Time to tune in to MP’s FalconCam

March 15, 2022

Spring is in the air with recent sightings of peregrine falcons at the Hibbard and Boswell nest boxes.

A pair of falcons was reported at Hibbard Renewable Energy Center in Duluth in early March and a falcon was spotted at Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset a few days later.

Can courtship be far behind?

The Raptor Resource Project in Decorah, Iowa, a longtime peregrine partner with Minnesota Power, says the Hibbard falcons generally lay eggs between late March and mid-April, hatch begins early to mid-May, fledge occurs 38-40 days after that, and the young disperse in late August or mid-September. Boswell is usually about two weeks or so later. You can watch as the falcons raise their young via Minnesota Power’s FalconCam.

Last year, Hibbard recorded its first of four eggs on March 31 and the first egg hatched on May 8 (two eggs failed to hatch). In 2021 at Boswell, the first of four eggs was laid on April 12 and the first falcon hatched on May 19. While all four eggs hatched, one chick died of unknown causes.

A team from the RRP visits Hibbard and Boswell almost every year before the chicks fledge to complete a heath check and fit the young birds with leg bands. The bands are an important tool in monitoring the peregrine falcon population in North America.

According to the Raptor Resource Project’s 2021 banding report, teams banded 80 falcons at 29 sites last year, a record for the organization, which is especially invested in monitoring the health and productivity of the Midwest peregrine falcon population.

“Decades of monitoring show that peregrine falcon migration and nesting patterns are shifting along with the climate. Nesting in the Upper Midwest begins earlier than it did several decades ago, and we see impacts on productivity from insect pests that are connected to flooding and warmer weather patterns,” John Howe, RPP director, writes in his introduction to the report.

The full report listing activity at falcon nesting sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois is available here. Find more information about the Raptor Resource Project, including links to nest cams, here. And don’t forget to check in at FalconCam as these amazing raptors raise their families.

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