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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Happy Spring — you can now watch rare peregrine falcons nesting in the Detroit Zoo water tower

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 2:36 PM

click to enlarge SCREEN GRAB/YOUTUBE
  • Screen grab/YouTube

The human world may have come to a grinding halt in the past week due to the coronavirus, but for the animal kingdom, it's business as usual.

In an effort to, you know, curb the desire to recklessly tug at the ever-fraying threads of our terrifying new reality, the Detroit Zoo has given folks a live birds-eye view of a pair of peregrine falcons who have chosen the zoo's landmark water tower as their nest. The falcon cam that oversees their nesting box was installed by the DNR and, as of Thursday — the first official day of spring — shows the falcon couple's single egg.

The male falcon, identified by the zoo as 8-year-old Justice, was hatched in 2012 at the Jackson County Tower Building. This isn't Justice's first rodeo in terms of baby-making, as the zoo reports he has previously mated with an “unbanded” female which resulted in eight chicks. His new feathered female companion, known as KJ, was hatched in Wisconsin in 2016 at the Racine County Courthouse.

Interest in peregrine falcons has been growing organically with their regional comeback after their populations took a dive in the '60s and '70s due to the introduction of insecticides and various contaminants. They were even at one point considered an endangered species. Peregrine falcons are also fast — the fastest birds on Earth — and have been known to reach speeds of 220 mph.

Described as cliff-nesting birds, peregrine falcons have had to become rather resourceful in the industrial Midwest, nesting on top of buildings and on the Sault Ste. Marie bridge, where falcons have been nesting in boxes on and off since 2010. Yes, they also have their own live feed of bird activities.

Last year, the DNR tended to an injured falcon chick on the campus of Detroit's Wayne State University after it suffered a concussion. The chick's parents, Isabella and Freedom, have chosen a ledge on the historic Old Main building as their nesting quarters for the last four years and yes, they too have their own 24-hour live cam and Instagram account, @WSUFalcons.

You can watch the Detroit Zoo's live stream as Justice and KJ tend to their nest — because what else are you gonna do during quarantine?

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April 1, 2020


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