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Peregrine falcon population on road to recovery in Michigan

Michigan Department of Transportation

State officials say a state endangered bird is on a recovery curve.



For years, Michigan has been providing nest boxes on top of bridges for peregrine falcons.


There are currently 37 nest boxes across Michigan. 


Wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, Karen Cleveland said the falcons are cliff nesting birds that prefer habitats 100 to 200 feet off the ground.


“(Nest boxes) take a structure that the birds are already interested in and provide them with that little bit of additional habitat that they would need for them to be able to succeed and use that nest site,” Cleveland said.


Cleveland said in recent years, the birds have been returning to their natural habitats. 


“The males tend to identify potential nest sites and come back with a mate,” Cleveland said. “Some of these natural-site hatched males may actually be picking up mates that grew up in more urban situations.”


She said the state has found birds from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario, Ohio and Indiana, coming into Michigan to breed.


Federally, the peregrine falcon has been removed from the endangered species list. They remain protected under federal and state law.


This year, the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie became home to three peregrine falcon chicks, JC, Bones and Zoey. Live video stream of the nest box can be found here


The Lift Bridge in Houghton Hancock is also home to one chick. Live video stream of the nest box can be found here


In the interest of transparency, we note that the Department of Natural Resources is a financial supporter of WCMU. 

Tess DeGayner is a student reporter for WCMU News. She is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Journalism and Broadcasting. Her hometown is Fenton, Michigan.