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.

Posted by: grperegrines | 06/02/2021

6/2/21: Banding day results

I got the banding details from Nik Kalejs, the DNR biologist who did the banding:

  1. Male.  Federal band 1156-26750, right leg; color band Black C over Blue 72, left leg.
  2. Female.  Federal band 1947-33165, right; Black 35 over Blue K, left.
  3. Male.  Federal band 1156-26751, right; Black C over Blue 73, left.
  4. Male.  Federal band 1156-26752, right; Black C over Blue 74, left.

So, like the adults, any falcon with a blue number is male and a blue letter is female.

The chicks are 28-30 days old today, so hopefully we have a week or so before any of them tries taking off. Generally, the only visible down on the chicks when they fledge is a tuft on their heads. Amazing to think that one or two will be there by this time next week! Note that the female will be larger than her brothers and take longer to take off due to her slightly higher weight. Look for Mom or Dad to fly in front of the box with food in their talons, to coax the chicks into taking off. The adults will feed the chicks for the next month or more, dropping food off on nearby ledges. Once the juveniles are flying better, they will try to take food from their parents. It takes some practice to learn how to catch a bird on the wing, but by the end of the summer, they will be independent and migrating by themselves.

On a related topic, Nik checked on the Kent County Courthouse nest box. He found an adult falcon sitting on eggs. While this is late for peregrines to be hatching chicks, it is not unknown here in GR. Back in 2011, the courthouse pair had a single chick that hatched on June 6th. I think this is more common with first time pairs, when it takes them longer to decide to make it a match.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/26/2021

5/26/2021: Banding set for Friday 5/28

Banding postponed until 2pm, when weather conditions are expected to be better.

The four chicks in the GVSU nestbox are growing fast. At 3 weeks old, it is time for them to get the jewelry that will let us identify them individually. The DNR biologists currently plan to do the banding on Friday, about 10 am. That may change if weather conditions make it difficult.

First flights can happen as early as 35 days old or as late as 42 days old. The smaller males take off earlier than the larger females. Watch for wing practice to make the nestbox look small in another week or so, as their true feathers replace their white fluff.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/05/2021

5/5/2021: #4 is here!

Finally we got a view that clearly showed 4 chicks. The fourth is already fluffy and up ready to be fed, so it hatched sometime earlier this morning.

Now we get to watch them grow for more than a month before they are ready to fly.

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