michigan and Ionia when I saw a falcon flying.  Suddenly it picked up speed and stooped on some birds (starlings, maybe?) near Ottawa and 196.  It missed, and looped around to land on the letters, south side of the MSU/Secchia building.  About half and hour later, an adult peregrine was perched in box 9 from the north, east side of the State building, likely the same bird.

In August I was sent a few screen shots of the adult female (A/20) making brief visits to the nest box.  I haven’t seen the falcons in the area of the GVSU box for some time, so it was good to know she was still around.

The falcons are so often out of sight during the fall and winter that I really appreciate any reports of peregrine sightings in the Grand Rapids area.  Many thanks to those who have sent me reports in the past!

Posted by: grperegrines | 07/03/2019

7/3/19: Out and about

Over the last 2 weeks there have been several sightings of the Eberhard Center juveniles near, and in, the nest box.  Yesterday it was the female juvenile taking refuge for a bit, and spending time with Mom.  However, they are also spending more and more time away from the box.  With so many perching options, they are usually out of sight.  Mom and Dad are probably using food to help them learn the skills they’ll need as adults.  It will be a while yet before they are successfully feeding themselves.  We’ve got about a month before they leave the area to migrate and/or find their own territory.  Mom and Dad would chase them away if they returned here as adults.

I’ve have not seen, or gotten any reports, about the juvenile from the Kent County Courthouse nest since her rescue.  The adults aren’t being seen in the nest box area, either.  I’m choosing to be hopeful that she and her parents have simply moved to a different area for her training.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/20/2019

6/20/19: Out of the box

For those who don’t watch the GVSU nest cam, the two juveniles have been out to the front rail and back quite a bit the last few days.  The female is the older one and she’s been out to the side of the box for the last two days, but returned late this afternoon, safe and sound.  I kind of expect the female to try flying tomorrow if the weather is reasonable, but the male needs another day or two, based on the amount of fluff he’s still sporting.

The juvenile from the Courthouse nest box is now a fledgling.  She took off yesterday afternoon, but ended up on the ground along Ionia Ave.  One of the Courthouse maintenance people was able to safely capture her and take her back to the roof, uninjured.  She hasn’t been sighted today that I know of, so I’m hoping she is running around on the Courthouse roof.  Another day of wing exercises might get her strong enough to make a successful attempt tomorrow.

As always, please email me with any sightings you have, especially if you think a juvenile might be in trouble.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/17/2019

6/17/19: Fledge week

All three of the juvenile peregrine falcons in the downtown Grand Rapids area are due to take their first flights this week.  Generally, the young ones take off while still sporting a few tufts of down on the top of their heads and elsewhere.  The female in the Kent County Courthouse nest box is bigger than the two in the Eberhard box, so she may need a day or two more to develop her muscles.  Given that she is a couple of days older than the Eberhard pair, I’m expecting her to take off about the same time as the older Eberhard juvenile.

There are a lot of risks for a young peregrine as it learns how to fly, and more importantly, how to land safely.  It is common for them to end up in unusual places.  However, if they end up on the ground, they might need assistance.  If you notice a peregrine on the ground, let someone from the Courthouse or Eberhard Center maintenance know.  They can contact someone who can determine if help is needed.  As a last resort, leave a message with the local wildlife rescue folks (Wildlife Rehab Center) at 616-361-6109.  In addition (not instead!) send me an email and I’ll do my best to follow up.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/06/2019

6/6/19: GVSU Eberhard Center banding day – updated

Here is the official banding info for the two chicks in the Eberhard nest box: Male – Black C over Blue 67,  Female – Black 32 over Blue K.  (Note – both this female and the female from the courthouse box have the Blue K, so we’ll have to look for the 31 or 32 to tell them apart once they start flying around.  Luckily, location will help, as they stay near their nest boxes for the first week or two.)

The two chicks in the Eberhard nest box were banded this morning.  The smaller one was determined to be a male and the larger one was banded as a female to be on the safe side. (Her measurements were right on the border of the two size ranges, so don’t be surprised if she is discovered to be a he in the future!)  I’ll post the band info here when I get it.

This was our adult female’s first experience with the banding process and she was definitely upset to have humans handling her babies.  The male actively defended the chicks, too, doing as much swooping as Mom was.  Once the chicks were returned, the two adults continued to fly around for some minutes before the female landed on the blue letters where she could look into the box.  When I left, some 25 minutes after the banding was over, she had still not entered the box.  Very different from the quick return of the female at the Courthouse box.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/04/2019

6/4/19: Kent County Courthouse banding info

DNR biologists found just one chick in the Courthouse nest box this morning, along with a damaged egg and an unhatched/unviable egg.  The chick, a female, was given a silver federal band on her right leg and a Black 31 over Blue K on her left leg.  The two adults did their best to defend their nest, flying almost continuously.  The female swooped down many times.  I think she got closer than in previous years, which explains why the biologists always wear hard hats.

Peregrine falcons fledge somewhere in the range of 35-42 days old.  Since Black31/Blue K is a big girl, she may need more wing exercises than the average chick before taking off for her first flight.  I’m guessing that won’t take place for at least another 10 days, possibly as many as another 15.  That’s when it gets really exciting.  Young peregrines are good at take-offs, not so good at nailing their landings.

The two chicks in the GVSU nest box are still scheduled to be banded Thursday morning about 10am.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/31/2019

5/31/19: Banding day – June 6 updated

Banding schedule:  Kent County Courthouse – 10am Tuesday, June 4. Best viewing is from Crescent Park at Bostwick and Crescent or the GRCC Lyon St. Parking Ramp.  GVSU Eberhard Center – 10am Thursday, June 6.  Best viewing is from the Blue Bridge or east side of the river across from the nest box.

This morning Elaine F was able to confirm that there is at least one chick in the Kent County Courthouse box.  She said the chick appeared days older than the chicks in the GVSU nest box.  (Incubation was confirmed a few days earlier in the courthouse box than in the GVSU box, so this was expected.)

The DNR will band the GVSU chicks on June 6, and will very likely band the courthouse chicks the same day.  I’ll post an update here once I have an approximate time for the event.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/18/2019

5/18/19: Now only two

Sad news this morning from the GVSU nest.  One of the three chicks has died and was removed from the nest by the adult female shortly after 11am.  The other two have been fed since the removal and look well.   Based on the sizes of the remaining chicks, it appears to have been one of the older chicks that perished, not the youngest/smallest.  We will never know just what went wrong, but it is extremely unlikely that sibling competition was involved.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/17/2019

5/17/19: GVSU Webcam issue

Update 5/18/19:  9:35am  In case you hadn’t noticed yet, the cam is back on the chicks!

The webcam got reset somehow last evening. Unfortunately, the operator is away and we aren’t sure when he will be able to adjust the view.  Please be patient!

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