Kent County Courthouse peregrine falcons banded

From Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Two fuzzy, white peregrine falcon chicks squawked loudly as they received their new “jewelry” Tuesday morning, June 4. Wildlife biologists John Niewoonder and Nik Kalejs from the Department of Natural Resources, along with Lori Martin from the Blandford Nature Center, placed metallic bands on the legs of the 25-day-old chicks atop the Kent County Courthouse in Grand Rapids.

“The chicks were very healthy-looking, and the banding went well,” said Kalejs.

Also in attendance were Bob Krey of the Kent County Courthouse building staff and John Will and Elaine Fleming of the Grand Rapids Peregrine Watch.

The chicks, both determined to be female, were outfitted with two bands. The band on each bird’s left leg is red and black, with numbers that can be read from a distance with a spotting scope. On their right leg is an aluminum U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band with an official tracking number. Both bands will be used to identify the birds after they leave the nest.

Peregrine falcons have been nesting on the Kent County Courthouse since 2008 and have successfully hatched five chicks at this site.

Once on the brink of extinction due to pesticide use, peregrine falcons have recovered through extensive re-introduction efforts. Michigan began reintroducing peregrines to the Grand Rapids area in 1986. In 2012 there were 24 active nest sites in the state, four of them in southwest Michigan.