22 May 2015

May 2015 MICHIGAN Kalamazoo - Falcons in Kazoo

Since 2010 birders have been thrilled with the falcon family in downtown Kalamazoo. I don't pretend to be a birder, but my interest was boosted when the falcons started hanging out just blocks from our home.

Also, my birder friend, Anne, started uploading her excellent bird shots on Project 365. Her photos and dialog educates us neophyte birders in a fun way. Follow her photos at: 365project.org/annepann/365

Two years ago I first spotted the falcons circling the area and landing on the big Gilmore broadcasting tower. On rare occasion they would swoop down the alley by our home looking for pigeon prey or the like.

In 2013, they started scoping out a nest area on one of our tallest buildings in downtown, the 5/3 Bank (originally the American National Bank). The building itself is one of our treasures. It is art deco in style, completed in 1930, and is 15 stories high. See the Gilmore broadcasting tower in the center of this photo.
For some reason they chose the parapet ledge, about two stories down from the top (on the left). They laid their eggs on this precarious spot and, alas, all fell off before they could hatch.

Then the Audobon Society stepped in to build and install a nesting box in that same location. Last year the falcons were back and laid four eggs. All four hatched and grew and flew off at the end of the summer. Later we learned one crashed into a window and died. But the other three made it, as far as we know.
This year four eggs hatched as well. We were able to see this little miracle through two falcon cams and a microphone installed near the nest by the Kalamazoo Audubon Society. Those four babies are growing fast. We thought this is so cool, we just had to share it with all our readers.

General falcon website: www.kalamazoofalcons.com

From there you can see two falcon watch cams--one view of the parapet (landing spot) and one view inside the nest (baby birds). Sometimes you can even see a live stream. There is also a video archive so you can view past progress of the falcon family. There is a lot of material about the Kalamazoo Audubon Society and falcons.

Bella loves watching the falcon watch cam. Glad she doesn't have wings or she would be right up there in the mix!!!

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