Spartan Stadium falcon nest box is empty

Print More

By GENEVIEVE FOX
Capital News Service

LANSING – The last of three young peregrine falcons has left a nest box on top of Spartan Stadium at Michigan State University.

MSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club advisor Jim Schneider said the falcons, which hatched in May, are expected to migrate south sometime in November.

“It’s nature, that’s what we want. This is what we’re expecting, this is all part of their biology,” Schneider said.

Jennifer Owen is an MSU professor and an expert in behavioral ecology of migratory birds. 

She says peregrine falcons are sensitive to the environment.

The falcon was once an endangered species, but is now recovered thanks to the banning of the insecticide DDT and human efforts like nesting boxes, Owen said.

“With humans invading natural areas, species oftentimes don’t have the habitat that they need,” Owen said.

A nest box on the roof of Spartan Stadium is seen via a MSU Fisheries Club YouTube livestream
A nest box on the roof of Spartan Stadium is seen via a MSU Fisheries Club YouTube livestream

She says nesting boxes can mitigate that negative impact, adding that the falcon is an important indicator of environmental health.

“It’s amazing the fascination that people have had with these peregrines. And that’s a connection to nature and connecting people to nature in whatever form you can do. 

“That is so critical for people wanting to preserve our natural environment,” Owen added.

Schneider said he is excited that the club was able to help add three new falcons to the now-stable population of peregrines.

Since the chicks are banded, Schneider said he’s hopeful someone who happens across them will be able to track their movements, though it’s unlikely they’ll come back to MSU after migrating.

Genevieve Fox reports for WKAR Radio.