Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lloyd Carr meets peregrine falcon named in his honor

When legendary football coach Lloyd Carr learned that one of four peregrine falcon chicks recently born on campus was named in his honor, he had one request: to meet the rare, endangered Michigan bird.

    Lloyd Carr and his wife, Laurie, had the chance to get an up-close view of Lloyd, a falcon that was named in Carr's honor. (Photo by Juliet Fuller, UMHS)
Read more about the falcons that recently hatched at University Hospital.

Carr got his chance Thursday morning when the Michigan Department of National Resources returned the falcon to its mother's nest. DNR officials rehabilitated the bird after it fell from its nest when attempting to fly a little too soon.

"I think I can speak for Coaches Schembechler, Crisler, Yost — and myself — to say that having the falcons named after us is a wonderful honor," Carr said. "I'd like to give my thanks to those in the community who voted."

The four chicks hatched May 2 in a nesting box atop University Hospital and were named Lloyd, Bo, Fritz and Yost following a Facebook contest that drew hundreds of suggested names.

Carr was joined by his wife, Laurie, daughters Melissa Carr and Emily Vigo, and three granddaughters, Casey, Sydney, and Drew Vigo.

Seven-year-old Casey, the youngest granddaughter, thought it was "pretty cool" that her grandfather had a bird named in his honor. The girls already started talking about using this experience in a school paper this fall.

There were many questions and lots of excitement as the family was introduced to the falcon. After seeing the young falcon up close, Carr said it was the eyes that struck him most. "And look at those claws, man!"

"This has been such a learning experience, especially for the grandchildren. Who knows what it will inspire," Carr added.

In mid-June, three of the four falcon chicks tried to fly before they were ready. They dropped from their nest and landed on a window ledge just under their nesting box. Since the chicks didn't have the flight muscles or feather structure to carry them back to the nest, they ended up in rehab with the DNR.

"In urban areas, it is better to take the chicks into rehab and prepare them for flight. It is safer for the birds than attempting to place them back into the nest," said Christine Beecher, Southeast Michigan peregrine nesting coordinator for the DNR. Beecher is responsible for monitoring the peregrine nesting sites in Southeast Michigan.

After spending some time with DNR specialists to increase their muscle strength, the chicks were ready to be reunited with their parents.

One falcon was released last week, and the remaining two — Lloyd and Yost — were released Thursday morning.

As Carr left the nesting area and headed to visit patients at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, he turned with a smile and said, "What a great morning."