Posted by: grperegrines | 05/17/2017

5/17/17: Courthouse nest update

It looks like there are one or more chicks in the Courthouse nest box now.   There was an adult standing at the front of the box when I arrived, then it moved back into the box, snuggled something(s) underneath it and settled down so only its wing tips were visible.  The snuggling looked different than the egg rolling I’ve seen during incubation and that’s why I’m so sure there is/are chick(s).   My best guess is that these chicks will be a few days older than the GVSU chicks, but still too small to see unless positioned just right during a feeding.  Hopefully I’ll get lucky and catch a feeding next week and have a chance to determine their age.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/16/2017

5/16/17: 2 chicks in GVSU nest box

I’m glad to announce that there are now two chicks visible in the GVSU nest box.  The pips were noticed yesterday.  The first chick hatched shortly after 8am this morning and the second hatched about 4:30pm this afternoon.  We’ll have fun watching these little ones grow day by day!  Camera website is here.

Thanks to those who sent pictures and updates!

(I expect to post an update on the Courthouse nest tomorrow afternoon.)

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/08/2017

5/8/17: Waiting, waiting

5/12/17 Update:  The two eggs in the GVSU nest box are still intact and I didn’t see the change in posture that means hatching in the Courthouse nest box either.

No sign of hatching in either nest box yet, but I’m hopeful we’ll see action some time during this week.

My first guess as to when the Courthouse eggs were laid was obviously wrong, but I’m pretty sure there were eggs in the Courthouse box by April 3.  Incubation is usually 33-35 days, which means something should happen this week, even if full incubation didn’t begin until a few days later, when all the eggs were laid.

Two intact eggs were seen on the GVSU nest cam yesterday.  We aren’t sure when these eggs were laid either, but most likely incubation was occuring by April 10.  At least we’ll be able to pinpoint when hatching occurs, thanks to the cam.


Posted by: grperegrines | 04/28/2017

4/28/17: Good news: a 2015 juvenile seen in Ohio

Earlier this week I got an email with some information on one of the males that fledged from the Courthouse nest box in 2015.  98/P was seen and photographed on the Route 82 bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park south of Cleveland.   (The full report can be seen on C&C’s Ohio Peregrine Page on Facebook here.)

The two males that successfully fledged that year were quite active and showed a lot of flying prowess early, so I’m not surprised that at least one of them has survived.  (I think it helped that they had each other to chase!)

Many thanks to Joanne in Ohio, who took the photos that allowed the identification, and to Barb from Peregrine Falcons Southeast Michigan, who forwarded the information to me.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/26/2017

4/26/17: No hatching yet

Peregrines continue to sit on eggs in both the Courthouse and Eberhard Center nest boxes.

If the Courthouse eggs were laid in the last week of March, as I suspect, then hatching could occur as early as this weekend.  Remember that we can’t see the bottom of the nest box so we don’t know how many eggs they have and we may not see the chicks for a week or two after hatching.  However, the adults will behave differently after hatching.  They will sit up higher when brooding chicks and we may catch feeding behavior.  As of today, the falcon in the nest box was down low in incubation position.

We don’t know when the eggs were laid in the Eberhard nest box, as they already had their full clutch of eggs when the camera was adjusted on April 13th.  Based on the reports, I’m guessing eggs were laid in early April, so hatching will likely be a week or more after the Courthouse hatching.  The good news is that we may see signs of hatching before it occurs.  Look for a small hole to appear as the chick tries to break out.  The process can take 24 hours and the adults don’t help. (If a chick can’t get out of the egg on its own, it probably isn’t strong enough to survive anyway.)  Typically, the eggs hatch within a day or two of each other.

If you have been watching the Eberhard nest cam, you may have noticed that there are now only two eggs present.  The loss of the third egg was noticed on the evening of April 20 and no evidence of the egg could be seen in the box.  Falcons typically dispose of eggs that get broken or are somehow recognized as infertile.  If you happened to see what happened to that third egg, please contact me!

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/12/2017

4/12/17: Incubation and second nest!

UPDATE:  As noted in the comment below, they were able to move the camera in the GVSU nest box by remote control so we can now watch the falcons incubate their three eggs, and hopefully, raise their chicks.  This confirms that we have TWO active nests.  If you should be able to read any leg bands on the adults, please let me know!

Earlier this week I was finally able to see with my own eyes that we have a falcon incubating eggs in the Courthouse nest box.  My best guess is that incubation started during the last week of March. (That would put hatching in late April or possibly early May.)

But on the same day I confirmed incubation, I heard the news that falcons are using the nest box that faces the river on top of GVSU’s Eberhard Center.  There is a camera in that nest box, but over the years it has moved so only the far edge of the box can be seen.  That means that a falcon wing or tail shows up occasionally and there is no way to tell if there are eggs present.  Chances are that no adjustments will be made to the camera until the breeding season is definitely over, or until no falcons have been seen there for some time.

The Eberhard Center nest cam can be found here.

Please continue to send me where and when you are seeing falcons in the downtown area.  Every bit of information will help us figure out if we really do have a second pair.

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/03/2017

3/3/17: Breeding season

The falcons have been spending more time in the Michigan Hill area than earlier in the winter.  I’ve caught a few glimpses of a falcon perched on a corner of the courthouse, but have yet to see one in the nest box.  Last week I saw both adults perched on the letters on the west side of the MSU/Secchia building.  A few weeks ago I was sent a picture of pigeons remains on the sidewalk on that side of the building, further evidence that the peregrines are spending time there.  This morning I saw a falcon fly from the south side of MSU/Secchia to the State Building.

After a mild winter last year, the falcons laid eggs in the last week of March, which was early for them.  It will be interesting to see when they get around to egg laying this year.

As always, your observations are very helpful.

Posted by: grperegrines | 01/26/2017

1/25/17: First sighting of 2017

Late this afternoon I found a peregrine perched on a letter on the west side of the MSU/Secchia Center building.  I’ve been looking hard the few times I’ve been downtown this month, but no luck until today.  I expect the birds have simply been choosing to perch where they can stay relatively warm.  We’re about a month from the start of serious breeding activity, but hopefully the falcons will be checking out the courthouse before then.

My schedule has changed this winter and I’m not downtown as much.  Please consider letting me know each time you see a peregrine around downtown.  Date, time, and specific location of the sighting would be appreciated!

Posted by: grperegrines | 11/09/2016

11/9/16: Flying around

Early this afternoon I watched an adult peregrine falcon fly from the vicinity of the Kent County Courthouse toward the MSU/Secchia building and over to the State Building where I lost sight of it.  I’ve had a few reports of falcon sightings in the Michigan Hill area during the last few weeks, so we know they are still in the area.  Pigeons and starlings remain plentiful through the winter, which is the main reason these birds no longer bother to migrate south.  Juveniles, however, are pretty much kicked out of their parents’ territory and will migrate until they claim a territory of their own.

Speaking of juveniles, I recently found out that the second juvenile that was in rehab this summer was released.  I’m not sure just when, and I received no definite reports of a juvenile being sighted.  Maybe we’ll be lucky again and hear about one of our own nesting in a territory somewhere in North America.

Posted by: grperegrines | 09/07/2016

9/7/16: Juvenile last week?

Now that school has started, I’m downtown and able to watch for the falcons more often.  I’ve seen an adult perched on VanAndel Institute or MSU/Secchia several times. Last Wednesday, 8/31, I observed two falcons flying west from near Fountain St. Church.  They were only visible for a few seconds, but I think I was seeing a juvenile female (bigger and darker underneath) chasing an adult male (smaller and lighter underneath).  There is no way to know for sure, but it was exciting to think that one of this year’s offspring might have survived this long.   (On a related topic, I’ve not heard whether the second juvenile recovered enough to be released or not.  If I hear anything, I’ll pass it on.)

Keep your eyes open, this is raptor migration season.  Bald eagles, osprey, falcons, and hawks have all been seen along the river, even right downtown, during this time.

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