Detroit Falcons - 2004

Judy Yerkey has been kind enough to send us a number of photos of the Detroit area Peregrine Falcons. As many of you know already, Judy has been working with the Peregrine Reintroduction program in Detroit for many years now. More of her photos will appear here in the future. Many of her poems also grace our Gallery page.

Better late than never, here's a holiday greeting from Judy. Judy has recently retired & moved up north where it sounds like she's really enjoying the winter weather. Best wishes to Judy from all of her friends in Macomb Audubon.

You can contact Judy Yerkey by e-mail at

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Meet "Fred", the new female Peregrine now residing in Flint, MI. She and her mate "Ethel" have been in Flint since the summer of 2003. The story of how "Fred" and "Ethel" got their names is below.

19 January 2004

Last summer I was in-touch with the Flint Journal. A peregrine pair had been seen around their city. The photos of the female were labeled Fred were from someone in Flint because it was thought that the male was the larger of the pair. (the male they called Ethel).

A person fron USFW was able to read a 7/5 on the female's black band and only a partial (1807-133??) on the silver one. Those bands were not listed in TRC (Dr. Tordoff) annual ""Finders List" (band #/origins, etc.).

This January, Karen Young (Huron Valley Bird Rescue) received a "grounded" 1st yr. female peregrine with telemetry in Dearborn, Michigan. The bird was Miriam - a Toronto, ON release (hacked). Her colour band was black (89/H and her USFW band was silver (1807-27754). Both Karen and I were "in-touch" with the Toronto Biologist, Mark Nash. (He had expressed interest in visiting the southeast MI (wild) sites. As I had been trying since last summer to find that Flint female's ID, I e-mailed Mark with what I had of the Flint female's bands.

Whoooopie! Bingo! He sent me that photo of Majesty (note black band with the 7/5 (she is the one in the left corner in the photo below). Note how she has retained the "boxy-shaped" "light-bridge" between her eyes. The pair are still present in Flint.

2002 Toronto brood. "Fred" is in the far left corner.

If you're interested in checking out the Toronto web site to see more photos of Majesty and her siblings, here are some good links: - the Peregrine Foundation site. - Project Release. - Project Track-Em.

Karen Young had rehabbed the Toronto bird with the telemetry, Miriam (h) 2003 (also from the Richmond Hill site. While Miriam's telemetry was removed and returned to Toronto, her tracking after she was released is on the Project Track-Em site. It was interesting to see how she "bounced-around" Canada before "hoppin'-on-over-to-here"! Use the then check the Richmond Hill site. It starts with 2003. Scroll down to 2002 for Majesty.

The S'e MI peregrines are still "on-site". Early courtship/bonding is in progress at all sites! The Book site young were last seen mid-November. Sunrise is still "hangin'-on" to Allegro. (Stay Tuned!)

Happy 2004 to all.


Update as of 23 May 2004

The nesting attempt by Majesty (Large-sized male) (Toronto ON 2002) and his unidentified young mate failed!

The young age of the pair is suspected as the cause.


Roosevelt - Kil-So-Quah's daddy. Freedom - Kil-So-Quah's momma.

I have put together an (1 generation) "Family Tree" for the falcon Kil-So-Quah who has been wintering at the Detroit Edison River Rouge/nesting at National Steel. Her father, Roosevelt (w.p. Columbus, Oh 1995), is the Detroit Edison Power Plant tiercel, Leopold's brother! That makes Leopold her uncle, and his mate, Monroe, her... aunt-by -"pair-bonding"!


Photos of Freedom and Roosevelt come to us from the web cam at One Summit Square Bldg., Ft. Wayne, IN.

Get Outta Here! shouts Kil-So-Quah. Click here for full sized image.
Do Not Approach! says Leopold - click here for full sized image.
Get Outta Here! shouts Kil-So-Quah.
Click here for full sized image.
Do Not Approach! says Leopold.
Click here for full sized image.

Above are a photos of Kil-So-Quah herself and her uncle Leopold, brother K-S-Q's father Roosevelt. Neither of them is looking particularly welcoming, as Judy's captions might indicate.

10 March 2004:

Book: (Sara/Gregory) - copulation has been seen these past 2 weeks.

New Center: (Sammy F/"Hunnie") - "courtship-in-progress" (copulation not observed).

Monroe: (Monroe/Leopold) - Monroe appears to "have-eggs" (but not ready to lay - yet). It appears that they have picked the back I-beam (again) only this time it is the centre section (last year - north end section). It was Leopold's turn to "excavate-the pigeon-dung strata" in the beam.

River Rouge: neither of the birds (Kil-So-Quah/"Sweetie") were seen by me. They have been seen (and photographed) recently by various employees at the plant. I know (e-mails from the food processing plant directly across the Detroit River in Canada) that the birds "hang-out" there and at the adjacent buildings from time to time.

Whittier:> No birds seen in my morning stop. I saw Sunrise in my afternoon stop. She was landing on various ledges and calling and "croaking". She flew east past the apartment (perhaps landing on the east side of that building, which is out of sight). I had seen Allegro last week.


Recent information regarding our southeast MI peregrines showing-up/nesting in Ohio is being sent to me by Juanita S. Woods, Volunteer Researcher and the ODNR. The ODNR and I have been "sharing" the "Soaps" occurring in both states regarding ours & their peregrines ever since Sunrise's arrival (and escapades) in Detroit 1993!

Pop and Judy's great-grand-sons (Wilbur and Orville) were fledged in Dayton Ohio 2003. Orville has just appeared at the Rhodes Tower in Columbus, OH.

Juanita also sent me an e-mail with some details about Pop and Judy's daughter Clearpath's demise. I added the "Events..." to that letter. My comment is:

"Clearpath - the "feather-donor".
I pass this info, re: Clearpath, on to you to demonstrate that this is what happens when a bird/animal dies. They can become "donors" that can "re-animate" one that, otherwise may have had to be "put-down". Isn't modern medicine great?


Web Editor's Note: Judy has sent along a falcon family tree of "Pops' Dynasty". It will appear here in the near future - as soon as I work out how to display it.


5 April 2004:

Kaz e-mailed that he had seen a 2nd female while I was up north. And the "Soap" goes on! Another exciting chapter of "Falcon Follies!"

I went to the New Center Saturday, 3 April for 4 hours. When I arrived, Sammy F was incubating. "Hunnie" landed on the dome to visit her, then went back up to the towers. Later I saw him flying with the 2nd female. Sammy F left the nest to fly with them. (Sammy F appears lighter because she has moulted. These are nice - clean feathers!). I did not see or hear any aggression when the 3 were in flight. I could not get a good look at the 2nd female except that she was smaller than SF but some larger than "Hunnie". He went into the nest for a few minutes then went up to the towers. Sammy F went into the nest. I checked all 4 sides of the Fisher Bldg. from the surrounding blocks - didn't see "Hunnie" or his "other-woman".

When I got back around to the front of the Fisher Bldg., I saw "Hunnie" eating a Flicker at the west side of the Argonaut Building. He took the other half of it to Sammy F. She took it across the Boulevard to eat it on the top of that corner building. When she was finished, "Hunnie" flew to her - Copulation! All I can figure is that perhaps (since I saw her incubating 28 March) SF ate an egg (I have seen this happen at the Whittier site) and is still in "the-mode" (egg forming) - hence the "romantic interlude"!

My concern is "Hunnie" - so far he is not doing a decent "nest relief"! It is still early enough in the season for a re-nest if this one fails! I wonder if "Hunnie" is a great-grandson of Pop (the first documented "errant-male" - with his tryst with Sunrise (Fisher Bldg. while his wife was on-nest at the Book Bldg., downtown, Detroit 1993! Being unbanded, we will never know.

The Book, Monroe and River Rouge pairs are all on-nest! The Whittier pair, Sunrise and Allegro, are still together (for now). No nesting yet. Stay Tuned!

Sammy F On Nest

Heeres Sammy F! 7 April 2004

Kaz had seen 1 egg in the eyrie on Monday, 5 April and 2 eggs on Tuesday, 6 April. There were 2 eggs yet in the eyrie on 7 April. She may lay the 3rd today - or not! This nesting has been and is an enigma. I believe this to be the 2nd attempt. "Hunnie" still guards and feeds her but his nest relief is brief (although yesterday it appeared to be quite warm in the back of the dome with the sun directly on it. Copulation was observed yesterday (she called him out of his only nest-relief for a "romantic-interlude"). I was granted permission (thru Kaz) to use the 12'th floor of the Cadillac Place (it is an I.T. lab). I still wear the photo ID badge given me when the building was GM. The security accepts that!

P.S. Nothing happening at the Whittier site - yet. The pair, Sunrise and Allegro are still present and sitting at/near the "usual" eyrie (12th floor south face/east section window-well).

Stay Tuned

They've hatched!

Hatching at the Fisher Building and more Soap - 8 May 2004

No hatching was observed 5 May, however the falcon, Sammy F was sitting rather high, quite restless, and breathing heavy. I saw 2 (medium-dark) eggs. I could not see the 3rd egg but it may have been behind the dome which obscured my view. It was possible that the egg(s) were "pipping".

When I checked 7 May, Sammy F was sitting high. I could see spatters of "white-wash" under her tail area. There was a half of an empty egg shell on her right. When she rose up to leave I saw 2 young! One may have hatched 6 May, the 2nd one - 7 May (the youngster on your left was still sitting in half of it's shell! The rest of the 1/2 shells were scattered about the eyrie. I did not see the 3rd (palest) egg (behind dome?).

I had the 6th through the 8th marked on my calendar as possible hatch-dates for this site.

Later, when Sammy F left to take out the garbage after feeding the young a squab, a large adult female appeared at the site! When this new bird sat on a Fisher Building 6th floor eagle statue (directly in my view), her color band and part of her purple USFW band (749) were in plain view. (bl/gn 4/*A 1807-77749)! She is Alpha (wp) Rhodes State Tower, Columbus, OH 2001. After a few minutes, she flew off and was then chased to the east direction by Sammy F. SF returned to her young a few minutes, later as "Hunnie" flew around the towers and across to the roof area of Cadillac Place.


New Center "New Soap" - 21 May 2004

Alpha stretches her wings

The falcon, Alpha, (b/g) 4/*A 1807-77749 (wp) Rhodes State Tower, Columbus, OH 2002 was feeding Sammy Fs' young today. The whereabouts of Sammy F is, presently, unknown. I saw her last on Thursday, 13 May tending to her young. "Hunnie" continues to guard and hunt for the family.


(It reminded me of the year 2000 when falcon H was injured by a vehicle while she was fighting with a New York falcon for the territory. After H had been taken to the Huron Valley Bird Rescue, the New York falcon helped the tiercel, Speedster with the feeding of his 2 daughters. After the young fledged, one of them, Merrily Faye was injured by a 3rd falcon (unbanded juvenile “JJ”) and sent to TRC. The New York falcon took the youngster Lisa out of territory to avoid confrontations with “JJ”!)

I will check the site tomorrow Saturday to see if today's storms impacted the nest.

I set-up for tables in the 5th lobby of the Girl Scouts Office for the banding of the young Monday 24 May. Lisa Roseland (International Transmission Co. - Boom cranes) called me to let us know that should the weather be "uncooperative", Tuesday (25th) and Wednesday (26th) had been reserved as "alternates".


24 May 2004

Baby Pictures - Cadette, Samoa and Spirit after the banding.

From left to right: Cadet, Samoa and Spirit. Photo courtesy of Mark Houston of DTE Energy.

The banding went well. We popped the young girls into the nest box at around 9:50 P.M. (Alpha (the step-mom) knew where they were at. Both Alpha and "Hunnie" were guarding on the top of the C.P. section C when I left at 1:55 P.M. (they would not feed the chicks until all the earlier meal had emptied out of the kid's crop and they rested for a while. Kaz said they fed the kids at around 2 P.M.!

3 females were banded at the New Center, Detroit, Michigan - 24 May, 2004

(b/g) CBNUM
15 Days
17 Days
18 Days

The "step-mom", Alpha was indeed interested and protective of her adopted brood! After the 3 young were placed in the nest box, an observer on the street saw her enter the box. When we checked to make sure everything was OK, Alpha was on the perch-pole and entered the box. When I left at 1:55 P.M. - Alpha and "Hunnie" were guarding from the top 2 northwest corners of section C of the Cadillac Plaza. This was out of the young birds sight so that they would rest and not be soliciting from the parents!

The banding which took place in the 5th floor Michigan Metro Girl Scout office lobby went well. MDNR Wildlife Biologists, Timothy Payne and Joseph Robison banded the 3 young females.


Stepmom Alpha shows her front markings

Hatching at the Fisher Building and more Soap - 8 May 2004

Alpha is taking real good care of the 3 girls. She was able to feed a few bites to Cadette over the wall so we will replace those rails around the middle/latter part of next week.

Below are a few photos of Alpha and the girls.

Alpha feeding the three girls. Click for the full sized photo.            Alpha brings brunch. Click for the full sized photo.            Whattaya Got? asks Cadette. Click for the full sized photo.


Cadette is a boy!

Fisher Building Young - 9 June 2004

Today, I was able to get a good comparative look at the 3 young. Cadette (hd) 6 May - banded as female (b/g) 73/B 987-40116 is a male (smaller head, long -thin - talons (see picture above) and, is now the "shorter"/slimmer of the 3 young). Spirit (hd) 7 May 72/B 987-40115 and Samoa (hd) 9 May 71/B 987-40114.


Editor's note - Judy has a great eye. There is no way I could make out such details from such a distance.

Cadette is a boy!

New Center Young - 11 June 2004

I took these 11 June 2004. So far-so good with Alpha's care of these young. "Hunnie" has been a good dad - provides food and drives-off passing gulls and people on nearby rooftops!


Nest box is above, Cadette's position is below.

New Center Young - 14 & 15 June 2004

14 June - Cadette (wp) (b/g 73/B 987-40116 was "blown (backwards) off the perch pole by a strong gust of wind that accompanied a storm at 1 P.M.! Luckily he landed on the 4th floor ledge directly below the nest box! He was fed later by Alpha.

15 June - Cadette fledged today. This morning when I got down there he had only a small "bump" in his crop. There was no prey debris on the ledge to indicate that had been fed (except for a bite or 2). AhHa! Alpha is readying him for fledging! She fed the 2 girls inside the box so no stuff would drop down or he try to get up there. 11:50 A.M. - I saw him look up at Alpha (across the boulevard on her "centre-guard-corner". She apparently gave him the "nod" (I have seen parents actually "nod"). Away he went - east - over the middle islands with Alpha and "Hunnie" escorting! They got him to turn right and fly up (key word) to the 5th floor section B of the north face -Cadillac Plaza. Alpha and "Hunnie" promptly "disappeared" out of his sight (they could still see him). The people on that floor were ecstatic. I went up and asked if they would mind (quietly) dropping and closing the blind (I helped). They were more than willing to help. I told them to go about their business as usual (no need to "tip-toe"). When I reached the street, Cadette was settled-down in that shady recessed window ledge! Let's all hope things continue to go well.

It was great to see "Hunnie" still taking an active part in rearing his kids!

Below are a couple more pictures of Cadette.

Cadette looking particularly handsome. Click for the full sized photo.            Cadette is almost ready to fly. Click for the full sized photo.


New Monroe Female

Strange Goings On at the Monroe Site

Monroe Site, August 12th & 13th: This was the first time I had a chance to see the entire body of the female at the plant since June 3rd 2004! The bird that has been inside the nest I-beam observed July 16th is a new adult female! (Monroe was last seen June 3rd 2004)

When I arrived at the Power Plant, August 12th, she was perched on the top of the South yard building. I could see that she was smaller & slimmer and her back was darker than Monroe! One half-hour, later she returned to land, briefly, on the south building 7th level window ledge. She wore wide silver bands on both legs. The bands were clean and not shiny - they had a matte finish (like the "powdered"silver as seen on the new sport cars). She sat sideways and it appeared that the ID marking was only on the centre it may have been S/7 (?/?)! I could see the inside area of the right band - it did not appear to have numbers as seen on USFW bands (no markings on the inside). There was no evidence (red, green or purple areas) that the bands were of any other color! She bore a (medium-light/marked "bridge between her eyes and a "bar" across her cheek patch similar to that of Monroe's. Her Barring is medium dark/size/spaced. She has a medium-buff wash. Legs - medium yellow. This female is not as large as Monroe! August 13th she remained inside the beam from the time I arrived 9:15 A.M. - to when I left (rain) at 1:36 P.M.!

The tiercel, Leopold is still present (read his color band) (b/r) N/*4! He is not paying any attention to this female! There are no "conversations" (vocalizing) between the two. The pair, apparently, hunt for themselves (I have not seen him bringing her food) She may take her meal in early in the morning. I am at a loss as to why she exhibits incubation behavior (sitting-positions and body movements as if pushing something underneath her and scraping/digging when she moves).

  1. Could she be incubating a "non-viable" egg (either hers or one left by Monroe)? Dave Hogan's Goshawk continued to sit on a "dead" egg until he finally had to get her off and remove the egg! Or ...
  2. Is she merely "accommodating" herself in that beam for next year's nesting?

Monroe Site, August 16th:The resident falcon, Monroe, (b/r) E/K 1807-53879 (wp) Gary, IN 1998 showed up today (16 August 2004 12:05 P.M.) and dropped a portion of a pigeon into the I-beam (I read her bands). The new female jumped up to the edge of the beam, momentarily, as Monroe left. Leopold had been perched on a north yard structure all morning and left soon after to follow Monroe. (a note) - the new female had retrieved a portion of Red-winged Blackbird from the top of the south yard building at 11:34 this morning. I was not able to see/read the new female's bands (she returned into the beam within seconds both times).


September 8 - Samoa, one of this year's three young New Center Falcons, was found at Bowling Green, OH next to the Bowling Green State University football stadium on Sunday August 22, 2004. The bird was taken to Nature's Nursery in Whitehouse, Lucas County, OH for rehabilitation. The initial exam showed head trauma and an injury to the right wing. X-rays reveled no breaks in the wing bones. As of August 30, 2004, the bird is eating well, the head trauma has been treated and there is a slight droop to the wing. The bird is in a medium flight cage. Upon further improvement it will be moved to a large flight cage for conditioning.

Judy adds that Samoa should be okay by the first part of October and will be released somewhere in Ohio at that time.

The book, "Return of the Peregrine" by the World Center for Birds of Prey (Peregrine Fund) is out. It is loaded with history,data, photos, etc. from the very beginning of the peregrine restoration efforts to the present. (2 of my photos are in there!) The book can be ordered by visiting their web site:



The September 2003 edition of her Peregrine Prattle newsletter can be read here (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). Also, here is a letter from Judy to her subscribers and supporters around the country. I've been assured that Judy will continue to monitor the falcons and that new issues of Peregrine Prattle will be available on this web site in the future.

You can contact Judy Yerkey by e-mail at

Mike Goethe
Macomb Audubon Web Editor

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