Posted by: grperegrines | 05/13/2019

5/13/19: Two pips

As of noon today, it appears that hatching has begun in two of the three remaining eggs.  One egg has a large pip and a second egg is showing a light spot which we think is a pip just forming.  Stay tuned!

9:25pm As darkness fell in the nest box, Mom was sitting tight on 3 eggs.  Hoping to see 2 chicks in the morning.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/11/2019

5/11/19: First hatch – GVSU

5/12/19 Morning UPDATE:  It seems that the first egg has failed to hatch and been removed by the adults.  See the comments below.

At about 2:04pm, the eggs were revealed during a shift change and a cracked egg was visible.  Hopefully the new chick will be completely out of the egg the next time we get a look.first hatch 2019

Update:  I think I was wrong when I said there was a crack in the egg in the picture above.  At 8:10pm I got a glimpse of an egg with a large pip – the first glimpse I’ve gotten since I grabbed that screen shot.  It can take 24 hours for a chick to make its way out of an egg, so nothing to be worried about yet.  But I’d really like to find out that the first chick has hatched and I was seeing a second pipped egg.  By the way, the adults do not help the chick hatch.  It’s the first test of fitness – if the chick can’t make it out of the egg on its own, it would be unlikely to survive anyway.

Posted by: grperegrines | 05/02/2019

5/2/19: Hatching time approaches

This morning I was lucky enough to see an adult from each of our downtown pairs.  One of the GVSU adults was on a ledge on the south side of the Marriott Hotel and one of the Courthouse adults was on the northeast corner of the courthouse, below the nest box.  Neither of the adults sitting on the eggs were visible.

If we count from the laying of the 2nd egg for the GVSU pair on April 6, their first hatch can be expected anywhere from May 8 to May 12 (33-35 days after full incubation starts).  We’ll be likely to see the newly hatched chick on the nest cam shortly after it hatches, unless that takes place at night.  We may also see a “pip”, or small hole, in an egg as much as 24 hours before the chick actually hatches.

The Courthouse pair were already fully incubating when I observed them on April 3, so hatching could begin there any time now.  Unfortunately, the chicks aren’t big enough or active enough to be seen above the ledge of the box until they are about a week old.  (The best vantage point is from the top of GRCC’s Lyon St. parking ramp.)  Fortunately, the female’s brooding position is higher than her incubating position, and that can alert us to the presence of chicks.  I didn’t see that brooding stance this morning, so I don’t think there are chicks yet.

I’m not able to watch the GVSU nest cam constantly, so I appreciate updates from those of you who are able to watch often.

Posted by: grperegrines | 04/09/2019

4/9/19: Third egg for GVSU

A/20 has laid a 3rd egg in the nest box on GVSU’s Eberhard Center.  (Thank you, Kathy R, for letting us know you got a glimpse!)  We don’t know exactly when it was laid, though a few of us were suspicious just before it got too dark to see anything clearly on the nest cam yesterday evening.  If a fourth egg is on the way, I’d expect it over night on Wednesday or sometime on Thursday.

You may have noticed that the falcons left the first egg uncovered most of the time, basically until the 2nd egg was laid late Saturday afternoon.  While full incubation usually starts after several eggs are laid, I was concerned that the egg might have cooled too much if they didn’t cover it at least some of the time at night.   It was a relief when the adults began covering the eggs most of the time after #2 arrived.  All of that to say that I won’t be surprised if the first egg does not hatch.

Now that full incubation has probably begun, the eggs may safely be left uncovered for a time when the adults change places or if the falcon on the egg moves to the front of the box to defend the nest from some type of threat.  That’s especially true if the temperatures are well above freezing.

Peregrine eggs need to be incubated for 33-35 days before hatching.  More about that in a later post.



Posted by: grperegrines | 04/04/2019

4/4/19: First egg at GVSU

We’ve been on egg watch for what feels like forever, but finally A/20 laid her first egg just before noon today.  Now to see how many more she will lay over the next week or so.  It is always amazing to see how instinct kicks in with young birds.  A/20 is already doing a good job of incubating.  Addition: A/20 has not been completely covering the egg for long stretches.  Seems this first time Mom hasn’t gotten comfortable with the egg under her.  On the plus side, it isn’t cold enough to damage the egg, and full-time incubation often doesn’t start until the clutch is nearly complete.  Quick way to tell the adults apart:  A/20 has quite a few dark markings on her upper chest and in front of her wings, while the male has a mostly clean upper chest and fewer spots in front of his wings.  The male is also noticeably smaller than the female.

first egg 2019 (2)

About 8:30 this morning, I observed a pair of peregrines mating on the East roof ledge of the courthouse.  The male (not sure if he’s banded) perched on the NE corner of the roof ledge.  The unbanded female entered the nest box, did some rearranging, and settled down in the box out of sight.  Then she reappeared at the front of the box for a few minutes, before again rearranging something and laying down.  Usually the adults only lay that flat when there are eggs, hence the conclusion that she is incubating.  That they are still mating, and that she isn’t on the eggs full time, suggests the clutch isn’t complete.  All I think we can say right now is that one or more eggs were laid by early morning, April 3.

At the time of this writing, there is no egg in the GVSU nest box, but A/20 has been spending a lot of time there, even at night.  It would make life easier come banding time if eggs in both nests were laid about the same time.  Stay tuned!

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/27/2019

3/27/19: Welcome to GR, A/20

With the help of viewer Sue’s screenshot, and confirmation from our DNR biologist, we’ve been able to read the number on our female’s blue band as a 20.  So, here’s the information about her from the Midwest Peregrine Society’s database:

A/20, Female, unnamed, hatched on a smokestack at Schahfer Plant, Wheatfield, Indiana, and banded on 5/18/17.  (This power plant is 15-20 miles south of Valparaiso, IN.)

Several viewers have also provided screenshots that confirm we have the same male as the last two years – black sideways R over an unreadable band.  He is also from Indiana, but we don’t know specific details.

A/20 has been spending a lot of time in the nest box, doing some rearranging and seeing if the depression fits her.  Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait until mid-April for eggs!

Posted by: grperegrines | 03/24/2019

3/24/19: Another new girl in town

If you have been watching the GVSU nest cam this past week, you might have gotten a glimpse of a falcon with a black over blue band on her left leg.  So far we’ve been able to figure out she has an A on her black band, but not the numbers on her blue band.  According to the Midwest Peregrine Society’s database, there are 25 or so possible females hatched in Wisconsin, Indiana, or Kentucky in 2017 or 2018.  Hopefully, she will accept our male, the same one as last year, and we’ll have lots of opportunities to read those numbers while watching her tend to her chicks.  I think I mentioned before that new pairs take some time to get their act together, so it is hard to know when to expect eggs.  In Majestic’s first season, 2017, the first egg was laid in mid-April.

As for the Courthouse nest site, a pair of falcons have been observed several times on the building and in the nest box, but it is very hard to see any band information.  So, we are still waiting to confirm that that we are seeing two different pairs.


Posted by: grperegrines | 03/18/2019

3/18/19: One pair, or two?

While I was downtown this afternoon I was able to check on the Courthouse nest box area.  A pair of peregrines spent a considerable amount of time on the Courthouse, including one going inside the box.  I expect they were doing something similar to what the falcons visible on the GVSU nest cam were doing yesterday.

When I got home I was hoping to see a pair of falcons on the nest cam continuing their prep of the GVSU nest box, but nope.  There wasn’t a repeat of Sunday’s long visit, at least not between 3pm and dark.  The male did perch on the front rail for a time, but I didn’t see the pair together.

So, the question remains – do we have two peregrine pairs again this year, or just one pair that has been checking out both boxes?  It is also possible that two males are courting the same female, who hasn’t made up her mind yet.

Since I can’t watch either the nest cam or the Courthouse box constantly,  I really need your help.  Please email me a brief summary of the peregrine activity you see, including when you saw it.  I’ll compare reports to see if falcons were present in both places at the same time, or not.

If the falcons keep to last year’s schedule the first eggs could be laid by the end of this week.  However, new pairs tend to need more time to get their act together, so it could be April before they make a final choice.  Stay tuned!

Posted by: grperegrines | 02/23/2019

2/23/19: More info on Majestic’s rescue

Here’s the story, paraphrased from several emails.  A big thank you to all who were involved!

Bill Lucksted (GVSU Facilities falcon contact person) was notified mid-afternoon on Wednesday that a peregrine had been on the ground since about 9 am. The location was outside a corner of the Engineering building that’s attached to the Eberhard Center and the peregrine was right outside a large wall of windows where employees had been watching it all day.  Bill asked for help from Elaine Fleming, an experienced falcon watcher.  According to Elaine, Majestic had no visible injuries, but her location made a window strike a reasonable guess.

The two of them tried to contact the Wildlife Rehab Center, but the Center wouldn’t open for intake until 5pm.  So, they put Majestic in a box for transport.  Elaine was on the way to the Center to wait until 5pm, when she got a message from Allison, who is one of the Center’s licensed rehabbers.  Allison asked for the falcon to be brought to her house, and she would then take Majestic to the Center, which she did.  I’m sure the Wildlife Rehab Center’s staff did all they could, but Majestic’s condition was too poor.

The peregrines nesting in Grand Rapids are fortunate to have so many willing and able to help them out when needed.

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