This past year 2 nest boxes were set up, one on the new North Quad building and one on the University Hospital roof. The male was seen occasionally on the bell tower this past winter, as well as other tall buildings including North Quad. The female came back February 18, several weeks earlier than usual. They courted and stayed at the bell tower, but then seemed to desert the site.
Some sightings were made around the hospital site, and on May 23, several DNR and U of M personnel made a trip to see if the nest box was occupied. First a stop was made to the old helipad site, which is about 350 feet south of the nest box. From there with binoculars we could see the female sitting in the box! The male was perched below her on the ledge above the windows. From there we hiked over to the main hospital, up to the 9th floor, and up stairs to the ladder which leads up through a hatch in the roof. Both birds immediately started swooping around, calling, and dive bombing us. The box is sited so that it faces out, so a mirror on a pole was used to look into the box. Three alert little chicks were visible! We spent a few minutes trying to see the bands on the adults. One bird nicely sat on top of the nest box, but the other did not stay close enough to read the bands.
photos courtesy of Barb Baldinger
We quickly left the area, all of us grinning and very excited. Once down inside, the photos of the chicks were checked against an ageing guide. They appeared to be about 9 days old. This would mean they hatched around May 14 (they don't all hatch on the same day), and the eggs were laid around April 10. The chicks will probably leave the nest towards the end of June, although there is a lot of variation in time of fledging, and it could be a couple of weeks later.
For a series of photos showing development of the chicks, see the Canadian Peregrine web page.
The nest box does not have a door in the back, so it is unlikely that the chicks will be banded this year. After they have left, the box will be modified, and a web cam installed, so next year hopefully they will be able to band the chicks. The male is still sometimes using the Bell Tower to eat his prey. Please let us know if you find food remains at the base of the tower, so we can go pick them up (call the Bird Division at 734-764-0457). Thanks!
|17-Mar||woodcock head, foot|
|18-Mar||woodcock body, head, estra wing, killdeer feather, duck? feather|
|21-Mar||mourning dove body, woodcock wing. Woodcock wing- N. Quad|
|24-Mar||woodcock bill, coot wing|
|5-Apr||killdeer wing, headless mummified cuckoo- from previous year|
|12-Apr||headless meadowlark, headless mourning dove|
|14-Apr||coot foot (old), mourning dove foot|
|21-Apr||male flicker head, mourning dove feathers and foot|
|25-Apr||sora rail head|
photo taken in Alaska by David Mindell