Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Contest set to name peregrine falcon chicks hatched atop U-M hospital

For the third straight year, a pair of peregrine falcons has successfully nested on the roof of University Hospital.

  Falcon chick

Above: One of four newly hatched falcon chicks rests in its nesting box after being banded recently. Below: The mother falcon, Thunderbolt, waits to be reunited with her chicks. (Photos by Barb Baldinger)

  Falcon mom

Four falcon chicks hatched in a nesting box around April 29 and will stay with the adults until the end of August.

The university again will offer the Ann Arbor community an opportunity to name the baby falcons through an online contest. Please visit the U-M Facebook page for contest updates.

After hundreds of submissions, the community selected Lloyd, Bo, Fritz and Yost as names for the four falcons that were born in 2012.

The four new falcon chicks were banded late last week by workers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Staff members identified two female and two male chicks.

A pair of adult peregrines was first spotted at the Burton Memorial Tower in 2006. University officials ordered the bells and chimes to be silenced in an effort to prevent the bells from disturbing the falcons' nesting season. Every year since, a pair of falcons has returned to campus, where the birds have been spotted at Burton Tower, University Hospital and other tall buildings.

After nesting attempts at the tower continued to fail, two nesting boxes were installed in 2011 for the falcons at University Hospital and North Quad in an effort to relocate them to a more suitable area.

According to the DNR, it is not uncommon for peregrine falcons to use the same nest site for many years. In urban areas, peregrine pairs tend to nest on tall buildings or bridges, which simulate high cliffs and ledges, making the University Hospital rooftop a prime location.

The peregrine falcon has been removed from the federal endangered-species list, but remains an endangered species in Michigan. The male bird is about the size of a crow; female birds are slightly larger.

Falcon banding
Michigan Department of Natural Resources workers Kristen Bissell and Tim Payne measure one of the falcon chicks to determine whether it is a male or female. (Photo by Barb Baldinger)