Detroit Falcons - 2009

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: July 27 2009

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

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February 11, 2009

Hello Everyone, just a quick "I'm back on Peregrine Patrol" note. I have heard from our volunteers at the U of D site that our pair is becoming very vocal and active, also from our volunteers at the Mt. Clemens site that our male has begun feeding the female (part of strengthening the pair bond prior to mating). If you have any information pertaining to the birds at your site please notify me, we should start to see signs of courtship (after all it is the week of Valentines Day). I plan to patrol again this year, may have to take my 3 year old and 6 month old with me on my adventures - but hey that just makes it more interesting, right! I hope your holidays were festive and you and your family are doing well this new year.

See you soon,
Kariann Anderson
SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator
Michigan Department of Natural Resources


March 11, 2009

First Day out on Peregrine Patrol notes from Kariann Anderson and Barb Baldinger:

Mount Clemens Site: same pair (Hathor b/g *H/*4 and Nick b/g 30/C) this year! Pair was seen soaring the thermals today, Hathor perched onto the NE nesting ledge and then moved over the admin building, Nick perched on the East side of the building on his usual heat return pipe. The volunteers on floor twelve confirm copulation! Barb and I removed all debris from all four corners just before the first heavy snowfall - all looks clear as of now. I suspect the same nesting ledge will be used this year, we will return this week to place fresh gravel at the site and set up the webcam in hopes to capture early nesting behavior and possibly egg laying!

Fisher Site - volunteer Maria confirmed two adult birds have been occupying the territory all winter long with a third bird showing-up every month or so (maybe from the WSU site). Her male is banded b/g and is possibly Millennium, but we need to confirm. Maria has witnessed copulation - lets all keep our fingers crossed for a successful mating season at the Fisher site this year.

Kariann


March 27, 2009

Mt. Clemens Site: both Nick and Hathor continue to occupy the site. I placed fresh gravel in the 2008 nesting balcony (NE corner) on the county building. It appears that Hathor may actually choose the SW corner for nesting this year, she has been reportedly seen on this ledge and when I last checked earlier this week it appears as if she has made a depression in the gravel. The web cam is not installed at this time, it was our intention to install the cam prior to egg laying this year - however the webcam is not working (IT has been trying to fix the problem for a week now). If Hathor lays an egg prior to the webcam being fixed, it will be my recommendation that we wait until hatching to install.

Whittier Apartments Site: both Miriam and Allegro continue to occupy the site. The nesting building remains under construction and is not occupied at this time. The adjacent building however is complete and 119 units to date are rented. The nesting balcony appears to have proper drainage and an adequate amount of gravel. Miriam seemed lethargic (not her usual attack first ask questions later mood) - Barb Baldinger researched her behavior and found it to be normal for a female who is about to lay an egg or has already begun egg laying. We did not see any eggs in the nesting balcony, we will return on Monday. We did however witness copulation.

Blue Water Bridge Site: male and female are taking turns in the nest box for short periods, possibly an egg has been laid and incubation has not yet begun.

Fisher Site: two adult peregrines are frequently spotted at this site. Each bird has been seen several times perched on the domes where the previous peregrine pair nested.

Monroe Power Plant: two adult peregrines identified on site. The male is confirmed to be Leopold (14 years old, has occupied site since 1997).

River Rouge Power Plant: built and installed a nesting box on one of their stacks that is not frequently used, we hope that the peregrines that hang out at this site in the summer and fall months will decide to utilize the site for nesting either this spring or next.

Kariann


March 30, 2009

Peregrine Update from Kariann Anderson and Barb Baldinger

Our Mt. Clemens Peregrine Pair has begun nesting! We have three eggs and it is possible we may have four in the next day or so! Nick and Hathor have chosen a new ledge this season, you will see them frequently perched on the NW corner of the county building (nest) and the SW corner of the courthouse (perching while watching nest). Those of you that usually sit at the park to observe may not have the best seat in the house this year, I suggest the Pantry (yummy). The Web Cam is set up - birders will be able to view the nest online within the next couple of days. Incubation usually lasts about 33 days so the countdown to hatching has begun - we should see hatching around April 29th - May 2nd.

Kariann

Peregrine Falcon eggs at the County Building, Mt. Clemens

Peregrine Falcon eggs at the County Building, Mt. Clemens.

Nick defending the nest in Mt. Clemens

Nick defending the nest in Mt. Clemens.

Hathor watching from the Courthouse in Mt. Clemens

Hathor watching from the Courthouse in Mt. Clemens.

Photos are courtesy of Barb Baldinger. Whenever the Mt. Clemens webcam becomes active we will pass the word and include a link on this page.


April 3, 2009

Peregrine Patrol notes from Kariann Anderson and Barb Baldinger

The Mt. Clemens site webcam is up and running, unfortunately the Peregrine Pair chose the NW corner unexpectedly and we were given very little time to install before incubation. We did not clean the window. Please understand that in order for us to clean the window so you have a better view of the nesting pair we must disturb incubation, open the window, reach out with cleaner and cloth, scrub-scrub-scrub, close the window, re-position the webcam, and then lock the room. All of this just to have the window dirty again the next week due to rain drops hitting the dirt mixed with gravel and spattering onto the window. Remember the County Building webcam is an internal unit and we were very lucky to have the 'window' of opportunity this year to set it up prior to incubation, otherwise we would have had to wait until hatching. o Enjoy the View and hopefully you will have a chance to witness hatching this year!

Our AT&T Peregrine Pair is back and incubating again this year, 3 eggs! We still do not have a confirmation on our banded male, if anyone is willing to set up a scope across the street and wait-wait-wait I would really appreciate it.

Our Blue Water Bridge Peregrine Pair is back and incubating, not sure as to how many eggs yet.

Our Fisher site has two adult birds, no sign of nesting behind either dome. We may need a couple of volunteers to help rule out a possible nest elsewhere. Volunteer at this site has reported seeing only one bird at a time lately, so this suggests that the other may be incubating.

Our Whittier Peregrine Pair is the same - however no signs of nesting as of yet.

Unfortunately, we are not seeing any activity at the St. Joseph's Church site this year. The entry into the tower looks to be screened over.

For those interested in the Ambassador Bridge Peregrine Pair - I have heard word that they are indeed back, same pair, and have been seen in courtship activities! Witnesses are also seeing another pair of Peregrines hanging out by the bridge courting as well? Hmmm, may have the opportunity to see 4 adult Peregrine falcons in one sitting - I'm definitely going to check it out! Field Trip?

Kariann


Today Kariann asked me to post this email exchange for the benefit of our readers. As you can tell from the exchange below, the web cam to allow viewing of the Mt. Clemens falcons is now active.

EMAIL
I am appalled at the peregrine falcon nest site. The viewing window is absolutely filthy and, with time, I'm sure it's going to be worse. But the worst of all is the total disregard that the department has for the protection of the nest site from the elements. This is Michigan, where even into the month of May, we still have cold weather and plenty of rain and there is no shelter at all. Perhaps, your department should take lessons from Columbus, Ohio, San Jose, California and the Pennsylvania site. As interested as I am, I don't think I can watch the nest; that poor falcon is wet and cold after last night's storm. Previous years nests have been exposed as well, and even though some of the eggs hatched, I would suggest you rethink the plan before implementing next year's nest site. If you're going to do this, do it right....

RESPONSE:
In response to the person who doesn't like her view of the Mt. Clemens nest site: I am sorry that you are not pleased with our efforts to allow interested birders from around the world to have an up-close view of our falcons in Mt. Clemens. First, the window will remain dirty - we have no idea where the bird will decide to nest each year, this is chosen by the Peregrine Pair (NOT the DNR). We had very little time to install the webcam prior to incubation starting. We only have an internal camera (unlike the other sites you have mentioned), if you would like to donate a considerable amount of money we would be happy to install an external mount so that our viewers are not looking out a dirty window. Second, the nesting ledges are a part of a historic building in downtown Mt. Clemens (the DNR did not provide or encourage the birds to nest here). Peregrine falcons (like all birds) have a unique feathering over their body; these feathers keep them warm and dry during times of heavy rainfall or even snow. Although you may think these birds look miserable, they are wild animals and they are free to leave the nest site in seek of a dry/warm place - the reason why they choose to stay is because they are indeed protecting their eggs, thus passing on their genes to their progeny. Third, these birds have MUCH invested in their nest and the DNR will NOT jeopardize the nest just so you or anyone else can have a cleaner view - basically if we were to 'clean' the window, the nest would likely fail and you wouldn't have anything to look at anyway. Fourth, the reason why the previous nests failed was because the female was paired with a different male (possibly infertile or simply he didn't do his part in the incubation process) - last year was successful and this year is on track to being successful as well. So in my opinion the birds are "doing it right" and the DNR is "doing it right" by protecting their nest from those who want to disturb them just to clean a window.

Kariann Anderson, SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator


April 8, 2009

Peregrine Patrol notes from Kariann Anderson and Barb Baldinger

Our Whittier Apartments Site Peregrine Pair (Miriam and Allegro) have begun nesting. We spotted Miriam on her nest today, she was holding tight due to the cold weather so we didn't see how many eggs - but we at least now know that she is incubating!

At the Mt. Clemens site we have confirmed that Hathor and Nick are indeed incubating 4 eggs - maybe this year will be a record hatching for the County Building?

Kariann


April 8, 2009

A bit of fun news came my way this morning and I thought it would be nice to share it with y'all.

Clementine (2008 hatched female from our Macomb County Building Site) has been seen in Columbus, OH at the James Cancer Hospital on the OSC Campus. If you go to the Cleveland Ohio Forum you can see pictures of her.

A new female has been seen at the Univ. of Buffalo campus in Buffalo, NY, that they think may be a 2007 Detroit born pefa, possibly banded BB (Whittier Apartments), but it's not a positive identification yet. If you go to the Buffalo Audubon Forum you can see pictures of her.

We are having a good year for productivity; Blue Water Bridge at least 3 eggs, Macomb County Building 4 eggs, Whittier Apartments incubating unknown number of eggs, AT&T Building at least 3 eggs, University of Detroit Mercy incubating unknown number of eggs, DTE Monroe Power Plant incubating unknown number of eggs, and peregrine activity but no confirmed nest at the Fisher Building.

Kariann


May 5, 2009

Peregrine Update from Barb Baldinger and Kariann Anderson:

We have hatching this morning in Mt. Clemens! So far three babies have hatched at the Macomb County Building. The window is still dirty, since we did not want to disturb incubation, but you can easily see the movement of white fuzzy babies during nest exchange and feeding. The fourth egg looks like it is still there and may hatch soon. Webcam link: http://www.macombcountymi.gov/peregrine/webcamJ.html.

Also, last week Kariann and I met with a couple in Windsor who showed us where Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Canadian side of the bridge. Although it is not possible to check for eggs, the behavior of the parents indicate incubation is taking place.

Incubation is also taking place at the Whittier Apartments, U of D Mercy and the AT&T Building all in Detroit and the DTE Power Plant in Monroe. There is a new pair of Peregrine Falcons at the Fisher Building and although they are seen on a regular basis, they do not appear to be ready to nest this year. We did however witness a pair of American Kestrels entering a heating vent on the north side of the Fisher Building where they most likely have a nest.

Here's a new photo, of the falcons located on the Ambassador Bridge.

Ambassador Bridge Falcons: freddie on nest, female on bridge.

To explain the nest's location, the nest is in the recessed rectangle of the cement pillar under the roadway of the bridge and to the left of the turquoise support beam that the female is perched upon.

Barb


May 28, 2009

Update from Kariann Anderson and Barbara Baldinger on "Peregrine Patrol":

It is a busy time of year for Peregrine Patrol; as many of you have already read in the news, we banded three healthy/strong peregrine chicks ranging from 22-24 days old at the Mt. Clemens site yesterday. Soon we will be looking for volunteers to watch as our three young chicks pop onto the ledge and begin stretching their wings in the wind in hopes to take first flight. Band information is as follows: Tucker, female, black over green band with a sideways S on the black and a sideways E on the green (however it was placed up-side-down so look for green over black....ooops) - Wetzel, male, black over red band with a 68 on the black and an A on the red - Cass, female, black over green band with a sideways S on the black and a sideways D on the green. We expect first flight around the end of June.

Tucker, Wetzel and Cass, Peregrine Falcon chicks at Macomb County Building, by Barb Baldinger 5-27-2009

A family portrait from the Mt. Clemens site.

We will be banding our Blue Water Bridge babies (possibly 5 this year WOW) on Tuesday morning 9:00 am (interested viewers should navigate to the Thomas Edison Inn and watch from the park as we take a bucket truck up-over-under the bridge to the nestbox for banding). Names for these babies are being polled by the Herald - 650 people submitted suggestions, we narrowed it down to 10 and the vote of the people will determine the five we use.

Our Whittier site has failed this year. We had verification of three healthy/strong young chicks approximately 5 days old and then they disappeared.

We have a NEW successful nest to add to our list for SE Michigan....Flint is now hosting two adult Peregrines (the male was determined as Barry from Ohio born in 2003 and the female we have read her band which indicates she is from Canada but we do not know origin as of yet). This pair had a clutch of 4 eggs and 1 hatched successfully - this lone chick only 14 days old now is just hanging out on the ledge of the Durant Hotel (you can view the chick from S. Saginaw parking structure). Many people are concerned about the construction on-going at the Durant; please take into consideration that I have contacted the construction company and this nest is indeed in good hands (we are both monitoring safety and everything that can be done to ensure survival is being considered at this time). If you have any questions or concerns please contact your local DNR. Do not call the construction company with complaints.

Female Peregrine Falcon, Flint, MI, Barb Baldinger 5-28-2009

Here's a photo of the Female Falcon in Flint.

Peregrine Falcon chick, Durant Hotel, Flint, Mi, Barb Baldinger 5-28-2009

A photo of the Flint chick at the Durant Hotel.

Our power plants are producing as usual - we have nesting at Monroe DTE power plant, St. Clair DTE power plant, and US Steel Zug Island.

We also have success at our Detroit AT&T site and our U of D Mercy site.

Female Peregrine Falcon at AT&T seen through vent louvers

The female peregrine falcon at the AT&T Building as seen through vent louvers.

Unfortunately, nothing again at the Fisher building. However Barb and I did find a Kestrel nest!!!

We may have a nest in Pontiac - still checking things out. But if we do......that would mean 10 nests in SE Michigan....meet our goal? Maybe.

Kariann R. Anderson
SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator
Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division


June 1, 2009

Mystery solved! We are happy to share with you the identity of the adult female Peregrine falcon currently raising one healthy chick on the Durant Hotel in Flint, Michigan. Her band was read and confirmed as Black 7 over 5, according to the CPF (Canadian Peregrine Foundation) the University of Michigan Flint has welcomed 'Majesty' to their campus! She was born at the 18 King Street nest site in downtown Toronto in 2002. Her parents were non-other than Ponce-Kingsley and Victoria - Toronto's first nesting peregrines on record in 100 years. Majesty was one of five hatchlings produced that year and all of her siblings have been reported dead over the years. Majesty is the last known living legacy of Ponce-Kingsley and Victoria - Mark Nash from the CPF was very excited to hear that she is doing well and has successfully reared young. Majesty was undetected for seven years, and some people wonder why we band?

Kariann R. Anderson
SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator
Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division


June 4, 2009

We are so excited to share with you the news today from Flint, Michigan. We were able to successfully transfer the young falcon (now 28 days old) from the Durant Hotel to the NorthBank Center building on U of M Flint Campus. We netted the young falcon, banded her, U of M named her Maize, and then we placed her onto the 12th floor ledge 8:30 am. The adults stayed on the Durant nest ledge for some time looking for the chick, however while banding her we recorded her vocalizations and were able to play-back the calls out a window at the new location. Barry (the adult male from Ohio) tuned in on this almost immediately, flew over toward the 12th floor ledge but decided to perch below where the chick was resting. It took a few more tries and then Majesty (the adult female from Toronto) flew over to the opposite end of the North Bank Center. Volunteer assistant Barb Baldinger and I stood on the fourth floor parking garage for hours, waiting, waiting, waiting. Maize let out a small food begging cry and Majesty focused in on her young and flew straight for her - we watched a nice reunion and then Majesty immediately flew off vocalizing to Barry (it appeared that she was trying to get him to go get food). She attempted to get him to bring food at least 4 more times, and then 6 hours later - Majesty decided to go do it herself. She brought back food for Maize at 2:53 pm, we can now rest assure that the transfer was a success. Now we have a couple of weeks before our Maize may decide to take first flight, which we will all watch and hope for her safety.

Here are some photos, courtesy of Barb Baldinger

Removing the chick from the Durant Hotel, by Barb Baldinger

Removing the chick from the Durant Hotel.

Banding Maize at the UofM Northbank Center, by Barb Baldinger

Tim Payne, Maize, Kariann Anderson and Ernie Kafcas at the U of M Northbank Center.

Maize, by Barb Baldinger

Maize.

Maize on the ledge of the Northbank Center, by Barb Baldinger

Maize on the ledge of the Northbank Center.

Kariann R. Anderson
SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator
Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division

Here are a couple of links to coverage of the Maize, Majesty and Barry's big day. Both include video of the events.

Coverage from the Flint Journal.

Coverage from WJRT, ABC 12 in Flint.


June 9, 2009

Yesterday, Kariann and I as well as several webcam watchers saw the three Peregrine Falcon chicks, Tucker, Wetzel and Cass discover the ledge above their nest on the NW corner of the Macomb County Building. As part of the art deco design of the building, this ledge extends outward in a semi-circle with a wide area for the birds to walk, stretch and sun themselves outside of the view of the webcam. Therefore, do not panic if they seem to disappear off the ledge. They have a safe place to explore before fledging. Due to the height of the building, I found a good viewing spot is by the large fountain on Macomb Place.

Tucker Wetzel Cass on ledge

Tucker Wetzel Cass on their ledge.

Barb Baldinger
Peregrine Falcon Volunteer, DNR


June 14, 2009 - It's Fledge Time!

Update from Barb Baldinger and Kariann Anderson

Macomb County Building, Mt. Clemens: The baby Peregrine Falcons that were banded not that long ago are now youngsters stretching their wings. This afternoon the two females Tucker and Cass stayed on the ledge just above the nest corner and jumped from section to section. Brother Wetzel was not in view for a couple of hours until Fledge Watch Volunteer Sue Stevens and I saw him circling the building with his dad Nick. Wetzel had a bit of an awkward landing, but he made it safely to the roof. (Note: Monday, June 15: Both females have also fledged and they look like strong fliers.)

UD Mercy, Detroit: Three of the four youngsters fledged this week and safely found their way to various roof tops near the clock and bell tower. The last time Kariann and I were there one falcon was still on the tower, but making short loop flights out and back to safety.

UM Flint: Maize and her parents have adapted well to the move from the Durant Hotel to the UM Northbank Center. Maize has a long ledge to roam and regularly walks from one end to the other with occasional looks over the side. Local Peregrine Falcon watcher Dan Waltz sent me a photo last night of Maize.

Barb Baldinger
Peregrine Falcon Volunteer, DNR


July 27, 2009 - 2009 Peregrine Summary

A busy Peregrine Patrol season indeed!

Eleven sites were monitored as active:

  • Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron
  • DTE St. Clair Powerplant
  • Macomb County Building in Mt. Clemens
  • Whittier Apartments in Detroit
  • Fisher Building in Detroit
  • AT&T Building in Detroit
  • University of Detroit Mercy Bell Tower
  • DTE Monroe Powerplant
  • Durant Hotel in Flint
  • Zug Island in Detroit
  • Jackson County Tower
The Fisher building in Detroit and the Jackson County Tower were the only two sites that did not attempt nesting - our Fisher Peregrine Pair is still showing strong pair bond behavior however they have not found a place suitable for nesting (unfortunately the usual 'behind the dome' nest isn't being considered by our new pair on site) and our Jackson County Tower site (same architect as the Fisher) has wonderful potential however we need to supply some pea-gravel substrate for nesting (female in this pair is only a second year bird so a successful nest may not occur for a couple of years). We had 20 chicks born this year in SE Michigan (that we are aware of anyway), 17 of which lived long enough to attempt first flight and were successful (we lost all three chicks at 12 days of age from our Whittier Apartments site in Detroit - cause unknown), as of today (7-19-2009) we can account for 12 of these young Peregrines still alive (no carcasses have been found, however we are not able to find 2 at Blue Water Bridge, 1 at UofD Mercy, 1 at Monroe Powerplant, and our only Flint produced falcon 'Maize').

We were able to band at 4 locations this year: Blue Water Bridge (Desmond, Liberty, Helen, Claire), Flint (Maize), Macomb County Building (Wetzel, Cass, Tucker), and Monroe powerplant (Heidi, Tyson).

We have report that our BB (Born 2007 at Whittier Apartments in Detroit; b/g N/58) was located on 4-22-2009 forming a pair bond and later nesting at the MacKay Tower, University of Buffalo South Campus, New York - she produced 4 offspring.

We have report that our Clementine (Born 2008 at Macomb County Building in Mt. Clemens, b/g *S/*X) was located on 4-10-2009 forming a pair bond at Ohio State University Campus in Columbus Ohio (no nesting, she is still a young bird - maybe next year!).

We confirmed a couple of new Peregrines in our area this year: We have Barry and Majesty paired in Flint (Barry, born 2003 Cuyahoga Bridge Ohio and Majesty, born 2002 Toronto) and we have a new female at our Monroe powerplant (Millie; born 2005 Port Colborne Ontario). Interesting note: 4 of our nest site have females from Canada (in 5 years I have yet to report a male from Canada in our area).

Thank you for all your help monitoring this year - I look forward to posting updates next spring! Your observations throughout the summer-fall-winter seasons are still important, please send them to peregrine_notes@yahoo.com

Kariann R. Anderson
SE Michigan Peregrine Falcon Coordinator
Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division


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

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

Visit our 2010 Peregrine Page.

Visit our 2008 Peregrine Page.

Visit our 2007 Peregrine Page.

Visit our 2006 Peregrine Page.

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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