Peregrine falcon chicks banded before they take flight - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Peregrine falcon chicks banded before they take flight

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(07/13/12) - High atop one of Flint's tallest buildings is a family story ABC12 has been following closely for you.

In 2009, we first told you about an unlikely family that settled in Downtown Flint.

It was the spring of 2009, when Barry, the peregrine falcon and his mate, Majesty, built their nest on the top ledge of the former Durant Hotel.

"We didn't put them here, they arrived on their own," said Christine Becher of the Department of Natural Resources.

With construction going on at the Durant, the DNR decided to move the nest to the North Bank Center.

Since our last report, the nest has grown. Recently, Majesty and Barry welcomed three baby falcons, or chicks.

This week, the DNR and UM-Flint Faculty members banded the chicks before they take flight on their own.

"They'll be flying soon enough. The male and female peregrine were up there watching us the whole time," Becher said.

The bands allow researchers to track the chicks after they leave the nest in Flint.

"When these birds leave here, the end of the summer, beginning of fall. The end of August, beginning of September, they're on their own. At that point, they already know how to hunt on their own and they're gone," Becher said.

And all fingers are crossed that once they leave, they'll survive.

Only 20 percent of chicks make it through their first year.

Meantime, those who got to take part in the banding process say it's a one of a kind experience.

"It's such an elated feeling to be able to do something like this," said UM-Flint faculty member Bill Webb. "Watch all these people who are devoted to the birds, saving the birds, helping them grow mature and be safe and then take flight. It's a fabulous feeling."

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