Grand Valley is a key partner in a banding program that is an
important tool for monitoring survivorship for the raptors, which are
listed as endangered in Michigan and threatened at the federal level,
Kalejs said. The endangered designation "highlights how rare
these birds are, still, but as far as recovery of the species they
have come a long way," he said.
The circumstances of the nesting box this year show how precarious
survival in nature can be. The same female as in previous years
returned to the box this season, according to observers at grperegrines, a site that tracks the peregrine
falcons in Grand Rapids and identifies birds from their bands.
But she paired with a new male this year after only one year with a
male that was hatched in 2018 at the Port Sheldon Power Plant on Lake
Michigan. The new male this year was unbanded, meaning he likely was
born in an unmonitored setting, Kalejs said, adding that a number of
places in Michigan, such as Mackinac Island and the Huron Islands, are
home to peregrine falcons born in the wild.
As for the previous male's disappearance: "That's normally a
mortality situation. It's a tough world out there for these little birds."
Also, this year's nest had included four eggs, but two did not hatch.
Unviable eggs are a reality in these nests, but Kalejs said overall,
this female falcon has been successful and productive. Last year, for
instance, four chicks fledged.