Spartan Stadium’s falcon parents officially empty nesters

(Department of Wildlife Resources)
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - They grow up so fast.

The third and final peregrine falcon born on top of Spartan Stadium was spotted leaving it’s nest Wednesday. The first flight out of a nest is called a “fledge,” and after taking its first flight a falcon is known as a fledgling until it can hunt on its own.

That might not be a problem for these falcons, given that they are the fastest animals on Earth.

Able to reach speeds of 200 miles per hour, peregrine falcons are a natural wonder that is native to Michigan. They are still recovering their population after becoming an endangered species over much of its range because of the use of certain pesticides, such as DDT, during a period that lasted from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Conservationists like Evan Griffis, an MSU student and chair of the MSU Fisheries and Wildlife club, were delighted when the falcons took to the nest box set up on top of Spartan Stadium.

“We weren’t sure that they would take to the box right away,” Griffis said. “It can often take several years for birds to get accustomed to a new nest site.”

Griffis said, “We noticed a pair of peregrine that have been hanging around the stadium for the past five years.”

That’s when the club decided to build the pair their very own crib, mimicking a cliff nest.

“Being a state endangered species, we were really interested in them and we wanted to provide a safe nest site which is why we put this box on the roof,” Griffis said.

Griffis said their goal was to provide a safe nest area and preserve conservation for their species.

“So they do remain endangered in the state of Michigan,” he said. “But we’re hoping, with projects like this, we can get them off that list.”

Three more falcons can be added to the count, now that the fledglings are flying. It’s still worth checking out the webcam streaming from the top of the stadium, as the fledglings still have lessons to learn from mom and dad.

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