The banding of peregrine falcons continues at Consumers Energy electric generating plants across Michigan. The most recent event took place at the B.C. Cobb Plant in Muskegon. Three chicks, two females and one male, were banded while their protective parents circled the nest.
The Banding Process
Consumers Energy partners with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) every year to band peregrine falcon chicks, part of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and MDNR’s tracking program. Here’s the banding process:
- Environmental Enhancement Teams build and maintain nesting boxes on tall platforms at Consumers Energy plants — high enough to attract adult peregrine falcons
- The DNR takes the rear panel off each box and places it in front of the nest box to keep the chicks safe inside
- Identification bracelets are carefully banded on the chicks’ legs
Thirty-eight peregrine falcon chicks have been banded since 2005 and 44 chicks have hatched at the Cobb Plant in the last decade.
Why Band Peregrine Falcons?
The birds’ Latin name means ‘wanderer’ and that’s exactly what they do. Attaching state and federal identification bracelets allows the DNR to track their flight and migration patterns. This is especially important since the species’ demise in the 1970s.
Following the Vietnam War, the use of DDT pesticides hurt their egg development causing a decrease in the population. Today, peregrine falcons are federally recognized as threatened.