BLP reports three falcon chicks at Sims nesting site

Alex Doty • Jun 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Grand Haven Board of Light & Power’s peregrine falcon nest box is once again home to several new falcon chicks.

“There are three chicks in the nest box,” BLP Administrative Services Manager Renee Molyneux said. “We are planning to band them on Tuesday, June 26, in the morning.”

The BLP nest site — perched 240 feet up the J.B. Sims Generating Station chimney — has produced more than 40 chicks since the first pair of wild peregrine falcons began nesting there 17 years ago. Peregrine falcons have produced chicks at the BLP’s nest site each spring beginning in 2001 through 2013, and again in 2016.

Peregrine falcons were listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1970, after their Midwest population was eliminated in the mid-1960s due to problems with the pesticide DDT. In 1999, following extensive restoration efforts, the peregrine was removed from the federally endangered species list, but it remains on the Michigan endangered species list.

With the sun likely setting on the operation of the Sims III plant in Grand Haven, what does that mean for the Grand Haven nesting box?

“For the short term, Nik Kalejs from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will evaluate the condition of the nest box when he climbs the stack to band the chicks,” Molyneux said. “If the nest box needs some maintenance, there’s no reason to think that couldn’t be accomplished after the birds have fledged, probably early fall.”

Molyneux noted that the BLP doesn’t have any plans to remove the box before the planned closure of Sims III.

“We have not yet discussed what happens beyond that point,” she said. “On a positive note, there are two active nest sites in Grand Rapids, one in Port Sheldon, one in Kalamazoo, and we’re about to band three chicks in Grand Haven.”

The DNR banded three peregrine falcons at the Consumers Energy Campbell Complex on May 25. The three birds banded last month brought the total to 42 chicks that have hatched at the Campbell Complex since 2004.

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