Jackson’s peregrine falcon family reaches big milestone

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – This time of year is full of milestones for parents as kids graduate and prepare to leave home.

And right now, a family of falcons in mid-Michigan is also preparing for their little chicks to spread their wings and fly.

6 News was there to see peregrine falcon chicks that live in downtown Jackson get banded by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

It was an important day in the lives of these baby peregrines, which are nearly one month old.

“I look forward to this every year,” said DNR Wildlife Biologist Lori Sargent.

One by one, five chicks were taken from their nest under the nervous watch of their parents and got a very special ankle bracelet.

“They’re beautiful, they’re fascinating,” Sargent said.

Sargent says peregrine falcons are an endangered species in Michigan, so it’s important the state keeps track of them by putting little metal bands around their ankles.

“The color band we put on them we can see from a distance or with binoculars. In order to manage the population we need to know their habits and where they go,” Sargent said.

Sargent says wildlife biologists like to get to the birds before they learn to fly, which should be taking place in the coming weeks.

All five chicks, four females and one male, appear to be healthy.

“They usually don’t have as many as five. Which is amazing for peregrines,” Sarget said.

The falcon family has an exclusive address in downtown Jackson, living high atop the Jackson County Tower Building.

The DNR says falcons have been taking to older skyscrapers because they resemble cliffs, have stone features that give their nests protection, and the buildings provide a panoramic view of the area.

The mother bird, Big Red, and father bird, Chayton, are getting their chicks ready to fly out of their downtown penthouse.

But before that happens, they have to be named.

Our media partners at the Jackson Citizen Patriot are having a naming poll where you can vote on names for the falcons.

Sargent says she’s encouraged to see this endangered species becoming something the community is rallying around.

“I am glad there’s still an interest. I think people are just fascinated by them,” Sargent said.

Visit this link to vote on the names: http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2017/05/jackson_5_kardashian_sisters_a.html#incart_2box_news_jackson

The falcon family is also the stars of their very own reality show.

Jackson County has placed a webcam inside their nest so you can watch them 24/7 using this website: https://www.co.jackson.mi.us/787/Falcon-Report

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