Downtown GR peregrine falcon chicks banded by DNR

May 25, 2018

May 24, 2018 Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center, peregrine falcon banded by Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists.
Credit GVSU University Communications

The peregrine falcon continues its Michigan comeback. This week wildlife biologists from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources banded a pair of chicks nesting in downtown Grand Rapids.

Overlooking the Grand River atop Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center is a rooftop nesting box. Inside are two peregrine falcon chicks, their parents circling overhead.

They’ve been disturbed by a team of Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists banding the chicks legs. On the right leg a band from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on the left a marker easily identifiable by birdwatcher binoculars.

The bands carry a unique identification number that the DNR says, “creates opportunities to study migration, behavior, social structures, life-span, population growth, survival rate and more in various classes of birds.”

It’s also a scientific way to observe the peregrine falcon’s population revival. Back in the 1960 the use of the pesticide DDT nearly drove the bird to extinction and in 1972 it was placed on the federal Endangered Species List. In the mid1980’s the peregrine falcon was reintroduced to Grand Rapids.

The Eberhard Center nesting box was installed nearly 10 years ago. Last year, two chicks were hatched there and again this month. Peregrine falcons nest in cliffs and mountainous ledges, in an urban setting they’ve adapted to tall buildings and smoke stacks.

A second downtown nesting box is located atop the 63rd District Court building.

The webcam can be viewed here:

Patrick Center, WGVU News.