Three peregrine falcon chicks were born in the bird nests built on the Portage Lift Bridge this past June and are expected to be leaving the nest soon.
Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Department of Natural Resources were planning to band the chicks for research, but they were unable to do so because the birds are too old to be safely banded. Two boxes were installed on the bridge in spring of 2012 in hopes of peregrine falcons nesting there and helping decrease the population of pigeons on the bridge as the pigeon waste is corrosive to metal.
"They're more of a deterrent," says lead bridge operator Butch Paavola. "I don't know how we've never seen them actually catching pigeons, but they certainly don't hang around like they used to. So, it's worked on that aspect. That's all we care about is they go somewhere else."
The peregrine falcon is no longer on the federal endangered species list, but is still considered endangered in the State of Michigan.