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Peregrine Falcons



2016 Brood

Female Watching Banding Process

Friday, June 3, 2016, Grand Haven — MDNR Wildlife Biologist Nik Kalejs and Grand Haven Board of Light and Power employee’s John Harloff and Matt McKee made the 240 foot climb up the chimney at the J.B. Sims Generating Facility for the banding of this year’s Peregrine Falcon brood. The BLP nest site has produced fourteen broods for a total of 38 chicks since the first pair of wild Peregrine Falcons began nesting on the Grand Haven power plant’s chimney in 2001.

Wildlife Biologist Kalejs reported four healthy chicks, called eyas, in the nest box.

“I believe this is a new pair of adult Peregrines for the BLP nest site and it’s nice to have the birds back in Grand Haven,” reported Kalejs. “The Grand Haven nest site is West Michigan’s first site for banding these birds in the DNR’s Peregrine Falcon banding program,” Kalejs added.

According to Kalejs, it can be difficult to determine gender in the young birds.

“Determining gender is based on the size of the bird and their talons,” stated Kalejs. “Based on the size of the chicks, this year’s brood produced three females and one male. Overall, the chicks appear to be solid health wise,” Kalejs reported.

Peregrine Falcons have produced chicks at the BLP’s nest site each year beginning spring 2001 through spring 2013, and again this spring 2016. With this year’s brood, the Grand Haven site has produced and banded 23 females and 15 males.

Peregrine Falcons were listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1970, after their Midwest population was eliminated in the mid-1960s due to problems with the pesticide DDT.  In 1999, following extensive restoration efforts, the Peregrine Falcon was removed from the federally endangered species list, but it remains on the Michigan endangered species list.

“Restoration efforts have come a long way and can be attributed to restrictions on the use of pesticides, including DDT, man-made structures, and hacking programs,” Kalejs commented.

Renee Molyneux, BLP Administrative Services Manager reported, “Our employees look forward to the falcon brood banding each year, asking months in advance if they may assist. This year’s crew included Matt McKee, Senior Meter Reader and John Harloff, Operations Supervisor, who have both assisted Nik Kalejs with the banding process in past years.

Grand Haven area birdwatchers can watch the Peregrine Falcons from Linear Park on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.  The eyas will begin to learn to fly, or “fledge,” in three to four weeks and are expected to remain in the area until fall before migrating south for the winter.  Adult Peregrines will mate for life, and generally use the same nesting site each year.

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Female listening to brood during banding

View the Peregrine Falcon cam