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Macomb County

2008 Falcon News

 

June 26, 2008 --- The screeching of Peregrine falcons and their high-velocity flights are hard to miss in downtown Mount Clemens now that three Peregrine falcon chicks joined their parents in patrolling the Macomb County seat. Fledglings Clair, Clementine and Lenny all freed themselves within the past week from the confines of their nest off the 11th Floor of the Macomb County Building. All three survived their first solo flights and are getting stronger by the day, said Kariann Anderson, falcon coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Anderson and volunteer bird-spotter Michael Fitzpatrick met earlier this week in downtown Mount Clemens to visually check on the three new aviators. Clementine had not been seen by human observers for a few days, raising some concern, although her parents Nick and Hathor probably knew where she was all the time. “Michael confirmed that all three chicks were flying and doing well,” Anderson said. “I saw Clementine on top of the Administration Building while she was being fed by one of her parents; Lenny and Clair were together over on the County Building across the street.” The County Building is at 10 N. Main St. and the Administration at 1 S. Main St. adjacent to the intersection of Cass Ave./Crocker Boulevard and Northbound Gratiot in downtown Mount Clemens. Falcon lovers can easily spot members of Macomb County’s Peregrine falcon family zipping through the air around the county complex, resting on one of the buildings or tearing into a pigeon, woodcock, eastern kingbird or some other woodland bird. Besides the County Building and Administration Building, falcons also have been spotted resting on the Court Building at 40 N. Main St. It can get pretty loud with a five-member Peregrine falcon family screeching as they patrol the sky in this concentrated area. County employees in the County and Administration buildings report hearing falcon screeches through closed windows and over the noise of air conditioning fans. Visitors are welcome to visit downtown Mount Clemens and the complex of Macomb County buildings so they can take in the sights and sounds of the falcons. Ample parking, benches, paths, restaurants and shops are in the area to serve your creature comforts. Peregrine lovers should remember to bring good binoculars or a spotting scope for the best views.

 

Web cam going dark on July 1

The live Web cam that was trained on the nest since June 6, when Clair, Clementine and Lenny received their identification bands, will be turned off July 1. There is nothing left to see, except Web cam visitors might be able to glimpse some fireworks at the Stars & Stripes Festival on Friday, June 27. The chicks are unlikely to return to the nest now that they’re flying, and Nick and Hathor only entered when they were minding eggs or feeding hatchlings. The chicks still can’t hunt on their own, so the parents are catching prey and feeding the chicks wherever they are at the time. Anderson said the chicks probably will remain in the area at least until the fall.

 

Meet the falcons: Clair, Clementine and Lenny

The world got its first close-up on Friday, June 6, of the three Peregrine falcon chicks that live high on a ledge off the 11th Floor of the Macomb County Building in Mount Clemens. The chicks – a male and two females – received their identity bracelets and were named by William Crouchman of St. Clair Shores, chairman of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. Kariann Anderson, falcon coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), donned a hard hat and climbed through a window to fetch the chicks so they could get a medical checkup and their ID bands. Also participating in the banding were Timothy Payne, supervisor of the DNR’s Southeast Wildlife Management Unit; Ernie Kafcas, DNR wildlife biologist, and Tom Schneider, bird curator at the Detroit Zoo. The first chick to get an exam by Erica Shaw, veterinary technician for the Detroit Zoo, was named Clair. Crouchman selected the name to honor Macomb County’s greatest natural resource, Lake St. Clair. Crouchman named the second female chick Clementine to honor the City of Mount Clemens, the county seat and the falcons’ hometown. The third chick was a male, named Lenny by Crouchman to honor retiring Macomb County Commissioner Leonard Haggerty of Roseville. Haggerty is serving the last of five two-year terms on the County Board. Haggerty also was a long-time Roseville city councilman and mayor from 1975 to 1981.

 

Web cam, photos and video

The banding was shown live on Macomb County’s Web site, www.macombgov.org. Photos of the banding can be viewed by visiting the county’s home page and following the link to the Peregrine page. For those who missed the live Webcast, video taken by the Macomb Cable Network will be posted on Macomb County’s Peregrine page as soon as it’s available. In the meantime, Macomb County has turned on its live “Falconcam” so everyone can see the nest anytime they want by visiting the county Peregrine Web page. Viewers will be able to watch the chicks eat when their parents – Nick and Hathor – deliver food and see them grow and develop until they learn to fly and leave the nest, or fledge. Anderson of the DNR estimated that Clair and Lenny were about 25 days old and Clementine about 23 days old. Based on those estimates, Payne said the chicks should be ready to test their wings sometime between June 22 and June 28.

 

The banding

Clair, then Clementine, then Lenny received their ID bands after a medical checkup. All three received a band with a black bar on top and green bar on the bottom, with letters or numbers in each color bar. Clair’s band is Black *S over Green *Y. Clementine’s is Black *S over Green *X. Lenny’s is Black *C over *42. The chicks also received a purple Fish & Wildlife band. The bands are used to identify the birds and track their movements when spotted in the wild. Schneider said Clair, Clementine and Lenny will explore the area after fledging in late June and could try to set up their own nests later this year. “Falcons have adapted quite well in the urban environment,” said Schneider. Although Peregrine falcons have fewer natural enemies to contend with in the city than in the wild, there still are dangers that threaten them. Schneider said falcons sometimes can injure or kill themselves by crashing into a window or telephone wires. Hathor’s first chick, Alexa, which hatched in 2005, was killed the day after her first flight when she flew into a car.

 

Big, happy Peregrine family nesting on Macomb County Building

  • Hathor hits the mother lode with three healthy chicks
  • Nick, the first-time father, gets it right

May 23, 2008 --- Three Peregrine falcon chicks wiggled their way out of their eggs last week and are healthy and well cared-for heading into the Memorial Day weekend in their nest on the Macomb County Building. Hathor, the female falcon that made repeated futile attempts to raise a family since 2005, now has a trio in her clutch. She’s had only two chicks in all of her previous nestings, and none survived. Her first chick in 2005, Alexa, lived long enough to fly for the first time, but was killed by a car the next day. A chick that hatched in May 2007 died of exposure after only two days.

 

 

Three chicks in nest on Macomb County Building in Mount Clemens, 2008 (Photo by Kariann Anderson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

 

Nick on ledge of Macomb County Building in Mount Clemens, 2008 (Photo by Barb Baldinger, volunteer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

 

This year is a different story. Nick is Hathor’s new mate in 2008 after he displaced Horus, who is now hanging out near the Wayne State University campus in Detroit. “It looks like two chicks hatched about May 14 and the third came a few days later,” said Kariann Anderson, a Peregrine falcon specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who has been checking on Nick, Hathor and their eggs. “It looks like our pair is doing a GREAT job with parenting!” Nick and Hathor are very protective of the nest in a ledge box off the 11th Floor of the Macomb County Building. The nest is at the northeast corner of the building, adjacent to northbound Gratiot Avenue in downtown Mount Clemens.

Nick provides food for Hathor and gives her breaks from nest duty. He is an aggressive hunter who was observed killing a pigeon by driving it hard into a window on the 9th Floor of the Administration Building, where the Macomb County Board of Commissioners meets. The loud bang of the impact startled more than 100 people who were in the Board Room for a volunteer recognition dinner. All three chicks are safe and on track for their banding, when the DNR will place identification bracelets on their feet. Anderson said she checked out a report of a chick falling from the nest and found that the mishap involved a baby pigeon that fell from its nest on a nearby ledge. Hathor originally laid four eggs in early April, but one disappeared and likely was unfertilized, Anderson said.

 

 

Hathor keeping the chicks warm, 2008 (Photo by Kariann Anderson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

 

Nick's banding 2006

 

 

Allegro, Nick’s father (Photo by Kariann Anderson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

 

Miriam, Nick’s mother (Photo by Kariann Anderson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

 

Salacious! A new mate, four new eggs signal fresh start in 2008 for Macomb County’s Peregrine falcons

Turnovers are a bad thing in basketball and football, but a change of possession may be just the ticket for Macomb County’s Peregrine falcons. We’ve followed the nesting foibles of Horus and Hathor since 2005 – five tries at having chicks and nothing to show for it. But now there’s a new male in Hathor’s world, high atop the Macomb County Building in downtown Mount Clemens: He’s Nick, a 2-year-old who hails from the Whittier Towers on the Detroit Riverfront. Yes. Horus is history, replaced by a male half his age. Nick and Hathor are busily incubating four healthy-looking eggs, a fact confirmed on Tuesday, April 15, by Kariann Anderson, a Peregrine specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Should Nick and Hathor’s parenting prowess pay off, the new chicks should hatch around mid-May. The county Web cam that's been used in past years to show the nest live on the Internet will be activated around the first week of June when a chick, or chicks, are banded by the DNR. We hope to show the banding live on the Internet. Then the camera will be installed so everyone can see the young develop over the next month, when they should be ready to take their first flight. Anderson is hopeful for Hathor and her new beau because the emergence of healthy chicks would mark the end of a long and so far fruitless journey for Hathor. Her most heartbreaking moments were losing a chick in 2007 that died just a few days after being hatched and the loss of Alexa in 2005. Alexa grew large enough to fly but was killed the next day when struck by a car. The nest is located in a ledge box off the northeast corner of the County Building’s 11th Floor – high above the intersection of Cass Avenue and North Gratiot. As for Horus, he has decided to go back to school and has settled into a new nest at Wayne State University.