Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Falcons on the fly (Eastlake and Lorain, too)

Peregrine falcon courtship has begun with the long-standing nest structure at FirstEnergy's Eastlake coal-fired power plant seeing at least fly-by activity.

What isn't known is whether Starbright (band number 19 over E), and Jerry (band number 47 over K) are the courtship participants. It is this couple that has regularly nested at the Eastlake site.

The reason for the pair possibly NOT being Starbright and Jerry is because falcon pairs often vie for the use of nesting sites with new pairs sometimes claiming squatters' rights.

And while at least one nesting pair of falcons in the state has produced eggs, that activity won't happen at the Eastlake plant until later this month or even early April. The reason is because the Eastlake plant is situated along the still-cold Lake Erie which slows the courtship/nesting process a little, says Damon Greer, assistant wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Northeast Ohio office in Akron.

Currently, there are 25 known nesting pairs of falcons in Ohio along with a handful of single birds looking for a mate, Greer said.

As for falcon activity around Lorain, birds have been observed here but the Wildlife Division has yet to see a nest anywhere, Greer said also.

"We have 'extra' birds that we often don't get details on," Greer said.

At known nesting sites various Wildlife Division staff members and volunteers keep their eyes and binoculars handy and in use as the spotters attempt to identify individual falcons, Greer said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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