Posted by: grperegrines | 06/22/2022

6/22/22: Falcon adventures

It has been quite a busy 3 days for the Grand Rapids peregrine falcons.

Sunday, 6/19: The male juvenile falcon left the GVSU nestbox for somewhere unknown.

Monday, 6/20: The female juvenile left the nestbox early in the morning. GVSU staff found a juvenile in the Eberhard Center loading dock area, which is west of the nestbox area. It was thought to be injured based on some difficulty flying, though it was not visible later in the day. The female is presumed to have spent the day somewhere in the Blue letters area near the nestbox.

Tuesday, 6/21: The male juvenile was still in the loading dock area in the morning and the female was seen on the Blue letters in both the morning and afternoon. An attempt to capture the male was made with the help of the local rehabber, but it was flying well enough to avoid capture and eventually left the loading dock area for an unknown location. Shortly after this, there was a report of an adult peregrine flying into the loading dock of Devos Place, chasing a pigeon, and flying into a window. It could not be located again before it was closing time.

Wednesday, 6/22: The GVSU juveniles were out of sight this morning, but noises from the adults in the nest box area suggests at least one is still on the building and likely being fed. If the other one is anywhere close by, it will also be fed. The adult in Devos Place was caught, assessed by the rehabber, and released. It was not one of the GVSU adults, but is likely one that has been seen in the Michigan Hill area this spring. Its bands tell us it is a female named Minsk, hatched on a building in Peoria, IL, in May, 2018. We can hope she stays in the area and finds a mate to occupy the Courthouse nestbox next season.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/20/2022

6/20/22: Out of the box

If you checked on the nest box cams this weekend, you know that the male chick moved out of the box at some point before 7am Sunday. His sister did the same this morning. We don’t know if either of them has actually flown, since they can hop from the front bar to the roof ledges on either side, though they usual go to the north (left). From there they can make their way over to the other ledges, including those under the blue letters. If we, and they, are lucky, they will choose to head north to the museum roof ledges rather than try to cross the river for their first true flights.

As always, please comment on this post with any sightings you have of these youngsters.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/11/2022

6/11/22: Banding info

The two chicks in the GVSU nestbox were banded by a DNR biologist on Tuesday, June 7th. Both were deemed healthy. Here is the band info for them: Female – Black 37/Blue K and Male – Black C/Blue 78 (both on their left leg)

Since they have the same band colors, the best way to tell them apart will be to look at the blue band for a number (male) or letter (female). Also, the female will be bigger than the male, though distance from the camera will make that judgment difficult.

Now that they have their jewelry, the next milestone will be their first flights. The usual window for fledging is 35 to 42 days with males tending to fly earlier than the heavier females. They will both be 35 days old on June 17th. Most seem to take off while still sporting a tuft or two of white down, which is soon lost.

In past years, one or more of the chicks have hopped out of the box to the roof ledge, or even the top of the box, before taking their first true flight. We will just have to wait to see what these two will do over the next two weeks or so!

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/13/2022

5/13/22: First hatches

Everyone, it seems there is a limit to the number of computers that can watch the cam at a time. While it is fun to continually watch all the happenings in the nestbox, I would ask that you sign out when you are not actively watching so others, including at least one classroom, have a chance to enjoy the action.

The GVSU pair have hatched two chicks! The first one hatched between 9 and 9:30am this morning and the second was seen moments after it broke out of the shell, about 2:40pm this afternoon. The first chick has been fed, the second one will probably be fed soon, once it dries and recovers from the stress of hatching. Now the wait is on to see if the other two hatch in the next day or two.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/14/2022

4/14/22: Incubation continues

The GVSU peregrine pair are sitting on four eggs. #3 arrived in the early morning of April 7th and #4 showed up mid-morning on the 9th. It is common for peregrines to delay full incubation until the 3rd egg arrives in order to have the eggs hatch about the same time. This year, with an inexperienced male, the first two eggs were left uncovered for longer than usual during colder and wetter weather, so there are concerns that they may have been damaged. But nature is resilient, so we will just have to see what happens.

The usual time range for eggs to hatch is 33-35 days after full incubation begins. If we use April 7th as a start date, hatching can be expected around May 10th.

As for the Courthouse nestbox, a peregrine has been seen in the area a few times, but not as often as we would expect for a pair sitting on eggs. Any reports of peregrines seen in the vicinity of the courthouse, VanAndel Institute, or the Michigan Hill area would be appreciated!

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/01/2022

4/1/22: No joke – first egg for GVSU pair

The first egg for 2022 appeared this evening at 8:27pm, reported by Elaine F who was fortunate to be watching at that time. The female is the same as last year, but her mate is an unbanded male new to the nest this year. He may be the same male first seen back in November, but without a band it is impossible to know. We can expect the second egg within 48 hours, give or take.

The 2nd egg appeared about 3:09pm, April 4th.

Posted by: grperegrines | 12/13/2021

12/13/21: C/72 seen 12/12

This picture was sent to me by Lori L., who took it yesterday in the Overisel area of Allegan County. He is one of the males who fledged from GVSU’s Eberhard Center nest box in downtown Grand Rapids this past summer. How nice it is to see that he is doing well!

It looks like he is starting to lose his juvenile plumage, though that process won’t be complete until spring. He may still head further south for the winter, and is unlikely to show up in this area in the spring. He won’t be welcomed, but treated as an intruder if he visits Grand Rapids.

On a different note, I caught a glimpse of what might have been a peregrine on the NE corner of the Kent County Courthouse this week. That’s the first sighting I’ve had in months in that area. There was also a brief sighting of a strange peregrine in the GVSU nest box in mid-November. Otherwise, it has been a quiet fall for falcon activity.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/21/2021

6/21/21: Juvenile sightings

I hope you have checked on the nestbox camera at the right time during this last week to find one of the fledglings/juveniles in the box. Based on my own sightings and a few screenshots sent to me, they seem to spend a lot of their time there yelling for food. They are also spending a lot of time on the roof ledges on the Eberhard Center, especially those facing the river. On Sunday morning I got a brief view of one of the juveniles flying across the river toward the Plaza Towers. Traffic prevented me from seeing where it landed, but the flight looked very strong. I’m guessing the two adults are spending a lot of time on the Towers to avoid being constantly pestered by their hungry offspring. If things go the way they have the last two years, the juveniles will be moving away from the nestbox to parts unknown in just another week or two.

On Thursday we learned that one of the juveniles, C/74, was rescued a week or so ago, after a flight went wrong. He was sent to a licensed rehabber and recovered well enough that he was put back in the nestbox by our DNR biologist on Friday morning. He immediately flew out, so his recovery went very well. No details have been shared about where or when he was rescued, or what his injuries may have been. Luckily, this situation turned out well.

The DNR biologist also checked on the Courthouse nestbox when he was here on Friday. No adults were observed and only broken eggs were found in the box. It is unclear if that pair of adults have left the area, or are just hanging out in locations not easily observed. Personally, I am convinced that neither of the original nesting pair (2006-2019?) has survived, and newly mated birds often fail their first year together. Here’s hoping the new pair sticks around to try again next season.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/12/2021

6/12/21: Fledgling in box

This afternoon falcon watcher Lynn sent me the screenshot below, showing one of the babies in the box. I can’t think of any other way for it to have gotten there other than flying, so this is officially a fledgling! No idea which one, since the bands aren’t visible, but it is still good news. Here’s hoping the rest make an appearance soon!

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/06/2021

6/6/21: Out of the box, no worries yet

6/9/21 update: 3 of the 4 chicks have been located on various ledges at or below the level of the nestbox by a watcher in Plaza Towers across the river. The 4th has not been seen, but may be on a surface below the ledge level. First flights have not been witnessed, but are likely to happen in the next few days.

Several viewers noticed a chick out of the nestbox this morning. It was found on the ledge to the north (left side of camera view) of the box, with an adult and possibly some food nearby. Then a second chick seems to have joined it. This has happened in previous years, and the chicks have been able to get back into the box if they want. Based on the amount of down still visible on the chicks, it should be a day or two before any try taking off.

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