INDIANAPOLIS — An experiment started more than 20 years ago to reintroduce peregrine falcons to Indiana is paying off with impressive numbers this spring.
Sixteen nesting attempts have been observed and seven of those sites so far have hatched chicks, including two from Indiana’s most prolific peregrine — Kinney. The 16 attempts are three more than in any previous year and an increase of four from last year.
Kinney, a 19-year-old male first released in Kentucky, continues to set up nesting operations at Market Tower in Indianapolis, has produced 59 chicks in his lifetime and is now raising two more.
“Only one other Midwestern peregrine has bred at 19 years of age, and the longevity record for a peregrine is 19 years, 6 months,” said John Castrale, nongame bird biologist for the DNR Fish & Wildlife division.
Kinney has partnered the last 11 years with KathyQ, a wild-produced peregrine from Wisconsin, and their brood could expand with one more egg still in their nest.
Although three to four eggs generally are laid by peregrines, clutches of five eggs were noted at three sites this year. More than 50 eggs have been observed overall, and 16 have hatched so far.
One new nest site was discovered this year at the Indianapolis Power and Light plant along the White River near Petersburg. A nest box has been there since 2004.
The 16 nesting sites are:
East Chicago, ArcelorMittal Steel-Indiana Harbor East): Four eggs.
East Chicago, ArcelorMittal Steel-Indiana Harbor West: Four eggs; two chicks hatched as of April 26.
Gary, U.S. Steel (coke plant): Female incubating at nesting site.
Gary, U.S. Steel (sinter plant): Three eggs.
Indianapolis, Market Tower: Three eggs; two hatched as of April 30.
Indianapolis, IPL Harding Street Station: Five eggs; one hatched as of May 1.
Michigan City, NIPSCO Plant: Five eggs; two hatched as of April 30.
Madison, Ind./Milton, Ky. Bridge: At least two hatched prior to April 23.
New Albany, Duke Energy, Gallagher Power Plant: Three eggs.
Petersburg, IPL Power Plant: Three eggs; nesting attempt failed.
Porter, ArcelorMittal Steel-Burns Harbor Plant: Three eggs.
Porter, NIPSCO Bailly Plant: Five eggs; four hatched as of April 27.
South Bend, City-County Building: Four eggs.
Terre Haute, Indiana State University, Business Building: Three eggs.
Wheatfield, NIPSCO Schafer Plant: At least three eggs, possible fourth; three hatched as of April 23.
Whiting, BP Amoco refinery: Four eggs.
Adult peregrines also have been observed at four other nesting sites but no nesting activity was recorded at those locations. All pairs except one are nesting in boxes specifically designed for them.
“We are grateful that building and plant managers have allowed them to erect nest boxes, monitor nesting activity, and protect the birds from undue disturbance,” Castrale said. “The successful recovery of peregrine falcons in the Midwest could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of governmental agencies, private organizations, businesses, and dedicated individuals.”
Falcon cams can be viewed at:
Fort Wayne: www.aep.com/go/FalconCam
Indianapolis (downtown): http://blogs.indystar.com/falconblog/
Indianapolis (south side): http://apps.iplpower.com/axis/falcon.aspx
South Bend: www.southbendin.gov/falcam
For information about Midwest peregrines, see www.midwestperegrine.org