DNR bands 3 freshly hatched Peregrine Falcon chicks

Posted at 4:17 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 19:06:38-04

WEST OLIVE, Mich. -- While the number of peregrine falcons in Michigan is increasing, they remain a threatened species at the federal and state level.  But, Consumer's Energy and the DNR are taking matters into their own hands to continue a tradition that has helped the population grow.

The DNR teams up with the company every year to band the birds, helping them learn useful information which could help the peregrine population grow all over the country.

One of the four peregrine falcon eggs that's been gravel nesting 200 feet up on the side of an emission stack at Consumer's Energy JH Campbell Generating Complex did not make it. However, three chicks did hatch and were successfully banded.

"They all look really good, really healthy. Mom was properly protective but not too difficult to deal with so the banding went very well," says DNR Wildlife Biologist Nik Kalejs.

Banding is an important process. Though the peregrine population is on the rise, they're still considered an endangered species in Michigan.

"It's a very rare bird and the banding provides a lot of useful information about the survivorship of the bird, where they travel, differences between males and females as far as survival. So it really does provide a lot of useful information as far as the management of this species," says Kalejs.

The use of pesticides like DDT caused massive nesting failures back in the '60s,  but nesting habitats like this one are giving hope in restoring the population.

"We're making a lot of progress and maybe one day will come when we no longer feel the need to have to track these birds," says Kalejs.