Detroit Falcons - 2008

Kariann (Reno) Anderson is back for another year tracking our local Peregrine Falcons. Messages will be added as the season progresses. And don't forget to check out falcon pages from the previous few years.

Latest Update: June 24th, 2008

You can contact Kariann by e-mail at peregrine_notes@yahoo.com.

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April 12, 2008

This is going to be a BUSY season with two new sites and potentially more. I really need help with our New Mt. Clemens pair - I will need a volunteer to sit for approximately 4+ hours on the courthouse steps looking up to the nest site (NE corner) to witness nesting relief - anyone interested can contact me through e-mail.

Kariann


April 12, 2008

Kariann Anderson, SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator (DNR)

Peregrine Patrol Update! April 6th – April 12th

Note: photos are all courtesy of Barb Baldinger.

Macomb County Site, Mt. Clemens: Phil Frame (Media Representative for Macomb County) identified one egg on April 3, 2008. On Monday, April 7th I went to the county building to confirm nesting and was able to document that the female was indeed incubating (I did not flush her from her nest site, therefore I do not know the number of eggs laid at this time). Wednesday, April 9th Tim Payne (Supervisor Wildlife Division DNR) recommended that the web cam remain inactive at this time. It was suggested that we install and activate the web cam after the chicks are at least 20-days old (when they can thermo-regulate themselves). Friday, April 11th revealed an interesting dynamic change at our Macomb County site - Horus is no-longer the male contributing to our Macomb County Peregrine Pair nesting site. Barbara Baldinger (Peregrine Falcon Volunteer) and myself discovered that Horus is now attempting to nest on the Old Main building (Wayne State University Campus) in a balcony facing Cass Avenue.

Our new male has been identified as Nick (black over green band with 30 on the black and C on the green). Nick was born two years ago at the Whittier Hotel, Detroit. We are excited about the new nesting dynamics, possibly the Macomb County site will become productive again. Nick's mom (Miriam – from Ontario) is by far the most aggressive Peregrine I have encountered, it is likely that Nick (although much younger than our previous male Horus) was able to out compete Horus for this nesting site. It is not uncommon for a Peregrine to fight until death for a site, so although some Macomb County residents may be sad that Horus has left, I am happy that he is still alive and has established a new site for Peregrine Productivity in Detroit. Also, Nick’s dad (Allegro – from Ohio) comes from one of the most productive females in Peregrine history (Zenith – produced over 30 young in 9 years).

Below is a photo of Nick.

Nick, the male at the Mt. Clemens site

We are assuming at this point that Hathor (b/g *H/*4 – origin University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning (2003) arrived in Mt. Clemens 2005) is the female incubating, however she is sitting so tight on her nest that we have not yet had the opportunity to view her leg band.

Announcing two New Peregrine Falcon Nesting Sites, Detroit: Volunteer Barbara Baldinger was visiting St. Josephs Catholic Church (Jay Street) recently as part of her genealogy research and heard the call of not one but two Peregrine Falcons. Tuesday, April 8th we confirmed that the Peregrines have chosen this site and are attempting to nest. The bell tower is approximately 250 feet and the pair spends most of their time perched on light poles that extend near the peak of the tower. We were having difficulty determining male or female (both birds seem comparable in size through our spotting scopes down below). Barb jokingly said “We need them to mate so we can determine who our female is” – within the next 5-minutes we witnessed copulation! We have an unbanded male paired with a banded female (black over red with a sideways 2 on the black and an R on the red). I recently identified the origin of our female – introducing “Ihteram” she hatched May 9, 2005 at the Kodak Tower in Rochester, NY. Her parents are Mariah (mother) and Kaver (father) -- both unbanded peregrines! “Ihteram” means respect in Arabic. Prior to leaving the site, we noticed the pair enter a small hole in the screen over the windows near the top of the tower – apparently if they have started to lay eggs it will be on the inside of the church tower.

Here are photos of St. Joseph's Church. The falcons are on the belltower.

Two Peregrines on the belltower of St. Joseph's Church    Second View of St. Joseph's Church

The unbanded male is first below with Ihteram, the female, second.

Unbanded Male Peregrine by the nest site at St. Joseph's Church

Ihteram, the female falcon at St. Joseph's Church

While driving down Cass Avenue to monitor the Fisher building site, we were stopped at a traffic light next to the Old Main on WSU campus. It was a nice day so our windows were down, Barb and I both heard the calling of not one but two Peregrine Falcons. We have confirmed a male/female pair occupying the site. The male as noted above is Horus recently from our Macomb County site (Horus – b/g 89/P – origin Akron Ohio (2004) last known member of Pop’s Dynasty, arrived in Mt. Clemens 2005). We are not sure if the female is banded or not at this time. It appears that the pair has chosen the balcony below the clock facing Cass Avenue as their potential nest site (no eggs have been laid as of yet).

Below are first a photo of the Old Main Building at Wayne State, then a photo of Horus at the Wayne State site.

WSU Old Main Building

Horus at WSU

Whittier Hotel, Detroit: Tuesday, April 8th both Allegro (b/g V/G – origin Cleveland Ohio (1999) arrived at the Whittier, Detroit in 2000) and Miriam (blk 89/H – origin Richmond Hill Ontario (2003) arrived in Michigan (2004) and needed rehabilitation (found down in Dearborn) arrived at the Whittier, Detroit in 2005) confirmed at site and defending usual nesting balcony. No eggs have been laid as of yet, however we were able to witness copulation.

Below are a photo of the Whittier Building, followed by photos of Miriam and Allegro. The photos are from a previous year, but they're particularly good ones.

The Whittier Building in Detroit

Miriam, the female at the Whittier Building

Allegra, the male at the Whittier Building

Fisher Building, Detroit: Friday, March 14th our usual Peregrine pair Maume (b/g W/K – origin Summit Square Ft. Wayne Indiana (2002) arrived in Detroit 2004) and Alpha (b/g 4/*A – origin Columbus Ohio (2002) arrived at Fisher, Detroit as a step-mom in 2004) occupying the area and copulating. April 3rd a large piece of the building broke away just over the west nesting dome, workers spent most of the day and night securing the area for safety. Monday, April 7th nesting behavior started behind the East dome. Tuesday, April 8th no sign of either bird or that eggs had been laid as of yet. Friday, April 11th both birds present and copulating.

Below are a photo of the Fisher Building, followed by one of the falcons.

The Fisher Building

One of the peregrines at the Fisher Building

AT & T Building, Detroit: Park between AT & T building and Book Cadillac building has been replaced by a parking lot and a bus terminal is currently being constructed. The loss of this green-space has not deterred our pair from nesting. Tuesday, April 8th female incubating. Peregrine pair has chosen the usual balcony attached to the heat return. I have not yet been able to confirm if the pair is still Gregory (b/g S/S – origin Jackson St. Prison, Chicago IL (1999) arrived at Book Bldg, Detroit 2002) and Sara (b/r *3/V – origin Toledo, OH 1998 arrived in Michigan 2000, nesting at Ameritech since 2002).

We don't yet have photos for this site.

Kariann


April 15, 2008

I monitored the Mt. Clemens site in the morning hours - I was watching the female flying/perching for approximately 40 minutes (Yes it is still Hathor), then I saw the male pop up from the nesting ledge (confirmation that the new male Nick is sharing incubation and providing nest relief - good dad). They both starting communicating on the ledge, I saw my chance and took it. I went up into the county building and was able to look at the nest from a floor above and WOW - WE HAVE 4 EGGS! One of the parents was back on the nest within 3-5 minutes. Hatching may take place around May 14th or so.

Kariann


April 28, 2008

Kariann Anderson, SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator (DNR)

Peregrine Patrol Update!

April 21st – April 28th

Macomb County Site, Mt. Clemens: Hathor is indeed the female incubating at the Mt. Clemens site. I had witnessed a nest exchange on April 15th – during this time Nick left the nest and Hathor returned. We had 4-eggs at this time and incubation had started with both birds performing their incubation duties. Nick has been seen on several occasions chasing the Turkey Vultures around the county building, a bit more aggressive and focused than our Horus from previous years. I hope that his constant attack on the Vultures doesn’t hinder his abilities to keep those eggs warm enough. I would like to note that on Monday, April 21st at 7:00am both birds were spotted perching on the building ledges, it was a cold morning and I stayed for at least 10 minutes before one returned to the nest. I have no idea how long they were off the nest prior to my arrival, could be 1 minute or an hour – either way, the eggs were exposed to cold weather conditions for at least 10 minutes.

WSU Old Main and Fisher Building Mystery:

Saturday, April 26th a group of curious birders (Barb Baldinger, Myself, Tom Heatley, and Dan Miller) decided to try our best at figuring out the ‘Who’s Who’ around both the WSU Old Main building and our Fisher Site. Earlier in the week we discovered two birds (Horus and our unknown female) still occupying the WSU site, while trying to identify the female we noticed Horus flew from WSU campus straight down Cass Avenue toward the Fisher building. I watched, I watched, I watched and Horus flew right into the ‘other pairs’ territory – I would have expected an attack to take place, however it was quite. I mapped out the distance, the WSU site and the Fisher site are only 1.7 miles apart – if we had 4 peregrines in this proximity trying to nest surely we would see some territory disputes. I wondered if we had only two birds frequenting both sites? So the mystery wasn’t solved on Saturday, but we did come closer to understanding our new dynamics. The female at WSU is banded, all black band with 20 over W. The all black band suggests she is from Canada – I am still waiting for exact location. Also, with two spotters at WSU and two spotters at the Fisher at any given moment in that day we could only account for 3 birds (two females and one male).

Today, Monday April 28th we determined that the male at the Fisher site is indeed Horus. Horus was seen bringing the female food and copulating twice within the hour. Again, the usual female at the Fisher site is Maumee, however we were not able to read her band today – we do know for certain that it is a different female than our WSU site because the unknown Fisher Female has a band that is black over green. So the question is this: Is Horus playing the field? Is he seeking a new mate and courting both females at different potential nest sites? Or has he chosen the female at the Fisher site and has been trying to drive the WSU female off his territory? We have not seen Horus copulate or bring food to the female on WSU campus. We have heard much vocalization between the two and have seen several fly-by displays, which I assumed was courtship but could very well be territory defense. What we know for sure is that neither site, WSU or Fisher, has a nest.

Whittier Hotel, Detroit: Friday, April 18th- both Miriam and Allegro still present at the site. Incubation has begun and they have 4 eggs. Note: one egg looks like it may have a dent in it.

Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron: Monday, April 21st – Myself and MDOT confirm female is incubating on nest, not able to see number of eggs yet. Male is present and is unbanded similar to the male last year, however we cannot say for sure that we have the same male.

Kariann


May 13, 2008

We have two chicks at our Macomb County Site! One egg remains un-hatched at this time. We can project a banding event to take place approximately 18-23 days from now. At this time, Phil Frame would like to install the web cam so that our community members can enjoy watching our chicks grow-up and take their first flight. We will start the planning process for these events.

Kariann


May 24, 2008

Quick update for each site:

Blue Water Bridge site has three confirmed, possibly four chicks. Born approximately May 12th - 14th, currently 7-10 days old. Cannot confirm if we have the same adults at this time.

Mt. Clemens site has three confirmed chicks. Born approximately May 11th-14th, currently two chicks appear 10-11 days old and the third chick is a few days younger. New nesting dynamics, we still have adult female Hathor but we have a new male Nick (hatched at Whittier Hotel in 2006).

Whittier Hotel site has confirmed hatching, observed at least two complete egg shell fragments still in nesting balcony and saw a glimpse of white puff ball under Miriam on May 21st. Chick(s) born approximately May 18th-19th, currently 4-5 days old. Adults birds are the same this year, Allegro and Miriam.

Ameritech Building site has confirmed three chicks. Born approximately April 28th - May 1st, currently 22-25 days old (already has a pronounced tail, can stand and walk, but very little body contour feathers showing - still hidden by down). Adult Female is no-longer Sara, new female is unbanded. Have net yet seen adult male up-close to determine if it is Gregory.

Monroe Powerplant site has confirmed one chick (possibly more). Born approximately, May 1st - May 4th, currently 18-21 days old (already has heavy coat of second down, no body contour feathers visible). Both adult birds are banded, have not yet determined origins.

Fisher Building site no nesting. Adult male Maumee was found dead in February in Sterling Heghts area and delivered to me. New dynamics occurring at site include Horus (the old male from the Mt. Clemens site) was seen copulating and offering food to female (assuming same female at site Alpha but cannot confirm as of yet). Horus is also spending time down Cass Avenue with a female from Canada - have not yet found her origin. It appears that one egg was indeed laid behind the dome, however site was abandoned during disturbance of building maintenance.

University of Detroit Mercy site has confirmed nesting. Due to difficult angle of viewpoint I am unable to confirm hatching at this time.

St. Clair Power plant site no nesting. I visited the site and have determined where nesting has potentially occurred in previous years, however no Peregrine has been sighted at the plant since January.

St. Joesuph's Catholic Church site no nesting. Although it seems that our new potential nesting site has two adult Peregrines forming strong pair bond through several copulation attempts and showing nesting behavior by dropping into the bell tower frequently, no nest was observed the day we climbed the tower. We have an adult female banded, from Rochester New York and an unbanded male. Upon climbing the tower we discovered a dead female Peregrine who had been banded - Blaze 68/C (hatched May 8, 2005 at the Bohn Building, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio).

Ambassador Bridge site has confirmed nesting and is being monitored by Mark Nash, Canadian Peregrine Foundation. You can monitor the progress at http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/tops/windtop.html. I don't think they have seen any signs of hatching as of yet.

Hope ya'll have a wonderful weekend!

Kariann


June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 4th. We had a successful banding event today at the Blue Water Bridge site. Confirmation that the female (all black band 85/H) is the same female as the previous three years, Tonga was born in 2003 in Ontario and arrived at the Blue Water Bridge in 2005 when MDOT placed a nesting box under the bridge. She has produced 12 peregrine chicks in the four years (8 females and 4 males). The male is unbanded and has been her partner for two years, replacing the original male Dubya (origin Wisconsin). We banded three chicks (2 female and 1 male), all three appeared to be healthy (approximately 30 days old).

Our next banding event will take place in Mt. Clemens on Friday, June 6th at 9:30am. I believe Phil Frame (media rep for Macomb County) plans to broadcast the banding effort live over webcam (stay tuned to the Macomb County web cam site). We currently have three chicks at this site.

Unfortunately our Monroe site has had a run of bad luck. Last friday a chick jumped early from the nest, we were able to rescue the chick and it is currently undergoing rehabilitation. Today (Wednesday) I was notified that the adult female was found dead, leaving the adult male (Leopold) to raise the remaining two chicks and then also the third once we reintroduce her to the nest site. Examination of the bird does not show any broken bones, we will send her off to have a necropsis to determine the cause of death. I am thankful that the male Leopold is still alive and well at this site, for he is a 13 year old bird originating from Columbus Ohio and has held the Monroe Power Plant territory since 1997. This adult male is the only male I have ever witnessed performing more of the incubation than the female, he is truely a great dad.

Kariann Anderson
SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator, DNR.


June 16, 2008

Barb Baldinger has sent us some recent photos of the local peregrines, from the AT&T Building, the Whittier and U of D Mercy. No text this time, just some nice pictures.Below the photos is Keriann's latest Peregrine Patrol note.

Washington (male - b/r 26/A)

Washington (male - b/r 26/A)

Whittier Chicks 2008

Whittier Chicks 2008

AT&T Chick on nest ledge

AT&T Chick on nest ledge

U of D Mercy Bell Tower

U of D Mercy Bell Tower

U of D Mercy Two Young

U of D Mercy two young

Peregrine Patrol Update! June 16th

Macomb County Site, Mt. Clemens: Friday, June 6th our three young peregrine chicks were banded at the Macomb County site. The three chicks were 23-26 days old and appeared healthy. The three chicks were named: Clair (female - b/g *S/*Y) after Lake St. Clair, Clemintine (female - b/g *S/*X) after Mt. Clemens, and Lenny (male - b/g C/42) after a prominent figure for Mt. Clemens). Currently our chicks are available to view via the Macomb County web cam, notice that their down feathers are almost gone (now 33-36 days old). The chicks are very active and feeding without problem. We suspect that the chicks will begin trying to hop up onto the ledge within the next 10 days or so (around 45 days old) and first flight can take place anytime after that (ready or not). When the young perch onto a ledge they will spread their wings and flap, in practice for flight. In some cases, while doing this practice test a wind will catch underside their wing and off they go…usually the juvenile will glide to a perch (unfortunately, this perch may be too low for the adults to continue feeding or the peregrine may end up on the ground). If you are in the area and witness a first 'flight' please contact the building security at the County Building, they will contact me (your SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator) for a rescue.

At 7:00am this morning I noticed that one of our young peregrines has successfully jumped up to the lower ledge and is running back and forth. This bird may decide to test its wings today or in the next couple days. If you know of anyone who would like to just sit at the park across the river and watch, just in case, it would be extremely helpful. I also noticed that a second young peregrine is trying very hard to get up to the same ledge with its sibling - two on this small ledge will most likely result in one getting pushed early. Remember, the security at the Macomb County building is on alert and has my contact information. If a falcon should fledge and make it to a different roof-top or ends up on the ground I would like to be informed.

WSU Old Main and Fisher Building: No activity at the Old Main for at least a month. We believe that Horus has chosen the Fisher building female as his mate and the other female (unknown but banded from Canada) has since moved on. Our Fisher female is injured at this time, she will not utilize her left leg. She is flying strong, perching fine, and still feeding (not sure if she is actually capturing prey or if Horus is feeding her). Hopefully, time will heal.

Whittier Hotel, Detroit: Tuesday, June 10th our three young peregrine chicks were banded at the Whittier Hotel site. The three chicks were 23 days old and appeared healthy (except for some lice issues - but we gave them all a de-louse bath). The three chicks were named: Belle (female - b/g *S/*U) after Belle Isle), Whittier (male - b/r 25/A), and Washington (male - b/r 26/A) after the owner of the building.

Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron: Wednesday, June 4th our three young peregrine chicks were banded at the Blue Water Bridge site. The three chicks were approximately 33 days old and appeared healthy. The three chicks were named by a 5th grade class at Garfield Elementary in Port Huron. The names are: Falon (female b/g *M/*W), Saige (female b/g *S/*V), and Garfiled (male b/g C/41). Currently all three juveniles are still in the nest box, showing signs of first flight practice techniques such as lifting their wings and flapping. Young should be taking first 'flight' this week, if you should witness such event please contact an MDOT employee as soon as possible. If this peregrine should need rescue, an MDOT employee will contact my volunteer in Port Huron to assist.

University of Detroit Mercy: Monday, June 9th one of our 3 young peregrine chicks took first 'flight' and ended up perched only 5 feet from the ground. We believe the flight actually took place sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning during the high wind storms. DNR rescued the young peregrine and transferred the peregrine to our rehabilitator. This bird is scheduled to be reunited with its family unit sometime this week. We were able to band this bird (our first banded bird at this site since they have been producing chicks) and his name is Titan (male b/g 54/H) after their mascot. Peregrines have been nesting at the bell tower since 2004 and usually produce 3-4 healthy chicks each year. One of the adults is indeed banded, however the long distance and angle of view has made it difficult to read the band. We know it is black over green. If you have a spotting scope and oodles of time on your hands, please take the challenge and try to figure out the origin of our adult.

DTE Powerplant, Monroe: Wednesday, June 11th another young peregrine required our rescue at this site, therefore our rehabilitator has two of the three juveniles in captivity at this time. Leopold has been doing well with feeding the young without the assistance of the adult female (found dead first week of June). We plan to reunite the two peregrine juveniles with their family unit sometime this week.

AT&T, Detroit: Three young produced at this site. One juvenile still on nesting balcony ledge, one took first flight last week and ended up on a fifth floor fire-escape across the street (we tried to rescue, however the bird had strong horizontal flight and flew to another building). I hope over the weekend the parents were able to feed this young bird on the low perch, if not he/she will most likely jump down to the ground. The third bird is nowhere to be found.

Kariann Anderson, SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator (DNR)


June 20th, 2008 - Mt. Clemens update

Lenny is flying! Friday, June 20th we confirmed that Lenny has taken flight and he is doing fine. He is able to make turns and he is landing safely. You will most likely only see two peregrines in the web cam from here on - the parents will feed Lenny at his current perch on top of the administration building. The other two will most likely fly in the next couple days.


June 22th, 2008 - Mt. Clemens update

After several visits to the County Building over the weekend, myself and volunteers are only able to confirm two chicks. Lenny, the first to fledge on friday, is usually spotted up-high perching on the faces of the building or the top of the administration building. One female, unable to read band number as of yet, has not fledged. She is out of view of the web cam, perching regularly on the high scroll ledge on the north side of the nesting balcony. Lenny does fly-by occasionally trying to encourage his sister to fly, she flaps and calls but still has not taken the jump. The other female has most likely taken flight, however I cannot account for three young peregrines in one sitting. At one time, I did see two young and a parent drop food on a high green ledge above the nesting ledge - but I didn't see a chick. Both parents are doing well, perfomring a bunch of short flights around the buildings to check-up on the youngsters. I'm sure we will start to see Lenny practice stoops soon.

I plan to visit early Monday morning to try to confirm three young still present, or at least figure out which female is still hanging out on the nesting ledge

Kariann


June 24th, 2008 - Mt. Clemens update

GREAT NEWS TODAY! A special thanks goes out to Michael Fitzpatrick, my former Lakeshore Highschool teacher. Michael met up with me at 7:00am this morning to watch the Peregrine family in Mt. Clemens, while I continued onto Detroit he stayed. I received a call around 7:00pm - he has confirmed that all three young Peregrines (Lenny, Clair, and Clementine) are indeed flying and doing well. I rushed over, and witnessed Clementine on top of the administration buiding being fed by her parent and Lenny and Clair together on top of the county building. At one point in time all three young were spotted together on top of the county building.

All is well in Mt. Clemens.

Kariann


You can contact Kariann by e-mail at peregrine_notes@yahoo.com.

Mike Goethe
Macomb Audubon Web Editor
e-mail: macombaudubon@gmail.com

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Visit our 2005 Peregrine Page.

Visit our 2004 Peregrine Page.

Visit our 2003 Peregrine Page.

Visit the Peregrine Falcon section of our Newsroom. This section includes news stories related to our local falcon population.

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