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6/26/13: Surprises abound at GSB.
Not only did we capture this amazing video of one of our fledgling falcons reaching the nest box area, we also discovered that we mis-ID'd the falcon recovered on 6/17/13. Stolt was relocated to Red Wing, and we are now seeing Jonathon at GSB.
Looks like Jonathon thinks he is part bat the way he clings onto that wall. Later in the video M or T comes up onto the nest box with food.
All, in all of my years of working with peregrine falcons I have NEVER seen young falcons jump or, slip off to their death. I have seen falcons nest on 1,000 foot cliffs on a ledge the size of of dinner plate and they ALWAYS wait until they are feathered enough to fly. I am starting to wonder if we have a unusual hatch of parasites driving the falcons crazy. The only way a young falcon at this age could survive the fall is if by some chance it was slowed down hitting leaves or small limbs. Again, in all of my years of working with peregrine falcons this is new to me. We have had cameras on nesting falcons for twenty years and not witnessed this behavior.
Four falcon eyasses banded today, 2 females, 2 males.
Jonathon - named after our son who put in the GSB web cam as his Boy Scout Eagle project
Stolt - after a student in the LaCrosse area who recently passed away unexpectedly
Mandy - after a young woman who has been missing in our city (Eden Prairie) since 5/1/13
Toni - after a friend/husband/father who passed away just days ago from a battle with cancer(Tony)
5/17/13: Falcon News
Our first hatch of the season made an appearance at 5:43 a.m. It appears that we have a second hatch makings its way out of the shell around 8:15 a.m. Congratulations Michelle and Travis!
4/25/13: Falcon News
Michelle laid four eggs this season with the last arriving on April 15, 2013. We are starting hatch watch on May 15. We often count 33 days after the third egg to estimate hatch, but larger clutches and cold weather can delay hatch a little bit.
03/29/2012 Michelle Lays 3rd Egg at 6:54 p.m. (around 3:58 into the video)
About the GSB Project
The Raptor Resource Project installed a nest box here after falcons tried nesting on a ledge that was accessible to raccoon. The box was adopted by a pair of falcons in 2005. Young falcons have fledged here every year since. Great Spirit Bluff is owned by the Howe family. Jonathon Howe, son of John and Susan, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 479 in Eden Prairie, MN. He needed a project to advance to Eagle rank and was interested in working with falcons. Jonathon and his father designed and built four special nestboxes with lids that flip up and cover the box. These boxes have two wonderful features: they are accessible from the top, which means we don't have to lean over a roof to get the babies and (when open) they keep young falcons from jumping out. Human banders and young falcons are safer as a result.
Jonathon also helped plan the deployment of the camera here. He and troop members and friends pulled the cable to the edge of the cliff, dug the cable trench, and buried the cable. We are very pleased with the results.
Here is a link to a Wisconsin Public Radio podcast/mp3 about the project. Eagle Scout Helps Develop Falcon Cam When will the falcons lay eggs?
They will most likely lay in late March or early April. 2012 incubation began 3/29
How long does it take the eggs to hatch?
The eggs should start hatching 33-34 days after the third egg is laid.
When and who bands the young falcons?
Falcons are banded around 3 weeks of age. Bob Anderson and his team will rappel down the bluff to collect the eyasses for banding.
When do the young falcons start flying?
They will fledge at roughly 40 days of age.
How can I tell the male and female apart?
In general, female peregrines are about 30% larger than the males. In our nest, we have also noted some distinguishing markings. Michelle has a small amount of white feathers just above her beak, her head is more broad, and she has a bull horns marking in the white feathers on the side of her neck. Travis has all dark feathering above his beak, a smaller rounder head, and a brighter yellow beak.
How old are the pair and how long have they been nesting here?
Travis is 9 years old. Michelle is 7 years old. All we know for sure is that they are here this year, but could have been coming to this site as far back as 2007. The last previous recorded band reading on a different female (Katrinka) at this nest was in 2006.